There has been a call for greater support for the local dance fraternity, following this year’s outstanding performance by Barbadian dancers at the 16th Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing Grand Finals in Blackpool, England.
This year, the Barbados Latin and ballroom dance team from the Livvy and Betty Alleyne Dance Centre returned home with a double gold, thanks to champions of the under-35 gold ballroom and gold star Latin, Shane Alleyne and Zoe Trotman.
This significant achievement is the first gold in the ballroom category for the team in their last five years of attending the prestigious competition.
“For many years we’ve been making up to semi-finals in the ballroom dance, but this year we won gold in the ballroom,” said Betty Alleyne, co-owner of the dance centre, adding that the quality of the dancers was improving each year.
“The fact that we can go to international competitions and place . . . To get to the semi-finals is also a fantastic feat; to make finals and to place in the first three is tremendous.”
“In the Latin category, we had Jamal Johnson and Takiyah Browne placing third in the gold star Latin, along with Daniel Jones and Alexander Greaves placing second, in their first year, in the silver and gold junior’s category,” Alleyne added.
However, the dance instructor told Barbados TODAY that more academic opportunities were needed for local dancers.
“We need scholarships, just like any other sport,” she said.
“We are doing well internationally. They are very good dancers and need to continue to grow by going to college.”
While acknowledging that there is a higher cost attached to studying in the United Kingdom, Alleyne said getting an education there is ideal for dancers, since there is no focus on ballroom or Latin dancing at regional universities.
“If they go to [UWI Mona] Jamaica there’s no ballroom dancing. They need to go somewhere where there’s ballroom dancing . . . at a competitive level and the UK is perfect for that, because there are dance competitions every weekend in those colleges so [dancers] would keep their competitive edge when they go to study there,” she explained.
“Most people are not able to afford an education in the UK . . . and a scholarship would help that person keep dancing, and study what they plan to as well.”