Springwood's Chloe Andrews will test her skills against the world's best dancers when she represents Australia at the Hip Hop International World Championships in Las Vegas in August.
The former Winmalee High School student is part of the Pioneers dance crew who will compete against 2000 dancers from 40 countries.
The 18-year-old joined the Liverpool-based dance crew after they saw her perform at Winmalee High last year. Impressed with her skills, they invited Chloe to audition and before she knew it she was part of their seven-member Liquorice dance crew and four-member Romans crew.
"The feeling was amazing to have them ask me to come up and join their crew because I'd always admired them," she said.
Finding herself dancing overseas in a month's time is an even bigger thrill. "It's indescribable really. It's been one of my dreams from as early as I can remember to travel overseas and dance. To represent Australia as well is an absolute honour."
Aged between 10 and 22, the 26 Pioneers dancers come from diverse backgrounds from across Sydney. They claim the Ted Noffs Foundation's Street University as their home.
For leader and choreographer Eliam Royalness, their qualification for the world championships is a mark of validation many performers have never experienced. "A lot of us have been told we'll never get anywhere, so to get to Las Vegas is a big deal. It's the biggest thing in hip hop.''
The 20-year-old from Campbelltown formed the group last year and said the support they get from each other is just as important as performing.
The dancers must raise the funds to get themselves to Las Vegas, with Mr Royalness - his stage name - hoping to meet a target of $150,000. Ms Andrews held a fundraising golf day at Springwood Country Club on Friday, July 4. "All the support we've been given from the community has just been amazing," she said.
She is holding a bingo night fundraiser at Springwood Sports Club this Friday, July 11 starting at 7.30pm. Cost is $10 per person. To book call Michelle Andrews on 0404 472 786.
- with The Sydney Morning Herald