Dancing has a way of pulling people together. There are many styles and genres out there for all different cultures. "The Caribbean has a history of eccentric styles of music and beautiful places to claim as your dance floor starting with Haitian-Kompa dance".
Meet Caleb Exantus a professional Kompa dancer and instructor from Tampa, Florida. Caleb is originally from Broward and Miami- Dade County born in Haiti. Caleb hopes to dispel the negative stereotype of the Haitian culture by showing the beauty of the culture through dance.
Growing up in a Haitian household, Caleb had to uphold the standard that most young Caribbean youth deals with. It is the idea of staying out of trouble by only attending church, school, and being home. Being a pastor’s child only amplified his parent’s inflexibility. However, this never stopped him from being ambitious about his vision.
Is there someone you look up to?
Martin Luther King Jr and my father. I admire Martin Luther King Jr. because he was a pastor and a visionary. I look up to my father because he taught me that people will remember you by your moral character. He is the reason I pay attention to what I say and how I dress. This influenced me to always be better.
What does vision mean to you?
I believe vision is faith, because when you have a vision you see it, but you have to work for it. When you have faith, you may not see it, but you have to make sure you walk in a positive direction to make it happen. When a person has a visionary dream, they need to have a process in place to complete what they plan.
What is your vision and how did you envision it?
Growing up, I was always shy. I wasn’t popular, but I decided senior year of high school to do my first dance performance. After gaining confidence, my first year of college I decided to join the dance team which resulted in us winning several competitions.
I learned more about my Haitian culture by being exposed to other Haitian students at Barry University. In 2015 I moved to Tampa, Florida where I joined multiple dance teams. Caribbean Cultural Exchange dance team, African dance team, and Club Creole dance team that was geared towards Haitian-Kompa dance. I devoted my life to dance and, in that time, I only worked and danced.
In 2016 I was then presented with an opportunity to be an instructor at a local studio thus opening the door for me to have my own dance studio. The studio is used for teaching Haitin-Kompa dance to everyone. My vision is to dispel the negative stereotype of the Haitian culture by showing the beauty of the culture through dance. All I am doing now, is not all I want to do for the culture.
What sacrifices did you have to make for your vision?
In the process I did lose relationships. Such as my long-term relationship with my girlfriend at the time because of me trying to maneuver through dance, school and work. This also reflected my relationship with my cousin. He had the same sentiments about dance. Lastly my relationship with my father. This style of dance he frowns upon and he rather me chose the path of a pastor as he did. This was all difficult for me. and never sought for this to happen. However, I wanted to see this vision through.
What do you hope for in the future?
I hope to help people who are unable to gain financial education to navigate through the process of setting up bank accounts. I also hope to travel more to promote and teach other cultures about Haitian-Kompa dance and Haiti's history.