“IMAGINE Strictly Come Dancing – but with two men”. That’s how Castleford-born Stuart Barrett describes his award-winning dance troupe.
Guyz in Sync perform all the show-stopping latin and ballroom numbers you’d expect to see on the popular TV dance show – but instead of performing with female partners, they dance with men.
The pioneering outfit, based in London, are bringing same-sex dancing to the masses and have won a place in Sky 1’s Got To Dance’s live semi-finals on Sunday night.
Speaking from rehearsals for the competition, Stuart, 32, who grew up in Townville, told the Express: “Guyz in Sync do partner dancing – but we’re all men.
“Being in the semi-finals is very exciting and there is a lot at stake.
“We are squeezing in as much rehearsal time as we can and it’s a challenge to juggle that with my job as a latin and ballroom dance teacher.
“Showing the viewers our cheeky new routine will make it worth the effort in the end.”
Guyz In Sync was put together two-and-a-half years ago by Hadass Armon and Heather Gladding, a couple who run a gay and lesbian dance school in London.
Stuart, who teaches at their studio in Islington, was invited join the group along with other well-known performers from the same-sex dancing world.
The troupe of 12 men from across the world already have a handful of awards under their belt – including a gold award in their show dance performance at the 2009 OUT Games in Copenhagen, a silver accolade at the 2010 Gay Games in Cologne and have performed on the main stage at 2010 dance event Move It.
But the same-gender dance circuit is a far cry from Stuart’s dance roots in Castleford.
He began performing at the former Jane Tumelty dance school, where Carlton Lanes’ car park now stands.
Stuart said: “When it was knocked down I trained with my dance teacher Tracey White (nee Howells) wherever we could find a space – be it church halls or Redhill WMC.”
After leaving the town to go to university in Teesside, he began working as a dancer in a nightclub and went on to teach latin and ballroom dancing in Hong Kong.
Since his return to the UK, he has performed at London’s Apollo Theatre, was a dance double for comedian Andy Parsons on his Britain’s Got Idiots DVD and featured on Five’s TV show Milkshake.
Guyz In Sync won a place in the final 28 of the Got To Dance after impressing Diversity’s Ashley Banjo, Pussycat Doll Kimberly Wyatt and Tap Dogs star Adam Garcia. The group will compete for a place in the final for a chance to win a £250,000 prize.
Stuart said: “We are delighted to get to this stage of the competition and have had a great response so far.”
The semi-final is on Sky 1 at 6pm on Sunday February 6.