Having brought back sackloads of medals from the World Championships of Performing Arts (WCOPA) in California since 2010, East London’s golden duo of dance Chace Collett and Ashley Behrens were the “face” of the international competition with their new gig as presenters and co-hosts.
The duo were behind the microphones this time at the this year’s event in Long Beach, California, which began on July 6 and ended yesterday.
Collett and Behrens, whose impressive dance routines verge on the acrobatic, have been dance partners for five years, although they have worked together for 10, perfecting complex dance routines.
“Our dance partnership is one-of-a-kind because we both have the same passion and dedication towards our dancing,” said Collett. “We are totally in sync with each other and work tirelessly to achieve success.”
It is this drive and skill that earned them the grand champions of the World Dance Group crown last year.
“Last year we won a full house of gold medals for our duos and Chace won a full house of gold medals for her solos,” said Behrens.
As high-profile celebrities of the WCOPA, the couple were offered the chance to further raise their profile by working for the 22nd event which has been dubbed the Olympics of the arts and entertainment.
The couple said their US agent and manager Janice Picconi had clinched the gig, which required them to host the Parade of Nations opening ceremony, co-ordinate the dance bootcamp workshops held by industry professionals and host the dance events in which 59 countries competed.
“It is extremely out of the ordinary for two non-Americans to host WCOPA. We feel extremely privileged and humbled as it really puts South Africa – not to mention East London – on the map.”
The pair also interviewed performers, judges and industry professionals for what was called The Daily Show which was screened throughout the Westin Long Beach Hotel, as well as on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram.
“We did not compete this year as we were offered this amazing opportunity which was too good to pass on and which allows us to develop other skills in the industry. We thoroughly enjoyed this experience even though it was a little out of our normal comfort zone of dancing. It was exciting to interact with all the different personalities, but a little daunting to realise that we were always on camera. It has been the most amazing experience to be on the other side,” said Collett.
Back home in East London, Collett and Behrens train dancers at the Dance Addiction Studio, but will now remain in the US to take up a year-long scholarship at the world renowned Millennium Dance Complex in Studio City, Los Angeles.
“We train there daily and have attended master classes with Matt Steffanina, Brian Friedman, Nick Lanzisera and [choreographer] Tokyo. We rub shoulders with dancers from Hollywood and the likes of Maddie Ziegler and Nia Sioux from Dance Moms,” said Collett.
“This is a highly competitive selection and an awesome opportunity and