Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air
With a mix of Hip Hop music and step aerobics, the creator of Xtreme Hip Hop, Phil Weeden has found a winning formula, and describes the latest fitness craze to hit the global stage as “born to win.”
With over 40 locations worldwide, Xtreme Hip Hop has made its way down under, and the response from the Pacific community has been huge.
The phenomenon began in 2013 after Phil opened his own gym, The Naturally Gifted Fitness Centre. When unable to keep a step instructor, he began his own classes and went viral with a track called ‘Show Out’.
“Music gets everyone’s attention so me mixing Hip Hop music with step aerobics was born to win.”
Among the more than 2200 qualified instructors in 25 countries worldwide, New Zealand’s only master instructor Audrey Pere, believes Xtreme Hip Hop is making a positive impact on Pacific communities.
“Music and movement, is part of us. It’s how we as a people celebrate; it’s how we mourn, it’s how we come together, it’s how we unify [and] it’s how we connect.”
Phil experienced his first Pacific fan base while attending an annual event called Poly Step Festival held in Salt Lake City. A festival dedicated to Pacific people with a passion for step.
“That was the first time I saw Polynesians and I was like ‘they step just like us. Seeing another culture embrace something that I’m passionate about and what I love doing it’s like ‘wow – I’m touching a lot of lives”.
Phil has recently finished his international visit to New Zealand and will be stopping in Australia for his last leg.