Hip Hop Craze's 6-11 age group division team captured the FlyDance National Competition title on July 2 in Las Vegas. The team trains out of the Dance Hall in Morgan Hill. Submitted photo.
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Over the years, Tiffany Maaske-Miller has had some of her older age group Hip Hop Craze dance teams win a national competition.

However, history was made when Hip Hop Craze’s youngest age group (5-11) division team won the FlyDance National Competition Finals for the first time in program history. Hip Hop Craze took home top honors at the event in Las Vegas June 29-July 2. 

The group includes Daylon Seegmiller, Donovan Seegmiller, Jaselle Suen, Jillian Perez, Layla Levario, Leilani Lota, Makenzie Windham, Malcolm Bergado, Naya Singh, Nevaeh Martinez, Olivia Cid, Rippie Rochkind, Stella Benavidez, Sydney Zaporta, Taveon Miller and Zamarah Martinez.

“This is the best my younger group has ever done,” Maaske-Miller said. “We have won first overall a couple of times, but it’s always been my teens or seniors (16-19 year olds). We usually dominate pretty good in the older division, but this is the first time for our younger ones which is really cool.”

Hip Hop Craze won both rounds of the competition in Las Vegas, performing a routine called Legendary featuring all Missy Elliott songs. They bested nearly two dozen other dance studios from the Western U.S., and were judged on performance, technique, skill level, choreography and execution. 

All of the categories are in place so ideally the most well-rounded dance group wins. Choreography comes down to a squad’s teacher and no doubt Hip Hop Craze has an excellent one in Maaske-Miller, who started the group 21 years ago when she was 17 years old. 

Young but precocious, Maaske-Miller trained the group out of Lana’s Dance Studio—where she was a teacher—for the first six to seven years of the group’s existence before they started renting out different facilities in Morgan Hill and San Jose. 

“We used everything from a recording studio but it was huge,” Maaske-Miller said. “I’ve used gyms where people go to workout, and the Community Cultural Center in Morgan Hill, but as time went on, I basically kept on getting more and more clientele where we [eventually] needed more time to rent out. So eventually it made sense to get our own facility when you’re paying for renting out. We decided to open up our own home.”

The Dance Hall opened in 2012 and has been going strong ever since, as there are multiple dance teams from every age division regularly competing in different disciplines. Hip Hop Craze’s national champions had to win a regional competition or produce a threshold of scores to qualify for the FlyDance Nationals. The older group is set to travel to New York to compete in one of the top competitions in the country, organized by Monsters of Hip Hop. 

“We were hesitant [to go] at first, but my son who is now 10 and on the competition team, won a scholarship to go to New York for free,” Maaske-Miller said. “He gets to attend the whole event for free, so it kind of gave us motivation to take everybody.”

Maaske-Miller said in the dance world, there aren’t a lot of hip-hop specific competitions. 

“There are a lot of dance competitions, but they’re more focused on contemporary, jazz, tap,” she said. “Most have a hip-hop category, but it’s really hard to win because it’s just not what they’re focused on.”

What makes this particular Monsters of Hip Hop competition unique is it’s an all hip-hop event, so a group can’t compete unless their routine is squarely hip-hop style.

Maaske-Miller added that the Monsters of Hip Hop and Hip Hop International organizations are the two biggest national competitions so the upcoming trip to New York represents a monumental opportunity for the team to show its best in front of a big audience. 

The Dance Hall took a total of 50 to Las Vegas and has a fleet of talented dancers. In 2019, Hip Hop Craze performed during halftime of a Golden State Warriors game, certainly one of the highlights of the group since its inception. 

Tiffany Maaske-Miller, Stella Benavidez and Lewis Hatkoff pose with the FlyDance 5-11 first-place trophy.
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Emanuel Lee primarily covers sports for Weeklys/NewSVMedia's Los Gatan publication. Twenty years of journalism experience and recipient of several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. Emanuel has run eight marathons with a PR of 3:13.40, counts himself as a true disciple of Jesus Christ and loves spending time with his wife and their two lovely daughters, Evangeline and Eliza.



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