We have spent 30 minutes or so taking to the UK Open 2012 Amateur Rising Star Latin winners, Anton Nesterko and Dariya Maryuschenko from Ukraine. They won that event on Tuesday, and then danced the Amateur Latin on the following day reaching the15th place. See their profile page.
...winning is great but it was not our main goal. We want to feel we danced well
Congratulations, fantastic victory, great success. Can we ask how you started dancing?
[Dariya]: I started dancing when I was six years old. I was very active child and my mother took me to the dance class one day. It was a dance school in Kharkov, Ukraine.
Did you start with both styles?
[Dariya]: I started with Ballroom and Latin. Four years ago I dropped Ballroom and continued with Latin program only. So I am not dancing Ballroom anymore.
[Anton]: I started when I was seven years old. It was also my mother who thought about it. I am from Nikopol in Ukraine. There was a little dance club in my school and I started there. I was an expressive and active boy and I from the beginning I dance only Latin.
How did you meet?
[Anton]: We knew each other from competitions. We were actually friends. One day we decided to try out together. And it was a good idea!
Have you been looking for a partner then?
[Anton]: No, we both had partners but one day we just thought of trying out together. We were looking to improve, to be better.
[Dariya]: We just thought: why not...
Are you also together in the private life?
Do you think it has any influence on your dancing? Does it help or not?
[Anton]: Hmmm... fifty-fifty I think.
[Dariya]: It does help but sometimes it is hard
[Anton]: It is hard to control your emotions in dancing and not to mix it with private life. Arguments in dancing could easily have impact on our private relationship.
Are you dancing in the Amateur League of WDC?
[Anton]: Yes, from the beginning.
Where do you go to competitions?
[Dariya]: We compete in Ukraine but we also go abroad for competitions. One of the best competitions we think is the International and we were there. We will also dance Blackpool in May.
It was your first UK Open together, wasn't it? You are only together for few months.
[Anton]: But what a good start!
Indeed! Do you have any time for hobbies, time for friends?
[Anton]: Most of our friends are actually dancers and we all spend a lot of time in dancing hall. We practise all day. We don't have much time for anything else really.
[Dariya]: When Anton goes to Nikopol to visit his family, I go to Kharkov to visit mine. We have several days then to meet our other friends. Otherwise, when we are in Kyiv, we only practise and do not have time for other activities.
[Anton]: My whole life is dancing and all my friends are there as well.
What do you find the best in your partner?
[Anton]: I like her sincerity. She dances with feelings. And I like that. She is a quiet girl so I can talk as much as I want! (laughing) She doesn't talk unnecessarily, if you know what I mean.
[Dariya]: It is hard for me sometimes because Anton is a very emotional person. When he thinks he talks to me, he actually screams! I find it hard to control myself then (laughing).
[Anton]: She controls herself very well!
[Dariya]: It is also good that he is emotional. It helps us when we dance. He can portray the emotions when he dances. He is also strong and hard working. We sometimes practise and practise until he feels we achieved something for that moment. It is good for us, I think.
What is the worst in your partner then?
[Anton]: After our win yesterday I don't want to think about it! (laughing). I can tell you about my bad side. My character is difficult I think. It is not easy for Dariya to spend time with me and dance with me. I wouldn't want me to be my own partner!
Dariya, what about him?
[Anton]: Come on, Dariya, say it!
[Dariya]: He is very impulsive and impatient sometimes. He might be angry at one moment and then positive. He is really unstable in emotions! (laughing) So the fact that he is emotional is both good and bad side of him. Actually, I am also quite emotional. It can be bad and good. We can clash...
[Anton]: If we are both in good, positive mood at the same time we can achieve something great. But sometimes we are both down. We then talk too much to be honest!
Really? I cannot say you talk too much!
[Anton]: We are not in the practice hall!
So I guess both of you were in the right state of mind on Tuesday when you won the Rising Stars?
[Anton]: Yes, we were both very positive.
Did you have any expectations?
