Interview with Timo Kulczak and Motshegetsi Mabuse

Interview with Timo Kulczak and Motshegetsi Mabuse

Posted on Thursday, 23 Sep 2004, 15:00 by Admin
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Timo Kulczak and Motshegetsi Mabuse

from Germany

We met Timo and his wife (and dance partner) Motshegetsi in Blackpool in May 2004, the day before they were due to take part in the Amateur Latin competition. We like them very much, we saw them first when they competed in the Imperial competition in Frimley Green earlier in May and liked their style and attitude! Although they are not champions yet, we believe they will be one day.

Who are they?

Motshegetsi Mabuse  (from South Africa, now lives in Germany) started dancing about ten years ago, and it was because of her mother. They were on holiday, and her Mum saw some dancing children competing, and she said, "I want my daughters to do that!". She opened a club where they lived in South Africa, she invited all the kids, she invited all the teachers from around the area that had anything to do with any type of dancing, and they started dancing there.
Timo Kulczak (from Germany) started at the age of twelve or thirteen because of an advertisement in a newspaper that he saw. Then he said to his Mum and Dad: "That's what I want to do". They didn't mind, and they took him there. Timo first did some contemporary jazz stuff, but after about half-a-year he saw a Latin class practicing next door, and decided that that was what he wanted to do.

Amateur Latin dancers. Represent Germany - see their results page

How did they get together?

Timo: Actually it happened here, in Blackpool (1999). We had neighbouring rooms in the same hotel, and Ton Greten from the Netherlands was outside making a lot of noise [laughs], so I looked out of my window in order to see what was going on, and Motsi did the same. We saw each other in each other windows, so we started talking for about 3 hours, until other people in the hotel started complaining that we should shut up. It was more of a boy meets girl type thing, and I liked her, but nothing happened in the end [laughs]. We exchanged telephone numbers."

Motshegetsi: I flew home, and before I had even arrived he had already called!"

Timo: So for about half-a-year we talked on the phone every day - most of the time I called three times a day [laughs], and then she invited me to visit South Africa, but it was December of the Millenium, and I couldn't get a plane ticket, so I said "Motshegetsi, you try to get a ticket to Germany"
Motshegetsi: And I missed my flight!!

Timo: Oh yes. She told me that she'd arrive, let's say, on 18th December at 10 o'clock. So, I was nervous and waiting there at 1 0 o'clock thinking, "She's coming, she's coming" and then she called me and said, "I'm not coming, I missed my flight." At first I thought - no, she's lying, she doesn't want to meet me after all, it's over - but it was true and she came the next day. We both had dancing partners then. First we actually fell in love, and I had arranged to go on a holiday together, and on the holiday we started to dance socially. We liked it, and...

Motshegetsi: ...and I was going to stop dancing anyway, so I said, "before I stop dancing, I'll dance with Timo." I wasn't happy with my old partner, and I wanted to stop and concentrate on my studies.

Timo: Then back home, we met one of the officials, who lived right next to me, and we spoke to him. He said to us, "Yes, you have to do it! Motsi, fly back home, get your stuff together and come back here in a week, and in two weeks you can dance the regional championships"

Motshegetsi : I hadn't spoken to my parents or anything, it was just "you're back in a week!" And that's how it started.

Opinions, views....

What do you think about the popularity of dancing?

Timo: That's a good question [pause]
Motshegetsi: It depends where you live actually, because in South Africa it is the third most popular sport, but when you come to other countries, people have other stuff to do, and it costs a lot of money, so people are less interested. But everyone loves to dance.

Do you think the popularity of dancing is declining, growing, or staying the same?

Timo: We have a club at home, and there the number of people is growing, because when they see that there is that world it works brilliantly, so we don't have any problem with getting children to dance. But in general, I think there is a problem in getting young people to dance 
Motshegetsi: When they get to a certain age, they stop because they have other interests, especially when they start competing internationally, and it's not the same thing. If we look in our club, we don't have many German kids. We've got Russians, Italians, everyone but Germans [laughs].
Timo: Nevertheless, dancing has a big history. When we go to an official ball, everyone knows how to dance
Motshegetsi : Because of social dancing. It's very popular.

How does your personal relationship relate to dancing?

Timo: We are together, we are married. I think it helps, mainly because we now have the same goals in our lives, and we fit together in both our private and our dancing lives, so I think it's a big advantage for us. Also because we live together, and it makes the logistics of everything much easier. We live and work together, and it was much more difficult with previous partners
Motshegetsi: I agree, as always [laughs]
Timo: We could also dance for South Africa, but we started to dance for Germany, and they have supported and helped us, they have good organisation. In South Africa, if you take part in the world championships, you have to organise it by yourself.
Motshegetsi: All the tickets and everything. Everyone has to pay for themselves.

