Interview with Sergiu Rusu and Dorota Makar

Interview with Sergiu Rusu and Dorota Makar

Posted on Wednesday, 15 Jul 2015, 16:47 by admin
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We interviewed Sergiu Rusu and Dorota Makar who won the Amateur Ballroom at Blackpool Festival 2015. Sergiu and Dorota had a fantastic year so far, starting with winning the UK Open in January, becoming Polish Champions and winners of Blackpool of course.

Some people take hasty decisions to change partnership too soon, thinking that with another person it would be easier, better. They want to take an easy route. But I don’t believe there is such a way

Thank you very much for coming – what a fantastic result!

[Dorota] Great, thank you!

Tell us how you started dancing?

[Sergiu] I am from Moldova. I started dancing in a famous club Codreanca, from Kishinau. My mother took me to the classes. I come from a dancing family, my parents and my brother are dancers so I did not have any choice. When I was 13 years old I moved to Romania to dance there with a Romanian girl Mirona Gliga. I was there on my own for the first few months and then my parents also moved there so it wasn’t so bad. As a Juvenile I was a champion of Moldova with Iulia Vorosilova, and later as a Junior and Youth I was a champion of Romania. When I split from my partner at the age of 18, I decided to move to Poland especially for Dorota, my wonderful partner, the best partner in the world

[Dorota] (Laughing)

[Sergiu] And we are dancing together for over nine years now.

[Dorota] I started dancing when I was 10 years old in a beautiful town of Szczecinek in Poland. My sister took me to the dance classes but after a while she stopped and I continued. For the first two years I danced alone and did my only competion with the number on my back (laughing). Then my talent was noticed by Igor Gutowskyi, who just came to Poland from Ukraine, and he paired me with my first partner Lukasz with whom I was quite successful.

How did you first meet?

[Dorota] Actually, it was quite funny. I am a bit older than Sergiu so I was dancing in Youth age category. Sergiu was in Junior and he came from Romania to Szczecinek, to my town for some lessons with Katia Vanone. I was asked to help his partner to do her hair (laughing). So I was doing her hair and looking at them thinking, oh, such nice kids! (laughing).

[Sergiu] There was a competition afterwards, I think World Championships and we were getting prepared.

[Dorota] So it was our first meeting. If anyone told me then that we would be dancing together …

[Sergiu] … and win UK Open and Blackpool together

[Dorota] Yes! … I would have laughed but never believed it!

[Sergiu] There came a moment when we both were with no partner, so our teachers at the time, Katia and Giordano Vanone, suggested we try together. Our try-out was perhaps not the best we could imagine but still, somehow, we decided to give it a chance and dance together. DSI: What does it mean that it wasn’t the best you could imagine?

[Dorota] Sergiu is much taller than me and at the beginning we both felt that a lot. He was also younger …

[Sergiu] The steps we tried did not work well

[Dorota] It did not feel good at the time. But what was really the main thing which made us to decide to dance together is that few days after this try-out I’ve heard that he is improving so quickly, so much quicker than anybody I’ve ever danced with before. I had a lot of good partners and they already had a good level of dancing but none of them was such a fast learner. I liked that about Sergiu very much.

So it was Dorota’s decision then?

[Sergiu] You may say so.

Which competition you remember as most interesting or which one was your favourite?

[Sergiu] Definitely we will remember this one! Year 2015 will stay in our memory and our heart for ever.

[Dorota] Yes, this Blackpool was special for us. Also the UK Open this year was very special for us.

[Sergiu] In our dance world we have few very special competitions which create this beautiful atmosphere. I don’t know which one is better but definitely Blackpool is one of the best.

What do you like about your partner?

[Dorota] Sergiu is very intelligent and he never stops to improve both in dancing and in life. He is constantly learning, he has this constant curiosity. It is fun to be around him and it is very interesting as well.

[Sergiu] Dorota is the most beautiful I’ve ever met. She is also very clever, talented and what I like about her a lot is her dedication to everything she does. She is very passionate too. I like that very much (laughing).

