This Cape Town hip hop dancer has proven he has all the right moves and is ready to represent his country on the global dance floor this week.
Shakeel Richards, 20, from Claremont has been awarded national colours and is the only South African solo dancer in the popping style division.
He’s jetting off to Las Vegas in the United States on Friday for the World Hip Hop Dance Olympics, where dancers from 50 countries will compete for global domination.
“I’ve been dancing since I was six years old. First I did tap dancing and later I did ballroom dancing, but that was just to get the girls,” jokes Shakeel.
He attended Northern Cape High School and it was his dance moves that often got him into trouble because late night practices meant he often fell asleep in class.
Shakeel says: “Some teachers joked that I will still moonwalk out of school, so in my Matric year on the last day, I did moonwalk out of school.”
He is also a former member of the Street Stylers dance crew that made it to third place in the e.tv show SA’s Got Talent last year.
Shakeel says this and representing SA at The World Hip Hop Dance Olympics as career highlights.
By day he’s a marketing student at CTI Education Group and at night Shakeel practises his popping moves.
“I now practice every night from 8pm till 12am and then after that it’s all mental training like listening to the music because there’s a beat pattern,” he explains.
He attended the Dance Olympics for the first time in 2014, with the dance team Basic Black.
Now he’s going solo and he is reaching for the stars.
“I want to come back an international champ,” he says.
Shakeel has a few hip hop idols, including Popping Kite, a dancer from Japan, who he hopes to have a dance-off with soon.
“I’d be honoured just to challenge Popping Kite to a dance battle and then of course to maybe even win,” he adds.
The World Hip Hop Dance Olympics will take place in Las Vegas from August 5 to 17.