It was on Valentine’s Day 2016 when Baza first opened it’s own doors to Vancouver’s dance community, officially kicking off their #getinspired movement. Heading into the eighth month of operation, we, Baza Dance Studios, are very much in the honeymoon phase of business start-ups, but both revenue and client base have grown month over month.
“How’d you guys open your spot so fast”, “I knew you guys would get this big.” Excitement grew, and curiosity was sparked. So how did this all come to be?
Let’s backtrack to late 2009 when Kristal Wei and Wayne Barbaza (Baza Dance Studios, Co-Founders) first met while auditioning for City Dance Corps’ Latin Dance Team in Toronto. At the time, Kristal was just getting back into Salsa dancing and Wayne, a year into Salsa, had already made up his mind that he was going to do “something” in the Salsa world.
The following years were a balance of dance training and working 9-5 jobs. Kristal waded through the sea of rush every day, in and out of Toronto’s financial district where she worked as an accountant. Having worked in the software industry for six years, Wayne was looking for a change. He spent his days sitting in front of a computer but dreaming of “something” else.
It wasn’t long before the natural chemistry between Kristal and Wayne grew into a relationship; and in the summer of 2010, the relationship was put to the test.
Kristal was diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer; 3 months into dating. It could’ve gone either way. They met couples in the same situation through support groups, whose stories didn’t unfold like Wayne and Kristal’s. What’s meant to be will happen; Wayne and Kristal grew closer, and the relationship strengthened.
After 100% recovery and some time-off, Kristal decided it was time for the change she longed for. “Eliminate stress, unhappiness, and negativity.” Wayne was all-in. He promised Kristal it would be his mission to help her achieve her dream. There was no official plan. The couple just vowed to devote their energy to creating happiness. In seeing mentors creating freedom for themselves, and in a desire to help others achieve the same, they found inspiration to make that change happen.
In the summer of 2012, Wayne took Kristal to visit his family in Vancouver. Kristal immediately fell in love with the city, the beauty and the lifestyle. During the trip, the idea was brought up about perhaps making a move cross-country. Wayne’s family was in Vancouver. Most of Kristal’s family was in Trinidad. “Okay, why not? Maybe we can teach Salsa there too!” Fast forward to June 2013. The couple packed up their little Fiat and took a nice 9-day road trip from Toronto to Vancouver. After settling into their new home, Baza Dance was born and officially held its very first class in Burnaby in September 2013. The first class was free, so it was packed. The second class had only three students (that’s more like it for a start-up!) The slow times continued, but it picked up after the couple was welcomed into the Dancey family of teachers. Again, excitement grew, and curiosity was sparked. Stephen and Jennifer Dancey became another big inspiration. Their hard work and dedication to the dance scene fed the couple’s passion for Baza Dance. Communication was very open at the start so the Dancey’s knew at some point it would be time to let their little kiddies fly on their own! And they did. They jumped, and they flew!
Baza Dance Studios, located at 1304 Seymour St, Vancouver, now employs a part-time studio manager and has a team of 12 instructors teaching a variety of dance genres, including Latin, hip-hop, fusion, contemporary, jazz and wellness. This team was built on a foundation of passion for dancing and inspiring others, and each member is to thank for the continued growth of the Baza community.
This hashtag isn’t just a trending one. It created a new life for Kristal and Wayne. It was the only real blueprint they needed to start their studio. It’s what motivates them every day to develop an environment where students can be inspired. It’s the mindset that continually attracts others, feeding Baza’s rapid growth. “If someone finds out what steps we took and what blocks we climbed over to get to where we’re at; they will be inspired to go do their ‘something’ as well, and that’s the meaning of Baza.”
So, what inspires you?