Which one of you is more emotional, which one is more rational?

[Sergiu] I think it depends. For instance, in life, I think I am more emotional and Dorota is more logical. When I get too excited about something she always tries to get me back to earth (laughing) and make a correct decision. Otherwise I would be an impulse buyer for instance.

[Dorota] Sometimes I need to remind him about time. He has a problem doing things in time!

[Sergiu] Actually, in dancing, I think it is half and half.

[Dorota] Perhaps we are evolving, changing …

[Sergiu] I make the tough decisions when needed, I take responsibility when it is really tough.

[Dorota] I somehow avoid those important decisions and I am happy that he does it (laughing)

For example?

[Dorota] When, let’s say, few years ago this split between WDSF and WDC occurred, I was very afraid to make a move to WDC. Perhaps I was not afraid, but I knew I had to make a decision and I did not know what to do. Sergiu was very clear with what road we should be taking.

[Sergiu] Dorota loved both sides so it was hard for her to just choose one and give up the other. I was quite clear that I wanted WDC.

[Dorota] We feel that in WDC the history and tradition is so much more important. There are so many knowledgeable people associated with WDC. I prefer to be judged by people who were dancers for a long time, who value the tradition of our sport and sometimes created that history themselves, they were part of it. I feel that their opinion and judging will be right as they travelled this road themselves. Whether you get the 6th place or 1st place you feel that their decision was correct because you trust their integrity. If I am judged by somebody who I am not really sure who they were or what they represent it is hard to accept their decision. We all know that dancing is not really easily measurable and is subjective so I prefer somebody who did spend their lifetime in it.

What is the most important thing for you in dancing?

[Sergiu] Actually, few years ago we both did a psychological test to find out what we want from dancing and why we do it. We both love to dance of course and so on, but we were told we have a common characteristics: we both want to win. In couples, relationships in life or in dancing, usually one person wants one thing and the other wants something else. But in our case we want the same thing which sometimes can lead to conflicts.

[Dorota] But we manage.

[Sergiu] We do it because we love to dance and we fell we express ourselves through it. But we also like to compete and aim to become the best.

Now tell me what you don’t like about your partner

[Sergiu] I know what is wrong with me. Dorota always tells me (laughing). She makes sure I know! So, it is time keeping, definitely.

[Dorota] Yes, he needs to work on that. He tends to be late too often (laughing). If we have only a small amount of time, he wants to do way too many things in that space of time. It can take forever! He doesn’t feel that time is an important issue. There is another thing I don’t like and Sergiu knows that too (laughing). He likes to repeat things. They don’t have to be that important but he wants to do it ten times just to make sure. It is so annoying (laughing). But also funny. This is the last thing I’ve got to say about his faults.

[Sergiu] Actually, I think … it is hard to think about a specific example.

[Dorota] I am sure you can say something (laughing)

OK, moving on then. Which one of you is cooking?

[Dorota] Most of the time it is me. But it doesn’t happen that often anyway.

[Sergiu] Our lifestyle means that it is difficult to find the time. So we rely on restaurants most of the time. But we still try to eat healthy food.

Who is driving?

[Dorota] It depends. But most of the time it is Sergiu

[Sergiu] I like driving so this is not a problem for me.

[Dorota] Yes, Sergiu loves driving and cars.

What is your favourite?

[Sergiu] Definitely Mercedes S-class. Especially the latest model.

What is your favourite holiday destination?

[Dorota] Maldives, definitely. We watched so many videos on YouTube, but yet we did not find time to do it. I think you need at least 2 weeks to enjoy all the attractions.

Dancing is not a cheap activity. How do you manage financially?

[Dorota] It is not easy. Neither of us comes from a rich family so we have to work to support ourselves. We teach dancing, we get some money from the competitions and shows.

Do you have any sponsors?

[Dorota] Yes, we are very lucky to have Vesa Design sponsoring my dresses and my shoes are sponsored by Supadance. Sergiu shoes are sponsored by DanceLines so it is very helpful. Of course for many years our parents very helping us, they were our biggest sponsors. Sometimes they still do, which is nice (laughing).