What is in your opinion the best country to dance in?

Timo: Well, in Germany it is actually fine, and I have not danced for any other country, so I can't say, but the system in German is very good, so we have never had interest in dancing for any other country.
Motshegetsi: I fully agree!

What country do you like to dance in? Which do you think has the best competitions?

Timo: We actually appreciate the competitions here in England, because the atmosphere mostly is very nice.
Motshegetsi: One of my favourite competitions was in Assen, in Holland [Dutch Open - Ed.].
Timo: I like competitions in the Netherlands, because they have a nicer, more relaxed atmosphere. They know how to make the competition fun!

What would you like to do if you were not dancing?

Timo: That's a difficult question [long pause ]
Motshegetsi: I would be so rich [laughs] I'd be a lawyer, probably, sitting with my dad in the office, every day, from 9 in the morning till 10 in the evening. [laughs].
Timo: When she came to Germany, she was studying to become a lawyer.
Motshegetsi: I stopped after two years, and I'd have two years to go, so if I break a leg I'll finish it. But I think that there are different types of lawyer, it's not always boring. Like, if you were writing sport contracts and making a lot of money, it's not so hard. If you write a contract for Michael Jordan or someone like that you get 20% of $20 million [laughs].

But I see that you still prefer dancing?

Motshegetsi: Yes, I prefer to go dancing.
Timo: I started to study to be a teacher for sports and arts, but I couldn't imagine myself as a teacher. I stopped when I started serious dancing. If I didn't dance, I would probably finish that.
Motshegetsi: Well, someone would have to earn the money!! I studied law in South Africa, so I could only practise it in England and in New York.

I can imagine that being a lawyer in New York is not bad...

Motshegetsi: Yes, enough for me and my husband! So I'll be earning money and he will be in Germany! [laughs]


What is your favourite dance?

Both : Rumba
Timo: She's changed now, it was always Samba!
Motshegetsi: Now I like Rumba.

Passion, love, I understand?

Timo: She always said Samba...
Motshegetsi: People change, I changed!

What is your favourite ballroom dance?

Timo: The Waltz
Motshegetsi: The Tango

What is your biggest dream?

Timo: That's easy: became world champion, have a nice studio, be happily married, have two nice children!
Motshegetsi : That's the first time you've talked about children!
Timo: Not now, now I don't want children, but it's a dream for the future.
Motshegetsi: I would like to be happily married, and also world champion [laughs], that's on the second place.

You would like a nice dance studio, but you don't want to be a teacher?

Timo: I don't want to be a school teacher. I like to teach dancing very much!

What is your biggest nightmare?

Motshegetsi: Divorce [laughs] , to be alone, to be desperate and divorced, that's the two worst things for me. I want to stay with Timo, happily married!
Timo: To have a big accident in the family, and to be late for a competition. I get nightmares when Motsi is in a car. She's only got a driving licence since July. But wherever she goes, I have nightmares: "please let her come home safely"
Motshegetsi: I drive so well. I'm a better driver that him!

All men are like that; I'm also afraid when my wife is driving! What are you afraid of? heights? Snakes?

Motshegetsi: Cats!! I'm so scared of cats!
Timo: [long pause] Actually blood is the most horrible thing, I can't stand it. I nearly faint when I see it. Once, I had a wart, and I went to the doctor. Normally you get anaesthesia, but he just came with something like scissors and just cut it off! And he was shouting at me: "How are you going to defend Germany!" [laughs ]

Your favourite food?

Motshegetsi: I like Italian, and I like Greek food, these are my favourite.
Timo: Same for me, Greek and Italian.
Motshegetsi: Don't copy everything I say!

OK, I ask him first. Any food you hate?

Timo: Yes, sometimes, when we go to South Africa, Motshegetsi goes to me, "try this, it's very nice," and I look at it, and think to myself: it's not... interesting. South African food is not my favourite, especially if I don't know what it is.
Motshegetsi: I don't hate any food, I like everything.

What is your favourite pet?

Motshegetsi: Dogs, small puppies
Timo: A parrot, but I don't have a parrot.
Motshegetsi: We should do more interviews, I keep finding out new things about him!
Timo:My aunt had a parrot, and it could say: "Arschloch!" [lit. "***" - Ed.]

What is your favourite hobby, apart from dancing of course?

Motshegetsi: Shopping - I love shopping.
Timo: She's a shopping maniac
Motshegetsi: And I like reading
Timo: I like travelling very much, and theatre, and politics.
Motshegetsi: He has a very healthy mind.

