The Latin champion has been lighting up the dance world with her spitfire personality and incredible skills since she was young as 18. Now she aspires to improve and contribute to the dance community, teaching classes and workshops. She also created the Attitude Belt to help aspiring dancers with posture issues.
What do you look for when judging a Pro/Am competition?
I’m looking for precision of steps and ease of movement.
What interests me is the well roundedness of the performance. I like to see clean and clear execution of the steps as well as smooth, pleasant energy of the delivery. I like to see strength and enthusiasm in the dance. As much as we all like to put a lot of artistry and our own interpretation into our dancing, what I always recommend to my clients is to stick to readable, elegant movements. If the artistry takes away from the strength and stability it’s not worth it. First a Pro Am dancer needs to look independent and fully in control and than we can expand into more fun, entertaining things.
What does partnership mean to you?
Partnership to me means we are in it together.
It means we have well chosen goals and a common path to accomplish those goals.
We are supporting each other every step along the way and we are each other’s biggest fans. We both take the responsibility of making sure we are moving toward our goals. When one person is not feeling up to par the other person takes over and tries to help. It’s a team – in our case a small one, just 2 people,but a powerful one. A team should always encourage and support each other.
What was your biggest challenge when you first started dancing?
My biggest challenge in the USA was that I did not speak English. Often times I could not understand what I needed to do or I could not express what I wanted to do and what I wanted my partner to do.
Even teaching was very difficult – I will always tell my students do what I do not necessarily what I am telling you.
What considerations goes into turning pro?
The biggest thing for me is evaluating if you truly want to be a dancer – or do you just want to dance a little bit as a hobby.
Are you willing to work hard and make sacrifices to get what you wish for. What I mean by that is being a dancer means dancing is your life. It is want you breath, what you eat, who you become. I tell my friends I wear my dance glasses all the time – I look at the world through those glasses. There is nothing else I would rather do than dance. If you are ready to commit to that – then I believe you will be a great professional. You will be a great competitor as well as great teacher. Your love for dance will help you to be committed not only to your own improvement as a dancer but also to the improvement of your students.
It’s amazing how when you want something very much and are willing to do whatever it takes, things usually align themselves in such a way that even the impossible becomes possible.
The right people will show up in your life and they will guide you to where you need to go.
How did you come up with the Attitude Belt?
One of the most important things to us as a dancers is our posture -but what exactly does it means to have a good posture?
Good posture meant correct alignment of the bones. When the bones are correctly aligned there is efficiency and ease to our movement. I compare it to driving a very well aligned car – it is smooth, easy and fun. It is the same with our bodies. When our bones are where they supposed to be in relationship to each other, our movement is smooth but powerful at the same time, it’s strong and elegant and therefore its very pleasant and enjoyable to look at it.
My attitude belt helps us with the correct alignment of the pelvis and the spine . This contributes to beautiful posture and helps with the ease of the movement as well as great presentation and performance.
It is a very simple, easy to use practice tool that gives you constant feedback on your alignment even when you are busy working on something else.
You are a Latin Champion. Why did you choose to focus on this specific style?
I come from Poland where I started to dance. International style was the only style available. We never knew that American style even existed.
I fell in love with Latin dancing back home in my native country and so when I come to USA I just continued my Latin journey – and I loved it every part of it.
Your favorite dance performance?
My favorite performance was at the Blackpool competition with Donald Johnson when we won our British Latin Rising Star Champion title. That was definitely a night I will remember forever.
It was special from the very beginning. I remember that year we worked so hard not only on our dancing but also on our mental strength. We were ready, we were strong, well rehearsed, confident,and excited – it was just the right mix of everything all together. I was so happy and excited to share with the audience my skills and my love for dance. I was not scared at all – I was nervous of course but in a positive uplifting way – there was no fear – just pure joy. And the fun part of it was I knew good things would happen that night. I had no doubt in my heart.
That night was a fantastic, one of a kind experience. As a dancer we all are working toward that – to be able to be free and competitive at the same time. To enjoy our own skill and to be impressive to others. It is truly unforgettable. You literally feel like walking on clouds.
Who/what inspired you to start dancing?
I started to dance when I was in grammar school in Poland. I was always a very active, wanting to move child. I saw an advertisement for Ballroom dancing and thought that could be fun. I asked my parents to take me to a class – they gladly said yes. So after church on Sunday they would drop me of for an hour to dance and that was it. My competitive side kicked in and I was hooked for good.
What would you like to tell dance students that you wish you knew when you started dancing?
I would like them to remember that the judges are not against them but rooting for them.
We are always looking to find good things not your mistakes. Do not be scared of us but share with us your skill and your love for dance. Unfortunately our job is to place all the dancers in the order we think it fits but that does not mean we do not like what you do.