[Anton]: We practise hard and we want people to respond to our dancing. We want to show a really good dance. So, winning is great but it was not our main goal. We want to feel we danced well.
[Dariya]: We want to feel we danced our best
[Anton]: And to show our best dance
Dancing can be seen as a sport or as an art. What is your opinion on that?
[Anton]: Art is the main part, only part I see in dancing. I don't like to see couples treat dance as a sport, to show how fast they are. Dance for me is an art with a small element of sport in it.
[Dariya]: I think the sport element is also important because we have to be fit and strong. We have to be able to start well and finish well. But the art part, the feelings, our soul and our personality must be in what we do.
What was the happiest day for you?
[Anton]: Winning the Rising Stars for sure. That's how I feel today. But tomorrow is another day and who know what will happen...
It is interesting that you did not say that the greatest day was when you met Dariya!
[Dariya]: OK, yesterday was the greatest day in our dancing life! (laughing)
[Anton]: Dancing is our whole life anyway!
Do you live far from your families?
[Anton]: Yes, they live far. We are in Kyiv and my family is in Nikopol, some 10 hours away. I have a chance to see them maybe three times a year for couple of days.
Are your families interested in your career?
[Dariya]: Of course!
[Anton]: We talk very often. Both Mum and Dad are very interested in my everyday life.
Do they go to see you compete?
[Dariya]: Yes, my Mum does. She is here in Bournemouth with us. She watches us dance. It helps me to know she is in the audience!
Who is the main person to decide of your overall look, make-up, costumes?
[Anton]: Before competitions we speak a lot with our teachers and they help us to find our own style. They may suggest something to us and we create our own style based on their suggestions.
If you could not dance, what else you would you do?
[Anton]: I would like to teach dancing. I like fast cars but I do not have enough money to do that. Well, I did not give it a thought what else to do it life...
[Dariya]: I did not think about it either because I am dancing now, this is what I chose to do. My life is dancing. My hobby is dancing.
Do you like going to cinemas, theatres, opera or concerts?
[Anton]: We like cinema. We go there to feel something new, to get new ideas maybe.
[Dariya]: Before the competition, one day or two, we go to a cinema to relax. It helps us to forget about the stress and nerves. I believe that it helps us to dance better at the competition.
How many hours do you spend in the dancing hall?
[Anton]: All day really. We also teach there. And then we practise a lot. We go home just to sleep. Some days are better for our training, some are worse. But generally we spend all day there.
What is your favourite dance?
[Dariya]: For me, it is Rumba and Paso Doble because I can show myself there. I can put my own personality into them. Maybe, it is because they are more passionate than the other dances.
[Anton]: I like all of them, all five dances. I like that I can put different feelings into each of them. I cannot say which is my favourite.
Is there a dancer, or a couple who was your inspiration?
[Anton]: For me it is Slavik Kryklyvyy. I like his style.
[Dariya]: I like Karina Smirnoff and Anna Melnikova. They are very good technically but show their character and emotions so well. This is the best combination. I can really relate to that style of dancing, especially Karina's. It is close to my heart.
Did you have any lessons with them?
[Dariya]: We had some lessons with Slavik. But not with Karina... I would like to do that.
Do you think it is better to have many teachers or only few?
[Anton]: It is definitely better to have few good ones. Every teacher has some ideas and it would be impossible to use all these ideas if you had many teachers. You must find two, three, maybe five teachers and work with them.
[Dariya]: It is important to find teachers who can help you to with various parts of your dancing and help you to create your style. They must understand your own feelings as well.
Do you try to find your individual style, character?
[Anton]: I think looking unique starts when you are able to show your feelings, to open your soul. We must be able to portray our true, inner feelings. Because we are all different, we have different emotions, therefore we are unique.
Will you be dancing Rising Stars in Blackpool?
[Anton]: We will be in Blackpool but we are not sure if we will dance the Rising Stars. We will think about it and talk to our teachers. By the way, we would like to thank our teachers very much for their support.
Good luck for the future then. Thank you for talking to us.
All photos taken on the day by Thomas Morton