Supplied publicity still for Blaze. Left to right - Anthony Hutchinson, Kloe Dean and Fabrice Labrana. Photo:??Prudence Upton.

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Pop in the playground ... from left, Blaze dancers Anthony Hutchinson, Kloe Dean and Fabrice Labrana. Photo: Prudence Upton.

Hip-hop has been a male-dominated industry for more than 30 years. Blokes in hoodies have been playing the beats and chaps in baggy pants have led the dancing, while women have mostly been booty-shaking in the background. But more and more women are stepping into the spotlight.

Londoner Kloe Dean, 23, is considered one of the best hip-hop dancers in Europe and part of Blaze, the hip-hop theatre show opening at the Sydney Opera House this week.

Dean wants to show that anyone can get up and express themselves through hip-hop, and she's not shy about it. ''My ultimate goal is to take over the world,'' she says with a grin.

''I'd love to be a positive role model for young people all over the world. I want to be studied in children's dance-history lessons as someone who made changes.

''I want to be an icon.''

Dean started dancing when she was five years old, inspired by video clips of Janet Jackson, Destiny's Child and Beyonce.

''I just taught myself by watching videos,'' she says.

Much later, about 15, she became serious, starting her own dance crew and attending a high school for performing arts. Even then, she knew it would be hard to break in.

''This sounds cheesy, but the Spice Girls really inspired me,'' she says. ''All that girl power and being female in a male industry was exciting. They showed me you could do it.

''As a woman in hip-hop, you have to be very bold to stand out.

''The guys can be very daring and they don't really care what other people think. Females can be more self-conscious. I used to worry about what people think all the time.

''Now I'm just going to be me and do what I do well.''

Blaze comes to Sydney after successful seasons in London's West End, Europe, Russia and south-east Asia.

Most of the dancers - nine men and five women - are from Britain and Europe, with one Australian, Demi Sorono, from the 2008 season of television's So You Think You Can Dance.

The show is a bouncy showcase featuring break-dancing, popping, locking, commercial hip-hop and even tap dancing, all on a stage filled with spectacular lighting projections by British light and laser specialists Robin McNicholas and Mehmet ''Memo'' Akten.

''All the categories of hip-hop are represented in the show,'' says French dancer Fabrice Labrana, 34, known as the ''liquid man'' because his moves are so fluid.

''I learnt on the street but I love coming to the stage, where you can smile and play with the audience. The street battles are more of an underground vibe, but this theatre show is such an open vibe, it's more like a party.''

London-based Anthony Hutchinson, 24, says the show is like a roller-coaster ride.

''The audience will be out of their seats wanting more,'' he says. ''There is so much happening in the show: the set, the lighting, the dancers and the music; I absolutely love it. And the audiences everywhere are loving it, too.''

Dean agrees. ''I'm very playful on stage,'' she says.

''If I can catch someone's eye in the audience, that can be really personal. In every performance, if I can touch one person, I've done a good job.''

Blaze plays at the Sydney Opera House from January 8-16. Tickets $49-$119 (children's tickets, a family package and group passes available). To book, see sydneyoperahouse.com/blaze or phone 9250 7777.