We met Vasiliy and Ekaterina in the lobby of the hotel two days after they won the Amateur Rising Star Ballroom event at the Blackpool Festival in May 2011. They come from Moscow but currently dance for Austria in Amateur Ballroom category. See their profile page.
I like the fact I can express myself in there [dance]. I can show the beauty of dancing with my movement
Let me congratulate you on a fantastic result of winning the Amateur Rising Star Ballroom here in Blackpool. I understand that you took a revenge on Jacek and Hanna for their victory at the UK Open and swap places with them the day before yesterday?
[Vasiliy and Ekaterina] Thank you very much
When did each of you start dancing?
[Ekaterina] I started dancing when I was six. I was a very shy girl and my mother took me to dancing studio to help me with this. It was a little studio in Moscow but I am proud that my Ballroom and Latin teachers are now competing in Senior very successfully. I became more and more interested in dancing but I did not have particularly good results then. In 2006 when we got together with Vasiliy it all changed, it was like a major step for me. My serious dancing career, I think, begun then.
So you started with both Ballroom and Latin? Did you do other forms of dancing such as hip-hop or ballet?
[Ekaterina] Yes, I did a little of ballet.
[Vasiliy] Yes, we like ballet
Vasiliy, how did you start?
[Vasiliy] I started when I was six or seven. I have an older brother and he danced too. My parents took me there with my brother. I danced in a small club near Moscow for years and it was just for me, I really liked it, not for the results. At some point I changed the club and I started getting good results and be really interested in dancing.
How did you two meet?
[Ekaterina] We knew each other before we were a couple. I split from my previous partner at the same time as Vasiliy did, so we decided to try together.
Did your teacher, or your coach suggested you try together?
[Ekaterina] Vasiliy actually called me
[Vasiliy] Yes, I called Katia. It was my own idea. My teachers were not in Moscow and neither my parents were in Moscow at the time. So we decided to try
[Ekaterina] It took me two or three months to decide. I was hesitating (laughing), I was not sure whether to get into the partnership with Vasya or not. He was calling me every day and asking: what did you decide. And finally I said: yes.
Are you a couple in private life as well?
[Ekaterina] We are very good friends.
What do you consider your best achievement so far?
[Vasiliy] This year's Blackpool of course. And also our first final in 2008 in Blackpool, the Under21 Ballroom where we were 4th. And then German Open in 2008 where we won the Rising Stars.
So I guess the next one for you will be the 1st place at the Open event here in Blackpool?
[Vasiliy and Ekaterina] Yes! (laughing)
[Ekaterina] Not so fast
What do you like the most in dancing?
[Ekaterina] I like the fact I can express myself in there. I can show the beauty of dancing with my movement. Especially here in Blackpool where we are dancing in such a beautiful hall, with orchestra. I can imagine myself being a princess (laughing)! For me, the most important thing is the beauty, not the sport.
[Vasiliy] For me too. It is not a sport which interests me. In Russia dancing is a sport, for us it is only art...
Can you tell me what you like in your partner?
[Vasiliy] I like that she is very beautiful (laughing) ...
[Ekaterina] Thank you!
[Vasiliy] ... and stubborn and clever. She is very clever.
Katya, what do you like about your partner?
[Ekaterina] I like the most that he is very calm. I am very emotional and, in every situation, Vasiliy can control my emotions by being calm and soft. And very kind as well!
So what you don't like about him then?
[Ekaterina] He is stubborn!
[Vasiliy] And she is blond!! (laughing) Clever, but sometime blond! But I like it too (laughing)
Do you like to have many teachers or just one coach?
[Vasiliy] Of course we have one main teacher Valerio Colantoni and Yulia Spesivtseva but we have also, not many, but few other teachers in England and in Italy.
So when you see other teachers, does it help you to have somebody explaining something from a different point of view?
[Ekaterina] We have a small group of teachers. We are trying to choose them such that they all follow the same idea. So it is not difficult for us, there are no conflicting ideas.
When you compete you probably also have bad days. What was the worst that you remember?
[Ekaterina] Blackpool 2009 I think.
[Vasiliy] Or the International, the same year we got to the final at Blackpool.
[Ekaterina] It was the first time we did final in Blackpool in 2008 and then after few months we did not get out of the 48... And it was bad year 2009 then, in Blackpool, in the UK Open and the International...
[Vasiliy] And then after that bad year we were on top again (laughing)
You clearly did not give up, you continued dancing and improved. What helped you not to give up, not to stop but pursue?
[Ekaterina] We helped each other mostly. Of course our parents supported us and Yulia Spesivtseva helped a lot. Because she is always with us and we can count on her support for us. Any result we get, any emotion we have she is always there for us, like a big Mother!
