We met these two very nice people Alexandr Voskalchuk and Veronika Egorova the day after they won the Professional Rising Star Ballroom competition at the UK Open 2011 which took place in January, in Bournemouth (England). Sasha did not speak good English so Veronika translated for him. They represent Russia. In March they were 4th at the Russian Professional Standard championships. See their results.
It’s very important, to trust the teachers. And I can say that I can give advice that it’s very important to enjoy what you do.
Congratulations! Fantastic results for you and beautiful dancing yesterday. Good luck today!
[Veronika and Sasha]: Thank you
How did you first start dancing?
[Veronika]: I started dancing at 6 years old, in my city in Russia in Saint Petersburg, then I changed some partners and moved to Moscow to study and to continue dancing with a good partner. And we started dancing with Sasha in September 2010.
Not a very long time...
So you started dancing at 6 years of age and what age were you when you started competing? Did you dance junior, juvenile?
[Veronika]: Yes, I did. The same age I started competing.
How did you two meet?
[Veronika]: We knew each other for about three years. We were just friends, but one moment [laughter] we understood we want to dance together.
I guess not only dance together. Are you a couple in private life?
[Veronika] He started to dance when he was 8 years old. It was in Moscow and he had a lot of different partners. He has been dancing for a long time but only now he understood that I am his real partner! [laughter]
Sasha, did you start to dance because you wanted to dance or did your mother or father say: "You must dance"?
[Sasha] Both. I wanted to dance and my parents wanted me to dance.
When you started to dance together did you have the same coaches, or were you with different coaches?
[Veronika] We had completely different coaches. I have been dancing in IDSF and Sasha has been dancing in WDC for 5 years so we had different coaches and did not compete against each other for these years.
So you decided to go professional?
[Veronika] We turned to professional together and it was mine and Sasha’s first professional competition. It was our first experience in professional.
Quite a good start. Only couple months later you won the UK Rising Stars. That’s a good start, a very good start
[Veronika] Thank you
Do you prefer to have one coach and perhaps some additional lessons with someone else, or do you prefer to have many coached and get the knowledge from different sources?
[Veronika] We did not make a decision yet. At the moment we are trying different coaches and searching for a coach. We will decide maybe later.
So you want to find one coach which would be a main one?
[Veronika] We don’t know yet. Maybe one, maybe several, we are in searching at the moment.
Where do you like to compete?
[Sasha] Of course, after this result, in England!
[Veronika] England yes, it’s very good, but it’s my first competition at the UK. For Sasha it’s not the first.
You mean the first competition in England or the first UK Open?
[Veronika] The first UK Open. Blackpool 8 years ago was the first one. Sasha told me that English competitions were always very important for him. In 1998 he decided to stop dancing, not to continue dancing. He came to Blackpool (Blackpool Junior Festival) and was in the final and that competition made him think that he must continue to dance.
You are now 22-23 years old?
[Veronika] I am 23 and Sasha is 26.
Still very young! Do you do a lot of teaching or do you concentrate more on the dance?
[Veronika] We concentrate on dancing. We have some students, but not a lot. We don’t have time now for this because we try to make a good start. Sasha says that later we want to open our own dancing club, studo and we will judge of course. But now try to concentrate on our dancing and want to develop our dancing more.
We wanted to ask Sasha what he can tell us about you, Veronika.
[Veronika] He says, when we started to dance together he understood that I helped him to make right decisions about his dancing, his life.
And what can you say about your partner, Veronika?
[Veronika] Of course I’m happy that I’m dancing with Sasha and I can say that this is my first partner who I feel that we dance on the same level with and that we understand dancing in in the same way. That is why it’s very easy for me to practise with Sasha and discuss some things. This is the first partner in my life which I feel like this.
Sasha, any faults in Vernika you can tell us about?
Sasha, I know you are afraid to say the truth!! [laughter]. Veronika, what are his faults then?
He’s also wonderful...[laughter]...no faults! We have to wait a year or two and then ask [laughter]. Do you have a life away from dancing?
[Veronika] Yes, of course. You mean what we are doing in our spare time? We teach... we like to walk together in the countryside and parks. We study English... Actually, we do not have a lot of spare time! But we try to have a rest after practice and competitions. That's all.
