Parts of this article first appeared in the Sunday Times newspaper on July 14, 2013
Fifteen year old South African dancer Kalon Badenhorst pocketed four world titles in the 2013 Freestyle Dance World Championships in England this year.
Badenhorst 15, from Curro Aurora dominated wins in the under-16 Championship Boys Street Style, Freestyle and Slow dance solo categories in Blackpool, England.
Badenhorst has become the only dancer to achieve four world titles in the history of the competition. Badenhorst dances at the Daniel Swanepoel Dance Studio in Randburg.
After finding out he had won Badenhorst said, “I felt a mixture of relief after all the pressure that came with the buildup, pride and excitement.”
He has been dancing for about five years and has trained in Hip Hop, contemporary, Latin American, African Fusion, Modern, Disco, Jazz and Ballet as well as Freestyle and Slowdance.
Badenhorst told the Sunday Times that he” felt really excited because it is the ultimate testing ground for Freestyle dancing.” He has been focused on training for the championships for the last six months.
Training for long hours and maintaining high energy levels could be a tough challenge for a 15 year old, we asked Badenhorst how he stays healthy: “I have a balanced, healthy, whole food diet but because of my long hours of training, up to five hours some days, I also use a protein supplement to help with my recoveries.” He explained that he also takes a daily mutli-vitimans to keep up a healthy lifestyle.
Badenhorst’s mother Joanne said, “He is a born performer and a talented dancer, but winning all four titles was more than we could have ever dreamt of.”
Courtney Minnaar 13, Tatijana Ignaitov 7, and Nicole Haddon 17 were also part of the team of dancers from South Africa.
These youngsters recently returned from the international stage as the most victorious team to ever have competed in the Freestyle Dance World Championships since the 1980’s, when the competition first started. Dancers’ compete solo, with partners and in groups.
Badenhorst and Minnaar, partnered up in the under-16 Freestyle Couples and secured a win. They also coupled up last year at the World Showdance Championships in Germany where they came second in the 12-15 showdance categories.
Minnaar said, “I was very excited to be able to take part in such a prestige competition. The most exciting part for me was to make all my finals and to dance against the best in the world.”
Young Minnaar participated in the under-14 Girls Premier Champ Division where she danced solo. She reached the finals of the freestyle and slow dance sections placing sixth and forth respectively. Minnaar is a learner at Marigon School and a member of Dance Zone International in Bryanston.
Minnaar’s mother Cecillia said, “I am so proud of her. Courtney is the only South African girl to dance premiere and make it to the finals.”
The third member of the South African team to receive a winning title is Tatijana Ignaijtov who placed second in the under-8 Girls Premier Champ Division. Ignaijtov attends Bishop Bavin in Bedfordview and is a student at Diana Moore Dance World.
The style of freestyle is similar to that of aerobics. Dancers move kick, leap, spin and run during their dance performance. This style of dancing came from the good old disco dance of the 80’s.
The Freestyle World Championships is organised by Anna Jones, who is the president of the International Dance Teachers’ Association (IDTA).