Were you parents here in Blackpool watching you dance this year?

[Dorota] Yes, we were so lucky this year. My parents came and Sergiu’s Dad was also here.

[Sergiu] My Mum was also scheduled to come but she had an emergency at work and had to cancel. She is also a dance teacher.

[Dorota] My sister who lives in Liverpool is coming here every year for eight years now. So she is here with us all the time. She comes here with her daughter Martusia to be with us. So it is nice that we always have somebody with us.

Do you have any plans for the future?

[Sergiu] We have a lot of plans

[Dorota] And dreams as well

[Sergiu] But we don’t want to try to look too far ahead because we might miss the moment now. We are concentrating on this season now. We have some competitions coming, we will go to China and then later the International Championships in London, then Paris. Our plan is quite simple really: become champions in Professionals.

[Dorota] Another goal for me will be to dance in the Superstars. I watched them so many times, and I would love to be one of them one day.

It took you some time to get where you are. You worked hard for it.

[Dorota] Yes. Some people take hasty decisions to change partnership too soon, thinking that with another person it would be easier, better. They want to take an easy route. But I don’t believe there is such a way.

[Sergiu] We also had a number of difficult moments but we never gave up

[Dorota] We never stopped believing.

[Sergiu] Sometimes it was because of bad results …

[Dorota] Over a period of nine years we can find such moments (laughing).

Where do you get the music from to practise to?

[Dorota] Music comes from Sergiu.

[Sergiu] We get it from YouTube.

How do you keep in touch with friends?

[Sergiu] We use Facebook. Facebook is the easiest way

[Dorota] We also use Skype to talk to people.

How do you keep in touch with what is happening in dance world?

[Dorota] We use of course. I am not kidding!

[Sergiu] If we want to check anything in dancing this is the first site we check. I find it incredible that you have all the results for everybody from all the countries around the world. I always wonder how it is possible.

It takes a lot of time, believe me, right software and a team of people.

[Sergiu] Especially, I like the fact that you can find all the results and other information per couple. You just click on their names and you have the results, photos, when they started dancing together, everything you want to know about them.

[Dorota] You can see their progress and development throughout the years, compare their results from the past as well.

Do you find our rating useful?

[Sergiu] My parents do

[Dorota] We rarely look at the ratings but they call us to tell us what place we are on (laughing). They are checking it for us.

So your parents are interested in dancing?

[Sergiu] Yes

[Dorota] Sergiu’s parents were a dancing couple so yes, they are. My parents were not dancing but my mother always dreamt about it. Dancing is important in her life but she did not have a chance to do it. She comes from a small town and there was no possibility for her to take it up. When I was very small she brought me to see some competition and apparently I was in love with the music and the dresses. That was my thing (laughing). So my starting dancing is thanks to her, definitely.

What other websites do you visit?

[Dorota] Wizzair (laughing). One of the most often visited sites by us. Flip-Zone fashion site I use all the time. And for Sergiu is probably cars. If he has free time he checks cars. We also visit

Sergiu, do you like sport cars?

[Sergiu] I think there must be a balance between elegance, class and performance. I believe the same is true for our dancing. I like us to look regal, classy, distinguished.

Do you design your dresses or is it Vesa designing them?

[Dorota] I have ideas but I always check with him. He is very gifted, he can take my design and improve it. Make it look better. Sometimes I have an idea but it is hard to do it, but he is always able to come up with the ways to make it work.

[Sergiu] When Dorota meets with Vesa they combine their ideas, their talents and creativity and it makes it a very good combination.

[Dorota] We have similar tastes and ideas about fashion.

Do you think it is better to have many teachers or one main coach?

[Dorota] Through all the years, at different times, we had different teachers but we were always lucky to have the best ones. We have few main teachers who work with us on different aspects of dancing. We find this very helpful for the overall development of our couple.

[Sergiu] We like to take the full responsibility for our overall look and results and we like to make the decisions. So it feels we are our own main teachers.

So both, the failures and successes, are your own?

