In May 1996 Wesley Hall Junior School introduced Ballroom Dancing to its extra-curricular activities. The first students who were exposed to this art form were the class fours, who graduated in July 1996. At this graduation, the children gave a very commendable demonstration. It was then decided that these children should be kept together dancing and so, FunStrides Dance Studio (Barbados’ first children’s Ballroom Dance Studio) was formed.
In November 1996,they thoroughly thrilled a packed Central Bank audience, prompting an encore style reaction while dancing their way to becoming the first children in the 10 to 12-year age group in Ballroom, to achieve a NIFCA Gold Award with their Cha-Cha-Cha.
On March 22nd, 1997 the NIFCA Gold Award winning couples were joined by their counterparts, from Wesley Hall Junior School dance classes and the FunStrides Dancers as they have become affectionately known, took to the dance floor in the Strictly Latin ’97 Dance Competition. A stunned audience witnessed a performance which can only be described in one manner “sizzling”. It was a display of dancing said by every spectator, judge, dancer and dance teacher present, to be the most outstanding performance given by children in Barbados to that date.
Since that time the children have gone from strength to strength, endearing themselves to audiences wherever they have appeared, constantly giving impressive performances.
This group has also shown many other positive character traits as a result of the practice of Ballroom Dancing: e.g. discipline, deportment, outstanding male/female interaction and an all-round ability to observe all social graces.
The performance of our children was so outstanding that it prompted the parents and teachers to request the setting up of Ballroom Dancing Classes for adults which was done and so FunStrides Dance Studio became a general Dance Studio providing classes for both children and adults. Line dancing, which the classes enjoy very much was also introduced at a later date.