May 25 2013 Latest news:
Robin Cottle, Reporter
Monday, August 13, 2012
You’d think being crowned the first-ever British European Junior Hip Hop Champion would be enough for most 10-year-olds. But Portia Oti is no ordinary little girl.
Almost dancing before she could walk, the Albany Park prodigy wowed the judges in Slovenia last month to add the under-12 trophy to her growing collection but she is already thinking about her future career prospects rather than resting on her laurels.
She is on the dyslexic framework at school, struggling with English and maths, so hip hop helps her to express herself.
“I’m really pleased because everyone was happy with me. It was a wonderful feeling to win in such a hard competition. It’s hard to believe that I won, especially as no British person has won the competition before,” she says.
She knows that she wouldn’t be where she is today without the support of her family – mum Eloise, 34 and sisters Tianna, 14 and Sian, eight.
Eloise says: “Days are long and there’s a lot of waiting around but it’s all worth it. I couldn’t be more proud of her. Portia’s normally a shy and retiring girl, but when she gets on the dance floor you can see her light up. Since she was three she’d bop around to music in front of the TV. Whenever she was around music she’d dance, she had great rhythm.”
Eloise reveals that she has entered her daughter into the Got to Dance Sky1 dance contest, such is her desire to keep Portia grounded.
If Portia cries at competitions she won’t be allowed to compete anymore. “She shouldn’t be there if she can’t handle the pressure. You’re only as good as your last competition,” explains Eloise.
Portia agrees that this has helped her maturity: “Now I’m older, I understand much more. I’m my own person and I don’t need to look at other people for recognition.”
The youngster attends Class School of Dance, in Orpington, who had six dancers in total travel to Slovenia. The plan is to get into Sylvia Young Dance School in London, which she’ll need a scholarship for.
Life is not easy being a young dance starlet – it’s constant training and travelling. Explaining the sacrifices she has made Portia, of Murchison Avenue, says: “It’s hard being on the road so often. There have been times where I was meant to go to friends birthday parties but I’ve had competitions so couldn’t go.”
But it’s all worth it when she gets on the dance floor and with the world championships in Germany coming up, Portia has some big ambitions she wants to tackle. She wants to teach dance and star on TV.
But school is still a priority. Portia will be starting her final year at Eltham C of E Primary School.
One thing seems certain – it is unlikely that Portia Oti has won her last dance trophy.