[Dorota] Yes. We learned it through the years. Of course, when we were younger we often had many excuses but it was a long time ago. After a bad day, or bad results, we always sit together and try to talk through it analysing what was bad, why was it like this and what we can do better next time. This conversation is something we strongly believe is essential for our development and improvement.

[Sergiu] Our teachers teach us to be responsible for ourselves

[Dorota] We know that there is always a reason for it, and it is in us. It is nobody else’s fault but ours. Also, if there is a good result is also our own making (laughing).

You have mentioned earlier that you have struggled with the height difference?

[Dorota] There is this beautiful look Sergiu is very fond of. Taller man, smaller lady and this is what we are. It was difficult for us in the beginning but now we see it as our advantage.

[Sergiu] It is the classic look of a Ballroom couple. Tall, light, sensual.

[Dorota] The quality of movement is one of our strengths. We always worked hard to achieve it. Perhaps we were able to achieve it because of all the difficulties we had to overcome in the beginning due to our height difference. Technique was very important. So by having to work on it together we managed to improve our technique as well.

[Sergiu] When I dance Ballroom I feel elegant, regal, and classy. I believe one of our strongest points is that we are bringing regal look onto the floor. Even in Tango you can be both passionate and classy in that sense.

What is your favourite dance?

[Sergiu] I love all of them but my favourite is Foxtrot.

[Dorota] It depends on my mood. I am split between three dances: sometimes it is Tango, sometimes Waltz and sometimes Foxtrot. But I think Foxtrot is OUR best dance.

What is your favourite Latin dance?

[Dorota] It depends who I watch. I love to dance Rumba now, but in the past I liked Samba the most. I must say that to dance Samba well you need some parts of your muscles working which I don’t have (laughing). I know I couldn’t do it. So I wouldn’t even try Samba now, because when I dance I want to dance well. But we were dancing Latin before. Sergiu was a 10 Dance World vice-champion in the past.

[Sergiu] And Dorota was a Polish champion in 10 Dances. And I personally like Samba (laughing).

What would you change in the dance world?

[Dorota] I would like to unite all the dancers and teachers to have one big goal and all go the same direction. I don’t think the dance world is too big to have one single direction. We could all work together.

[Sergiu] I think there are so many things to improve in Ballroom dancing and we could do it together.

[Dorota] It would be nice to make it more accessible for more people and more popular. Of course, the issue might be with the times – the music is from the different era, modern style is so much different.

You can use more modern music to make it more appealing to the people now

[Dorota] Yes, but it will not be the same.

[Sergiu] Stronger sound gives you a different feeling. The style of music affects your dancing, it is not just about the rhythm. For instance, many couples who do not have a chance to dance to the Empress Orchestra and, instead, dance to the modern, electronic sounds interpret the music differently. That music awakes different feelings so they will dance in the different way.

How would you make our dancing style more popular?

[Dorota] Some things would have to change, like competitions. Here in Blackpool it is fantastic, but take some Polish ones where the whole audience is made entirely of parents. From the morning to the evening you hear the same music, it keeps repeating. It is hard even for us to sit there all day. So if the competition lasted, say, 2 hours and it was the best couples only having gone through some qualifier rounds earlier when people do not have to come and watch. If it was made like a spectacle, like a theatre ... So a good entertaining programme would help to draw more people in.

Do you think there should be more showdance programme figures allowed in Ballroom to make it more interesting?

[Dorota] I think it is great that we have different styles of dancing like in Exhibitions there are lifts and so on. Having the variety of styles makes it interesting.

[Sergiu] Let’s keep the variety. We like the classic style.

What about introducing more variety to Viennese Waltz?

[Dorota] Let me be honest. There are many couples who are yet to master the only seven figures which are there now.

[Sergiu] These seven figures are there for a very long time but people still struggle with them.

[Dorota] So why to introduce more? Just to make it easier? Or to make the Viennese Waltz look like one of the other dances? I cannot see a point. If there is a really good couple who can dance the seven figures perfectly and they decide they want to add something new, I don’t have a problem with that.

