Interview with Lukasz Tomczak and Aleksandra Jurczak

Interview with Lukasz Tomczak and Aleksandra Jurczak

Posted on Saturday, 06 Mar 2010, 23:00 by Admin
Read: 15,335

We had the pleasure of talking to this young couple at the BIC, Bournemouth, the morning after their victory in the Amateur Rising Stars Standard. We began by commenting on the prize ceremony and how when they entered the floor as winners they did not walk out as though they expected it but there was a slight sign of their excitement. It was clear to see they were very happy but they behaved in such a restrained way until they had left the floor and then Lukasz really showed the absolute excitement and joy from the win. Lukasz and Aleksandra (Ola) are the Polish Amateur Standard couple. See their results page and photos in our galleries.

By observing, by trying to feel the music, by trying to feel the steps and the routine you automatically start to perform your best

Congratulations on your win it was a really tough competition

[Lukasz] Yes there were a lot of rounds. Altogether it was 6 rounds so very tough and stamina was necessary!

In Ballroom the Polish couples are not getting huge results nowadays

[Lukasz] Actually they are getting good results. I think that today in Poland we have quite a high standard in Amateur Ballroom. Actually for certain in Standard it is higher than in Latin. But, yes, Professional Ballroom is not so strong

[Ola] The standard in the Amateur Ballroom is quite high now

Did you come to Bournemouth with high expectations that you might win?

[Ola] To be honest, it was our goal, and we were preparing for this very hard, but ...

...To have an expectation is one thing to achieve it another

[Lukasz] It was our goal to win, we knew that we might have a chance but we did not feel sure.

[Ola] In dancing anything can happen. We really wanted to but we were not sure that it was possible, but I think we danced quite well yesterday. We felt good and also our coaches said it was a good performance so we were really hoping to win or at least be in the top 3 places.

Can you please tell us something about yourselves and how you started dancing?

[Lukasz] I started dancing when I was 7 and it was classes at the elementary school. My Mother got me interested in those activities and I really enjoyed it and so I started to train more often and it was like a sport. Then came some small successes and this was like a motivation for me. Then I found a suitable partner and now it is almost my whole life.

[Ola] For me it was similar. I have been dancing for about 12 or more years. Of course my parents told me to try dancing so I went to some classes. The first class was at school and I really enjoyed it and so I started to practise more and more. I am from a small town called Krosno and it was not easy to find a partner there and so I moved to Warsaw and 4 years ago I started to dance with Lukasz in Warsaw.

[Lukasz] I am from Warsaw.

So you have been dancing together for 4 years, apart from yesterday, what do you consider your biggest success?

[Lukasz] For sure our biggest success was the 2nd place in Youth (Under 21) in Blackpool last year 2009. Then to be finalists in International Championship and then what is quite important for us are IDSF competitions. We are quite high in the Ranking List so getting into the finals or the top 3 of IDSF Opens is important but the most important for us are the 3 English competitions: Blackpool, UK, and the International.

How did you meet?

[Lukasz] We met in my dancing camp where I was alone and Ola came to the camp to have a try out with me.

Why? Were you looking for a partner? Had you put an advert anywhere?

[Lukasz] Yes, I was looking for a partner.

[Ola] We had the same coach in the beginning, Polish coach, and he knew that Lukasz was alone and looking for a partner and he told me. So I went there and we had a try out and we really enjoyed it and decided that we would like to try to dance together.

Were you immediately happy at your first try out?

[Ola] For me it felt a little bit that Lukasz was too tall. There was a difference in height between us and it felt a little bit strange to be honest but there was very nice movement and position. I was a little bit scared because at that time he was better than me, he had some results but I was just beginning, but it felt good.

[Lukasz] I was very comfortable because Ola is similar height. I used to have a smaller partner so it was very comfortable with Ola. I could really move, I did not have to stop myself and I could go for the maximum. I really enjoyed the try out and was pretty sure that we would dance together.

Is your life mainly about dancing or are you doing something else as well?

[Lukasz] Dancing is a major part of our life and has the first place however we both study in Warsaw School of Economics which we consider important. Education takes a big place in our lives and we feel it helps us in other ways like communicating with other people and we have two languages which are obligatory.

[Ola] We are studying Management so that it will help us in the future, for instance with a dancing business and so it is important but it is difficult to study and dance to do the two things. Most of the dancers do only one thing, dance. They focus on that one thing but we combine and then also we have to work to earn money. Because as you know dancing is not cheap but an expensive sport. So we have to work, to teach little children and younger couples to dance.

[Lukasz] To be honest we had to take a gap year at University to prepare for Blackpool which was our goal but now we are back and studying.

So you do the normal daily study?

[Lukasz and Ola] Yes, normal daily course.

[Ola] And now there are exams but we are here!

Which year do you study?

[Lukasz] 2nd Year. Actually there is one year to go after the first level and then there are two more.

Then Masters?

[Lukasz] Yes, but Masters you can do after a gap you can do it later on. As Ola mentioned we have exams now but we are here and then we have Polish Championships so hopefully we will do, and pass, our exams after Polish Championship.

Good luck!

