Māori street dancer Byrin Mita hopes to pass his expertise to the next generation of street dancers.
Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air
In the wake of breakdancing’s thrilling debut at the Youth Olympics, Māori street dancer Byrin Mita hopes to pass his expertise to the next generation of street dancers.
Mita’s dance programme, XIII WRLD, fosters young talent in a variety of dance styles including krump, hip-hop, popping, locking and more.
Mita says he often hears that krumping is similar to haka, and it feels similar as well.
“We don’t use vocals when we krump but the storytelling is very much within the movement but there’s even similar things from style krump to haka.”
“We stomp, we make connections with the ground. We are very powerful when we move, so there are already so many connections.”
Growing up, Mita had his first look at krumping with one of his friends. It was from there that he watched a video of New Zealand krumpers on YouTube.
‘Who are Māori?’
Further into his dancing career, Mita’s first overseas dance experience opened his eyes to how widely recognised it is.
“It wasn’t until I travelled overseas to the UK where I saw the level and thought, ‘Okay it can really get to this level or you can really be this good’ and that’s when I decided I want to be one of the best at this.”
However, Mita found that, whenever he had battles and competitions overseas, a lot of people didn’t know what or who Māori were.
“They ask me where I’m from and what my ethnicity is and I say Māori and they are like ‘huh?’.”
He says it is important to have Māori representation in the world of street dance and to embrace cultural heritage.
“It’s super important for me to be a role model, especially because we are already part of a small country and then an even smaller part of the country and I really want to show that Māori exist.”
With the XIII WRLD program now in its second term, Byrin’s journey as a dancer has given him international recognition serving as an inspiring role model for the next generation of street dancers.
Hero image: Byrin Mita struts his stuff. Photo / Supplied