A group of young Illawarra women is channeling the fierceness of the Hunger Games to prepare for an international dance competition held in Disneyland in Florida.
The Elite Empresses, a dance troupe aged between 15 and 22 from the Wollongong NRG Studios Allstars, is in high spirits after qualifying for the esteemed Dance World Championships in the jazz division.
The competition takes place in April 2024 and includes 400 teams from 25 nations competing in various divisions.
The Elite Empresses have chosen a fierce choreography inspired by the Hunger Games book series by Suzanne Collins.
Jade Higgins, an 18-year-old dancer, said they will take inspiration from the series in a bid to win the four-day dance competition.
"The team will be battling it out for survival so that explains our costume and make-up and just very strong hard-hitting jazz, very hard but lots of fun," she said.
Ms Higgins has been dancing for 13 years and competing in the international competition has been a dream since she was a young girl.
"We've worked so hard to get to this position and it will be great just going with the team and our families coming to support us," she said.
Owner and dance coach of NRG Studios Allstars Genevieve Anderson Davis said the women enjoyed getting into the character of a "very fierce character" inspired by the Hunger Games.
"I'm just really excited for them it's such an honour to be able to represent Australia on the world stage, and they've worked so hard and for so long," Mrs Anderson Davis said.
The team competed in the Dance and Cheer Events National Championships in late October and won a partial paid bid of $5000 to go towards the international competition.
This funding will go towards the costs of flights and accommodation in Disneyland for the 12 dancers.
Many of the team members were excited to compete after qualifying for the 2020 competition before it was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a travel agent's bankruptcy meant they lost the money they raised to travel.
"I'm just really proud of them for showing so much resilience and being so determined to still go for it, even though they've had quite a few disappointments," Mrs Anderson Davis said.
The team will be holding fundraising events in December and early 2024 to help fund the costs of the competition
"It's very expensive. We are looking for sponsorship, and we're going to be having lots of trivia nights and other exciting fundraising events in the local community," Jade Higgins said.
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