Kurt’s world of dance
MIXTURE of curiosity, aggressive nature, love, and his thirst for knowledge landed him in dancing in 2001 – and since then he has not looked back.
Kurt Sylvester, 38, is the founder of the Bailamos Dance Studio. But before he started his own dancing club, this Lodge Terrace, St Michael resident said he would attend a monthly party where they would play Latin music and that was when his love for the art really surfaced.
“I noticed that every time when Latin music started to play all the guys would leave the dance floor and all the girls were loving it. I stood there and I watched them and the next month the same thing happened again. I said to myself ‘no man, I am going to have to capitalise on this’,” said Sylvester.
“So I went out on the floor and tried doing this little Latin thing, I think the song was a meringue; which at that point I didn’t know it was meringue. I tried dancing with a Jamaican girl and I stepped all over her feet,” he said through giggles.
He added: “But because of who I am and my competitive nature and the fact that I always wanted to know as much as possible . . . . I made a phone call and when the next beginners’ class was on I went and did the class. Believe it or not, all I wanted to learn was the salsa and the meringue.”
However, Sylvester then got involved in ballroom dancing and much more.
“While at the dance classes I fell in love with a young lady and I kept going to the dance classes and she would help me out. And while the romance grew I found that the interest in the dancing also grew and I found myself taking part in an in-house competition which I won. I had the twinkle toes, man,” he quipped.
Following that, Sylvester said he entered a number of national Latin dance competitions and also won. And that was when the idea to start a Latin dance club was born. However, that club did not remain a competitive one for long. Soon, it became a more “social” dance club, he said.
“So I started the dance club in 2005; the Bailamos Dance Studio. Throughout the past six years we have changed with the [world] trends. We started as a Latin dance club and we remained that way for a very long time winning a lot of competitions. Then we went into the line dance aspect as I really wanted to get more into the fitness aspect. I kept it up-tempo and then that propelled me to get into the dancercise at this stage,” he explained.
He said when he first started the dance club, which he operates from Queen’s College, there was something very unique about it.
“Bailamos Dance Studio was at one point known to be the only dance club to have more men than women because of how we are towards people. We use to have a lot of young people in the club. They saw something that they wanted.
“We gave them what they wanted and they came out. The only problem is that they don’t tend to stay; some have valid reasons such as need to focus more on their studies and some go away to study,” explained the dancer.
The dance enthusiast said he and his mother were “joint partners” in the dance business. He said a lot of Barbadian men still shared the myth that some dances, such as Latin dance, were only for women “yet we want to dance with the women when they are dancing”, he said as he smiled.
Sylvester started offering dancercise classes in May 2010. He said he had “quite a few” faithful members attending the dancercise sessions as a lot more people were taking interest in their health.
However, he has one challenge. Sylvester, who is also a carpenter, said it was a little difficult for him to have to balance dancing on evenings during some week days while still carrying out his full-time day job of building countertops.
Despite all this however, he said: “I am seeing results and I am enjoying it. People are enjoying it and they too are seeing results. Maybe one day I will be able to get my own studio. I do this for the love of it,” he added.