[Sergiu] I think it is easier to compare couples to each other, and fairer, when they dance the same few figures.

[Dorota] It is a very good dance for judging I think. There is a clear definition, and there is no doubt because the technique stands out. And I think it should stay like this. It is different, it is simple in terms of content, and you can perfect your technique. Its beauty is in its simplicity.

Do you think that the position of a teacher and a judge should be separated?

[Dorota] It would be hard to achieve. How would you do it? Is it even possible? I think everybody would like to be taught by the best teachers but also would like to be judged by the same best people. The best teachers are working with the best dancers anyway so, say, all the finalists had lessons with the same people. So there cannot be any question of favouring one couple over another solely for that reason. It cannot be a question of who I teach because I teach them all.

[Sergiu] Personally I trust the judges’ decisions 100%. It doesn’t matter if they teach us or not

[Dorota] Yes, if you trust the judge’s integrity you know it is all up to you.

[Sergiu] It may not be a perfect system, but I think it is best overall.

Do you think that dancing should become an Olympic sport?

[Dorota] Actually I don’t. I will tell you why: it is so special, so different, so much about expressing your feelings that I could not even think about it as a sport. I can see it could be helpful for the couples as there are ways of getting financial help for the talented sportsmen but I am not sure it is that important. It think there are ways of succeeding without all of this if you are determined enough. Neither of us comes from the rich family and we managed to get where we are.

[Sergiu] We don’t really belong to the Olympic Games. The ladies are wearing all these beautiful evening gowns, high heels, the men are dressed in the evening suits or tails. Is this a sport? In many countries where dancing is not really popular people are confused what Ballroom dancing is. Is it a sport, is it an art? We have to be careful of what we want to promote. It should be a clear message, one or the other.

What do you do when you are not dancing?

[Dorota] I like reading

Electronic books?

[Dorota] No, still the traditional books. We also spend a lot of time planning and organising our trips to various competitions. I would like to spend more time my family as well. I don’t have much chance as dancing takes most of our time really.

[Sergiu] When we have a moment we try to rest. We enjoy going out, we like to go to the town, to the cinema to see a movie. Just to get out a little.

[Dorota] We try to find time for learning as well.

[Sergiu] We like to go to the various personal development seminars or workshops.

[Dorota] We find that very helpful, not just for dancing but for real life as well. We like to improve things about us, not just in dancing, but in some other areas as well.

Do you have friends outside of dancing?

[Dorota] Just few friends, but very good ones.

[Sergiu] I still have some from my school days back in Moldova and Romania. But in Poland, most of my friends are dancers.

[Dorota] We move a lot, and most people we meet are dancers. Sometimes it is hard for these friendships to survive. For instance, dancing for so many years I had sometimes better results, sometimes worse. Some people cannot cope with that. Some are very competitive and dealing with this is not easy. I wish we all could put these things behind us but we are all working so hard on trying to succeed that it is sometimes all that seems to matter.

How would you describe each of the dances in few words?

[Sergiu] Waltz is elegance

[Dorota] I wanted to say swing …

[Sergiu] Foxtrot is very fluid, Tango is fire

[Dorota] … or a conversation

That is unusual for the Tango! Do you prefer to dance on a big floor like in Blackpool or smaller like in the Royal Albert Hall?

[Dorota] We actually like small floors. Our studio has a small one.

[Sergiu] Actually, the Royal Albert Hall is one of these special places and competitions you cannot compare to anything else. It comes with the shape and size, and this is part of it. You cannot separate it out. It is the whole package.

What is your favourite competition and why?

[Dorota] The Royal Albert Hall because of the place. It may not be the best for dancing actually, but the history, the location and the beauty of it makes it so special.

[Sergiu] For me it is the Blackpool Dance Festival. It is all about the energy which is inside there. The audience in Blackpool is fantastic. The best.

[Dorota] And the UK Open is great as well. It is newer than the others, and maybe that’s what makes it special.

Thank you very much!

All photos taken in Blackpool by Peter Suba