Is there anything which you would like to do if you couldn’t dance?
[Veronika] We didn’t think about this because now we are so excited about our new partnership, our results, that we don’t think about this.
Do you have friends outside dancing?
[Veronika] Err... Sasha doesn’t have, I have one friend, it’s from my childhood, but unfortunately we live in different cities. But other friends are from dancing.
And is there a wedding coming up, or you haven’t thought about that yet?
[Veronika and Sasha] [laughter] Not yet!
[Veronika] ...but we want to win Blackpool and then....
So long as you’re not saying: "Until we win Blackpool"! [laughter] Do you do any sort of activity to get the physical reserves for dancing?
[Veronika] Yes we do yoga every week and sometimes just exercises, physical exercises, that’s all.
Do you have your own club now
[Veronika] We don’t have our own club. But we were thinking about this and we will open it soon, maybe in September.
After winning Blackpool...
[Sasha] Yes [laughter]
Will it be difficult for you to establish a club?
[Veronika] It took a lot of time to find a good place, to find a good dancing hall. Because in Moscow it’s quite expensive to rent a dancing hall. This is the only problem, I think.
And do you eat anything that you want to eat or are you careful about all that?
[Veronika] We try to eat properly because we do a lot of dancing, physical activity. We don’t have time to eat and it’s a problem.
So your plans for the near future are ...? And what about in 10 years time?
[Veronika] We will go to Japan to dance Asian Tour and then various competitions in Russia which are important for us. We have plans till summer... Longer term... I don't know... win Blackpool of course [laughter]
... to win the championship of Russia. To open our dancing studio, to have students, good students.
[Sasha] To buy big house!
Could we see you in the show dance championship?
[Veronika] Yes, but maybe next year.
When you came to Bournemouth, did you think that you could win the Rising Star?
[Veronika] No, we did not think that. We hoped for the final of course. But we wanted to feel we danced well.
In the current dancing or in the history of dancing, is there any couple you would like to follow, you’d like to dance like?
[Veronika] Yes, we like the style of Luca and Lorraine Baricchi, this is the couple we would like to follow.
Is there any dance that is your favourite or strongest?
[Veronika] For me, it changes. Whichever we practised most and whichever feels best at the time.
Have you competed yet in one of the competitions where there is the basic, the standard dance in each round?
[Veronika and Sasha] No...
The World Dance Council passed that rule and the World Championship last year was the first one where one round you must dance only basic Waltz and the next round only basic Tango
[Veronika and Sasha] No, we have not dance such competition yet. We will think of that after our Russian Championships!
Which side of dancing is the more important for you: artistic or competitive?
[Veronika] Sasha tells me that you should not separate these things. We should compete because we take part in competitions, but always remember we create something. So performance is always very important. All sides of dancing are important to us, we can’t separate.
Do you like to play a part, portray something on the floor?
[Veronika] It is hard for me. I don't think we are such a great couple yet. We hope to develop our own unique style.
Do you have sponsors?
[Veronika] No, we don’t have sponsors. Sasha earns money, my parents help. Now, as professionals, I hope we will be able to support ourselves and I will be able not to relay on my parents.
Are you planning to travel more than now, perhaps for lessons to England or somewhere else?
[Veronika] Yes, we have plans for some lessons in England. But I think one competition in month is enough for us. We do not plan to travel that much. If you are competing, competing, competing you never have chance to work and develop your own dancing, I think. I think, we’ll have a break in summer. Some holidays, some rest and some more time for…to practise.
If you go for a competition abroad, you mentioned Tokyo for example, do you try to also extend the stay and to do some holidays, some sightseeing?
[Veronika] Yes, we try to do that when we can. It depends on which country we visit, for example Tokyo, I have been to Tokyo once and Sasha have never been there, that’s why we’ll make one day to see the city. For example, after this competition also we have one day in London to visit my sister.
What advice do you give to young people about dancing?
[Veronika] To practise more and to trust their coaches. It’s very important, to trust the teachers. And I can say that I can give advice that it’s very important to enjoy what you do. Because if you don’t want to practise or you don’t want to compete and you are thinking of running through to finish it will be not good dancing, not good result for sure.
Thank you! And good luck tomorrow [Sasha and Veronika got to the quarter final of the Professional Ballroom championships the next day]