[Lukasz and Ola] (laughing) Thank You!

Are you eligible to dance Under 21 at Blackpool this year?

[Lukasz] No, but to be honest even if we were we would not dance.

Do you have a favourite dance?

[Lukasz] Swing dances are our favourite ones because of our height because of the position we can get in the swing dances, but my favourite dance is slow foxtrot.

[Ola] I also like Viennese Waltz, it's a little bit strange because most couples do not like it and I like it very much, but my favourite is Slow Foxtrot

If you were dancing Latin which would you like the most?

[Lukasz] For me definitely Rumba and only Rumba.

[Ola] For me the same but to be honest, Standard and Latin dancing are two different things and I can see a big difference.

[Lukasz] It does not mean they are better or worse, they are just different.

[Ola] Latin does not suit me at all. (laughing) I am too shy to dance Latin!

[Lukasz] However, we have a lot of Latin dancer friends and they are very good and kind people but we just feel better, much better, in Standard.

Are you a couple in private life as well?

[Lukasz] Yes, we are.

Well, no hesitation here. You were very sure and certain. Ola, but you did not seem sure (laughter)!

[Ola] (laughing) I was waiting for Lukasz to say it.

Do you have friends outside dancing?

[Lukasz] I think it is not so good to have millions of friends, better to have 3 or 4 really good and safe friends that you can rely on, who will help you in all situations and I am really glad that I do have some. Of course, they are from dancing but then there are also a few from outside.

Your colleagues at University are they supportive of you dancing or do they feel you are crazy?

[Lukasz] No, No, No! We do not have many friends from University because we are there very rarely. Our friends are from High School and Elementary School. As for the University, we feel we go there to be educated, to gain knowledge and to get as much as we can but not for friends.

[Ola] I have to say I left my best friend when I left my town where I was born. Now I have colleagues more than friends in Warsaw but I keep in touch with these old friends from my home town and I think they will be my friends for the rest of my life!

Where do you train mostly? In Poland or abroad?

[Lukasz] We train in Poland and in London. We are in London every month or at least once every two months with our major coaches. We practise in Warsaw of course.

You are still very young but what advice would you give dancers younger than you or people who have not achieved as much as you?

[Lukasz] I think the important thing in dancing is to be very patient, not to get stressed and not to give up. In our lives we have good and bad days we have successes and we have failures. Sooner or later if the person is hard working and believes in the things they want to achieve they will do it. I was always thinking about working hard, relying on myself and my partner and to never give up. Even the World Champion has bad days.

So yesterday was your biggest success. Could you say what your biggest failure was?

[Lukasz] Hmm.....

[Ola] Maybe last year at the International in London.

[Lukasz] Oh Yes. Last year in the International.

[Ola] (laughing) But let's not talk about the failures!

But every dancer will have failures and that is why I try to establish what you feel was your biggest but it did not break you or make you give up.

[Lukasz] There are a few of them. Now they become less and less because you build your position slowly. You need to be patient. Last International was not good for us.

[Ola] Last Polish Championship was not happy for us.

I think it is good for other dancers to realise that a failure does not mean success will not come, just as you are a success now

[Ola] To be honest I do not know a dancer who only has successes.

[Lukasz] It is impossible.

[Ola] Sometimes you have good days and sometimes you have bad days. Sometimes there is panel of adjudicators who will not enjoy your style.

[Lukasz] Sometimes, when you have bad days, you will not feel good and of course sometimes there will just be better couples than you. There are so many things that are important and are the factors contributing to your success.

What is your strongest side, your biggest virtue in dancing?

[Lukasz] I think being hard working and also my physical appearance – that I am tall. This is good for ballroom dancing and then my partner is my biggest advantage.

[Ola] Same question for me? I agree with Lukasz. Our posture is very good for standard for natural swing movement and also I am a hard working person and can spend a lot of hours in practising. Yes, these I think are my advantages.

Now question to Olga, what is his weakest point?

[Ola] Weakest point ... hmm ... (pause) sometimes he gets quite upset quickly. For instance if we are practising and something is not going very well he will get very upset but then after a little while he calms down and it is better.

Lukasz, and what would you say?

[Lukasz] (pausing in thought) hmm ....

[Ola] (laughing) I don't have one!

Are you thinking it is dangerous to say it out loud?

[Lukasz] No. No, it is not hard to say I am just thinking what the major one is (outbreak of laughter)! I don't know, I cannot say, but maybe it is because I am wanting to train far more than her. For instance I want to spend 6 hours training and she only wants to spend 3 or 4 and then we have to make a compromise.

[Ola] Sometimes that is enough!

[Lukasz] I really like to train and spend a lot of time on the sport!

[Ola] He is like a machine, he is never tired!

[Lukasz] No, I can be tired. I was tired yesterday.

[Ola] So OK, just this once (laughing)!!

If you could not dance what would you do?

[Ola] I don't think I would do any other sport if it was not dancing. I think that I would focus on study, maybe foreign languages.

[Lukasz] I think I would also pay much more attention to study, and if I would think about another sport I used to swim a lot when I was a kid and I like to play table tennis very much.

