Born To Dance Star Tia Maipi Reveals How He Started Dancing

Sources: All Things Michael | NZ Herald


Nineteen year old Tiataharoa “Tia” Maipi, star of the upcoming dance flick “Born To Dance,” recently revealed that he started dancing on a whim because of Michael Jackson.

“For me dancing all started off with Michael Jackson’s passing. When he died, all of the family were hard out into Michael, they loved him, so we decided to do a tribute to him and put on a performance. So we re-enacted his music videos, which was a lot of fun. And we got our local friends to come and watch, and we got good feedback about it, and so we decided to take it to the next level, which was actually competing.”


Maipi, who plays Tu in the movie, has been a member of the gold-medal-winning Royal Family dance crew for the past four years.

World renowned dancer and choreographer Parris Goebel (who has worked with Nicki Minaj, Jennifer Lopez, Janet Jackson and the Monsters of Hip-Hop) was holding auditions for The Royal Family in 2011, so he auditioned and he has been dancing with her ever since.

Tia has won numerous hip-hop titles including the Hip Hop International world championships in Las Vegas where he danced with his younger sister Taej and their cousin, Te Wharenui Maipi. The dancing trio told the New Zealand Waiikato Times in 2012, that “the ultimate experience would have been to dance alongside the late Michael Jackson. He’s their inspiration.”


Tiataharoa Maipi, Taej Maipi and Te Wharenui Maipi after winning the gold at the Hip Hop internationals World Championship in Las Vegas.

Goebel is the choreographer for Born to Dance, a key collaborator involved right from the beginning of production, but Maipi still had to audition for the film.

“It was just dancing at first and then callbacks came and a handful of people were chosen to try for the character, so that’s where it all started really. There was a lot of auditioning, feedback, you try to improve, work harder. At first, I was like ‘Acting? I don’t wanna act!’ But then I tried it out, and I don’t know, it just felt good.”

Born To Dance will be in New Zealand cinemas starting Thursday September 24. It’s the country’s first multi-million dollar dance film.


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