LOCAL DANCER REPRESENTS SOUTH AFRICA IN CROATIA
‘I took this seriously, especially the last few years and have been well rewarded’
FOR most young men to injure their knee to such an extent that it put paid to a promising rugby career would have been devastating.
But for Port Alfred resident, Kyle Badenhorst, it was a game-changer, when he turned to dancing and became a professional in his chosen field.
With a natural talent for dancing, young Badenhorst was brought up among a family of dancers.
Once he had decided to move in this direction, he took it seriously and, after years of hard work, represented South Africa in the Dance Star World Championships in Croatia last month.
Born in the country town of Fort Beaufort, Badenhorst spent his senior school days in Grahamstown at Graeme College, where he played first team rugby as a scrumhalf for two years.
He then moved to the nearby Kingswood College to do a postmatric and also represented their senior side. It was during that year that he was selected to play for the Eastern Province under 19 side. But disaster struck. when he seriously injured his knee and was forced to withdraw. This also signalled the end of his rugby career.
After a year at NMMU in Port Elizabeth, Badenhorst returned to the family home in Port Alfred and had to decide on his future. His mother, Sharon, was already a ballroom and Latin American dance teacher, as was his sister, Sasha. His father also danced. So it came as no surprise when Badenhorst decided to take this up as a profession.
“I took this seriously, especially the last few years and have been well rewarded for my efforts,” he said. They formed the Sha-Loui (derived from half his parents’ names) dance school in the town and Badenhorst derives his income from teaching more than 100 students to dance. He concentrates on ballroom, Latin American, hip-hop and contemporary genres. The students range from three-year-old children up to adults and has classes every day of the week.
He said his sister was going to start movement classes for the “babies” to prepare them for more involved dancing before they advanced to Badenhorst’s classes for the next step up.
His big break in his career came in September last year when he qualified for the Dance Star South African team to take part in the world championships in Croatia.
He explained that because dancing was not a team sport, it was not recognised by the government, so individuals entered themselves and had to qualify to attend the world championships. They also had to fund themselves.
The result was that 400 South Africans, ranging (from four years old to adults), competed in 10 different styles of dancing in Croatia. A total of some 7000 dancers from 50 countries participated before thousands of spectators.
Badenhorst did exceptionally well in the World Championships and finished seventh in his class in hip-hop and 19th in the contemporary section.
But like everything in life, success does not come easily and a lot of hard work goes in to dancing as a career. He jogs every day and also spends time in the gym. “Then, of course, you have to put in months of dancing in preparation just to qualify. You also have to be very disciplined and committed,” he said.
The next qualifiers for the forthcoming World Championships are coming up in Cape Town in October. He and seven students in the 13 to 18 age group have already started preparing for this and added: “I am very excited about this as I feel they have a good chance of qualifying.”
Badenhorst said the qualifying rounds were very competitive and often cut-throat. But once you could negotiate it, people became very friendly and the “camaraderie is great” among the dancers. Badenhorst also plans to hold workshops in Port Elizabeth, East London and Grahamstown.
HE’S GOT THE MOVES: Kyle Badenhorst of Port Alfred proudly wears the South African jersey he wore when competing in the Dance Star World Championships in Croatia last month