With your height that is surprising table tennis players are normally quite short

[Lukasz] Yes, but I like it. I also used to like to dive to the water from the trampoline. 7 metre was the highest I jumped from.

What are your immediate plans after this competition?

[Lukasz] After the UK we are preparing for the Polish Championships which are also an important competition for us. Then, of course, the next major event will be the Blackpool Dance Festival which we have to think about now because later will be too late.

Will you dance Rising Stars and the Amateur Championship?

[Lukasz and Ola] We are not sure yet.

[Lukasz] We have to discuss it between ourselves and also between our coaches

I know you are very young but have you thought about the years ahead and if you will turn Professional? What plans do you have as Professionals because you are planning with your University study for Business?

[Lukasz] What do you mean?

You study economics, you study business management so you are preparing to be not only dancers?

[Lukasz] No. No. That's not it.

[Ola] This is just another option. If anything happens in dancing then this is a second option...

[Lukasz] This study is just in case, in case something happened. For sure we want to spend our life in dancing, this we want very much. We want to have a successful career in Amateur and then after fulfilling ourselves in Amateur to then turn Professional and work for results there. As we said though we know education is important so that is why we are trying to combine it but we want our future to be the dancing. We are not thinking about turning professional at the moment for sure. We have only just finished with the Youth category so this is like the beginning. I think we have 6 or 7 years in Amateur before us. It depends, it is very personal sometimes you will get good results very quickly and you turn Professional and other times you have to work and to wait for those results before you can consider it. Our goal at this moment is to be very successful in the Amateur category.

The training that you do is it all dance related or do you go down to the gym or something?

[Ola] I have to say that we do ballet every week. It is not like normal ballet as such but ballet for ballroom dancers. To prepare our bodies, to have good co-ordination in our bodies. Before a big competition we practise stamina, sometimes run as we must prepare physically. That is all.

[Lukasz] Before Blackpool we used to go swimming and also to the gym but the gym is really not the thing for me and I prefer exercises such as sit ups at home, or to do the ballet. I like stretching exercises and breathing exercises but I do not like going to the gym.

[Ola] Sometimes when there is a big competition coming, we do things like yoga to help us prepare

What about artistic advice?

[Lukasz] I think that you have to feel this; you cannot be taught how to perform. By observing, by trying to feel the music, by trying to feel the steps and the routine you automatically start to perform your best.

[Ola] Sometimes it is also good to go to the theatre, for example, to read a good book, to listen to a piece of lovely music, and then the inspiration will come.

[Lukasz] I think the music is the most important factor.

When you are talking about dancing what is the first thing that comes into your mind, what is most important for you?

[Lukasz] Dancing is like showing the music in the steps. I do not know if I say it correctly but you have to express what you feel inside and fulfil the music.

[Ola] I think there are two very important things. The first is to feel good and the second is to look good. You have to combine.

[Lukasz] Yes, this must be combined because not always when you feel good that you look good (laughter). When we talk about competitive dancing, a very important thing is presentation. How you have prepared, how you look on the floor, the dresses, tail suit, even the hairdo - all these things are important.

Do you ever think about going down to the disco on a Saturday night? (laughter)

[Ola] To be honest, sometimes I really want to go to the disco and have a party but Lukasz is like "No we don't go"!

[Lukasz] I like to have fun and to go to the disco only with my best friends. I don't like going every weekend, I am not the person who likes to party a lot. I prefer to go maybe 5, 6 times in a year and with my best friends.

If you go to the disco do you find you can really relax and do anything or does your training mean you must always be in control?

[Ola] (to much laughter) It depends on how much you drunk before!

[Lukasz] ... and what time of night it is. Actually, I do not dance too much when I go to these parties. I prefer having a nice conversation and meeting nice people. I have enough dancing every day!

Your training do you try to get together early morning or afternoon?

[Ola] It depends. Mostly we train in the afternoon but, for example, last year when we had the gap in studying we practised twice a day. In the morning and then in the evening again.

[Lukasz] When we have a major competition then we train all day. From the early morning till the evening session.

[Ola] Just a small break for some lunch or something...

[Lukasz] So for big competition all day every day for maybe two weeks but in normal life every afternoon.

In the history of dancing from the past do you have any favourite style? Any dancer who inspired you?

[Lukasz] Of course, for me the most important thing in Ballroom dancing is to be elegant and classic because for me this is what dancing is about and all my teachers from a young age have tried to persuade me that this is the way. Okay, I understand that it evolves and now we have to do more and more and others factors are important but for me elegant lines and the classic look are important and all the past couples that had this class - that would motivate me.

[Ola] There are couples who like to copy to really copy and be the same but I don't like this at all I am trying to take something from different people. For instance if I think this person is good with this I will try to take that and develop it my way and then another person is good with some other things so I will take that. So I am not trying to be any one person to copy one person but to learn different things from different dancers.

[Lukasz] It is important to show what you feel. Show yourself.

Do you think you learn more if you go to different teachers?

[Lukasz] We have a very small number of teachers that we work with and who are our main teachers and then there are a few others with whom we work from time to time.

So we have enjoyed the chance to talk with you and we would like to wish you much success

[Lukasz and Ola] Thank you

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