Hip Hop Is Taking Over Sport Disciplines

By Alyssia Birjalal Time of article published May 25, 2017

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A life-long passion for dance

has allowed Craig Bullock and Nicki Wiggett to help youth across the country

shine and build their self-esteem.

The pair co-founded the Dance

School Sports League (DSSL) which recognises dance as a sporting discipline in

the South African school system – this in turn allows pupils to get involved in

dance as an extra mural activity.

DSSL is endorsed by the DanceSport SA, World Dance Sport

Federation and SASCOC to address the need for a formal, recognised

platform. Through the DSSL students have the opportunity to obtain school

colours, provincial colours and  eventually  be part of an official

“Protea” dance team who will be able to compete at the Olympics  and other

international events.

Bullock, also the chairman of

the DSSL and owner of DanceWed Studios in KwaZulu Natal and Gauteng, is a dance

and music fanatic and five time Street Dance World champion choreographer and

coach.

“The youth of this country inspire me to be

the best at what I do. You will find me at DanceWeb everyday, teaching,

coaching, choreographing hip hop, new school and salsa. This DSSL is the next step in bringing dance

to the people and I am loving being instrumental in making this happen,”

said Bullock.

Nicki Wigget, also the

national secretary, has a history as a ballet dancer and performed at the

Artscape Theatre in various shows including the annual Nutcracker Suite.

“Together with Craig Bullock  we established the

Dance Sport School League in 2015 to inspire the youth to put on their sneakers

and dance for their school, province and country. South Africa has a rich

history of dance culture. Dance has been and continues to be one of the

richest forms of self-expression and has taken on many forms. Bringing dance in

as a sport allows children of all sizes, shapes and ethnicities to participate

in a sport and eventually represent their country

16.0pt">,” said Wiggett.

She said dance

has the ability to be judged and regulated fully as would a sport such as

hockey or soccer making it fully viable. 

16.0pt">

“It is a

sport that encourages character building and attitude while still providing the

physical activity and technical skill that is needed in a fully regulated sport, aside from bringing people of

different socio-economic background together, sports can assist in building a

national identity,” said

Wiggett.

She said with

South Africa’s long history of segregation and its huge economic gap between

rich and poor which has caused a great deal of unrest- the role of sport in the

country is crucial.

“Sport has been shown

to foster social integration as it builds relationships between groups of

people through sport's non- verbal means of communication, it is a means to

engage in a collective experience as well as establishing direct physical

contact which surpasses class divisions,” she said. 

Currently the DSSL

is set up in 14 KwaZulu

Natal schools, 10 Gauteng schools

and five Western Cape schools with more than 1400 pupils competing.

There is also hope that various countries in Asia and

Europe will follow suite, someday making the DSSL an international competitive

sport. 

“I

strongly believe that dance and more especially, street dance can unite kids no

matter what age, gender or size – building self-esteem and creating a healthier

society in more ways than one. Our

ultimate goal is to be in all provinces in S

16.0pt">outh Africa and

to be accessible to all schools

no matter their financial status. We

also want to spread to all countries and pupils around the world. Craig and I

are currently in negotiations

with UK, Netherlands and Beijing

to come on board for 2018,” said

Wiggett.

She explained that once a school signs up, workshops are

run and external or internal coaches and adjudicators are trained how to teach

dance and run fixtures through a curriculum.

Once this happens, fixtures are held at least once a

week.

“As other sports have a weekly game hosted by various

schools – so do we. The aim is to have three schools compete each week – hosted

by alternating schools. The fixture lasts about two hours and there are three

adjudicators who decide on placements of dancers through a process of rounds –

first, quarter, semi and final. Dancers also have their choreographed solos

which they dance against other dancers in their age group, which start from U9

to an open category,” said Wiggett.

She said next up is trials for the provincial teams for a

tournament that will take place in Durban on June 29 to July 2.

“We aim to ensure that our dancers are chosen to

represent their schools, their district, their province and their country –

based on talent only – it is immaterial to which school you attend or your

financial status. The best dancers will get through,” she said.

 *For more details on how schools can join the DSSL, visit

www.dssl.co.za or contact Nicki Wiggett on

082 856 7666 or email [email protected]

 

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