Are you dancing in IDSF or WDC Amateur League?
So you travel a lot around Europe for competitions? Which competitions do you like the most?
[Vasiliy] Blackpool of course!
[Ekaterina] Generally all the English competitions including UK Open and International. We also like the competition in Marseille in France. It is a very nice event. We did it for two years. It is actually wonderful, in a big hall, nice floor and fantastic audience. It is not like a typical IDSF competition which takes place in a sports hall.
So you do not like to dance in sport halls?
[Ekaterina] Never! We like the art and beauty in dancing. And it doesn't go with the sport halls!
Did you dance in the Royal Albert Hall already?
[Ekaterina] Yes. It was fabulous! We liked it very much
[Vasiliy] I think that for couples with "stars" the International Championships is actually the best competition. They dance one day only and it is evening and they do it in the Royal Albert Hall only. Perfect! So elegant and classy.
When you travel to the competition, are you also trying to use it to see the place, the country?
[Ekaterina] Of course we are trying to see the place as well. We like traveling. Most of the time, if we can, we try to stay one day longer and see the town. Especially when we are going to the countries capitals.
Have you tasted some interesting foods in these countries you visited?
[Vasiliy] My favourite food is in Italy. I like meat
[Ekaterina] We've seen some strange foods in China, but only looked, did not try (laughing). I like the classical cuisine.
Are you on a special diet or do you eat what you want?
[Vasiliy] No, we do not do any diet. In Moscow we have many lessons and ballet and it keeps us fit!
[Ekaterina] We eat everything
Do you work out?
[Ekaterina] Again, ballet classes. Ballet is very demanding and keeps our stamina. We also did yoga before.
What do you do in your free time?
[Vasiliy] I like billiard, we play a lot in Moscow. I like swimming as well. In the summer I will start surfing, near Moscow actually.
Where do you like to go for holidays?
[Ekaterina] Definitely seaside!
If it was not dancing, what would you like to do in life?
[Ekaterina] I would like to do any art profession. I like the creative. I like fashion. Anything like that. I cannot imagine my life without dancing and if something happend that I could not do it, the art would help me.
[Vasiliy] I would probably be a teacher. I like teaching, not sure what subject I would teach, but this is what I would do probably if I could not do dancing.
Do you have any favourite movies, films?
[Vasiliy] Forrest Gump...
[Ekaterina] I like comedy. Vasiliy likes Jennifer Aniston and tries to watch every movie with Jennifer Aniston.
How did you celebrate your victory the day before yesterday? Did you party?
[Ekaterina] Of course we were very tired after the competition. We went with Vasya's brother and friends to the restaurant to celebrate it.
[Vasiliy] Small group of friends
Did you get any phone calls after winning with congratulations?
[Ekaterina] Of course! Lots of text messages from friends, family, teachers. Lots of people in Russia were very interested of how we would get on in the competition after we changed the country.
Yes, why did you change the country?
[Vasiliy] After the Blackpool we were disqualified by the Russian Federation for six months. Blackpool was forbidden in Russia. It is actually still forbidden.
I though IDSF said that these three major English competitions were not banned...
[Ekaterina] IDSF may not ban it, but Russian Federation does.
[Vasiliy] Italy and Russia
[Ekaterina] Because English competitions are so important to us we wanted to find a way around it. There was an opportunity to represent Austria and we took it. We cannot represent Austria at the World Championships or the European Championships though.
[Vasiliy] We do not have Austrian passports.
[Ekaterina] The won in the court in Russia and then immediately switched the country. It was a very difficult times for us, very emotional. We could not dance any competition when we had our case in court.
What was the exact court decision?
[Ekaterina] The court said that the Russian Federation did not have any right to ban us and to disqulify us because Blackpool is legal. And it is accepted by IDSF as well. So the Russian federation did not follow the rules of IDSF.
Hopefully we will see you in October at the International. Will you be at the Dutch Open as well?
[Ekaterina] No, unfortunately we will not be there. It is banned by IDSF. We used to go there years ago. It is a beautiful competition....
What are your plans for the near future?
[Ekaterina] After Blackpool we go back to Moscow because we both have exams at the University. I have finished the Arts Academy and now I am studying the marketing and economy.
[Vasiliy] And I am studying sport at the Moscow State University
[Ekaterina] So we both have to pass some exams. And then in June we have lots of competitions in preparations for the German Open. We hope to go to Italy for few days of holiday. We will combine it with lessons with Valerio and Yulia in Livorno. There is a nice beach there as well so we shall stay there.
Fantastic weather, fantastic holiday
[Ekaterina] And fantastic food!
[Vasiliy] We like Italian food very much.
Have a good time there and good luck for the future. Thank you for the interview.
All photos taken on the day by Peter Suba