Your nicest memory?

Timo: 29th July, last year, we got married in Denmark. Straight after the ceremony, we went on a ferry to get back to Germany. It was sunny, we had champagne, it was very nice there.

Why did you get married in Denmark?

Timo: We wanted to get married, and we went to the office in Germany, but they didn't encourage us to do it, because they told us to think about it because it's a lot of problems. You need to have this and this and this paper, and then you have to send it from South Africa to Germany, then we need to prove it at another place, then they need to send it back to South Africa. It was a big bureaucratic mess. Our friend advised us that it would be much easier in Denmark, so we chose the easier solution. We're actually happy now that we did that, because they did it very nicely there, nicer than in Germany. In Germany we've seen some weddings, and they're very fast.


What is your partner's biggest virtue and biggest flaw?

Timo: The worst thing I can say immediately is the mornings, when she wakes up. You can't speak to her, to get her out of bed is the worst thing you can think of. The best thing is that she can make me happy very easily, and she is very charming. Just the way she is. Just not in the morning.
Motshegetsi: He doesn't give me money for shoes! [laughs] The thing I hate the most, but also the thing I like the most about him is that he thinks about things, takes a lot of time to think, so he doesn't do it so spontaneously like I do. But I also hate that the most, because what would take me two seconds takes him two hours!

What is your biggest virtue and biggest flaw?

Timo: [long pause ] I'm an optimist. But I quickly loose balance, if there's something wrong I can get very nervous. If something doesn't work the way I planned it, then I quickly get impatient.
Motshegetsi: I'm very impatient [long pause]. I always try to create a good atmosphere with the people around me.


What was your biggest argument about?

Timo: Normally it's shopping, because if you go to a place like Blackpool, she will stop at every shop. She can't stay outside

Do you often fight?

Timo: When we go shopping, yes, otherwise it's OK. If we fight, we call Olga - she's very patient with us - and she's the judge.


What is most important for you in friendship?

Motshegetsi : Trust, I think it's trust
Timo : Honesty

Are your best friends dancers as well?

Motshegetsi: My best friend is my dance partner [laughs ]. Apart from Timo, my other best friend was a dancer, but isn't any more.
Timo: Mostly. Most of our friends are dancers.

Do you think the competitive dancing interferes with your friendship?

Timo: Until now it hasn't done. It was always OK, but mostly we weren't in a situation where we were really fighting for a place. But I don't think so.

Have you got time for friends and activities other than dancing?

Timo: Not really!
Motshegetsi: Not much, not much.

How much time do you spend on dancing?

Timo: Well, since we live together, we indirectly spend all of our time on dancing. When we are home, Motshegetsi watches her dance videos, or makes some dress designs. But what we like to do is take a few days off, after a big competition, and go somewhere and have a few free days, shopping [laughs ].

Fun, holidays, relaxation....

What do you like to do for fun?

Motshegetsi: Going to the movies with my friends if I can, and going to the disco, once a year [laughs], but it's nice. Spending time with friends.
Timo: I like to drive around, go to the sea or swimming

What is your favourite book or film?

Timo : "Les Miserables", by Victor Hugo
Motshegetsi: "Much Ado about Nothing", a film based on Shakespeare's play. We studied it in school, and then I saw a film about it.

Could you describe your dream holidays?

Motshegetsi: My dream holiday... bed, movies and the beach. That's it
Timo: I think you forgot something important...
Motshegetsi: And shopping, yeah!
Timo: Well, I don't have the same opinion as Motsi. I like to do that kind of stuff for two days, but then I get bored, and I'd want to go around and see places. We went once on a cruise - that was beautiful, because you were in a different place every day, and you could do different things. I like beautiful hotels, but unfortunately they are too expensive.
Motshegetsi : We went to a hotel in South Africa, in Sun City, and it was a very nice hotel. We stayed in one of the most luxurious in the world when we were in Germany.

Have you got time for holidays?

Timo: Like I said before, we don't have time to have two or three weeks off, but we try to take a few days off.
Motshegetsi: When we visit my parents in South Africa we also try - it's quite difficult to practice when it's 40 degrees outside, so we try to practice in the morning, and because we have nothing to do in South Africa, we go around to see all the places.
Timo : So a real holiday, not really; a few days, yes. The problem is that after we have been away for three or four days, then we want to practice again!

You compete abroad a lot – do you also try to make a holiday out of it?

Both : Normally, no

Are you happy to try foreign, exotic food?

Both: Yes!

Anything in particular that you remember as being strange? Monkey brains, or something of the sort?

Timo: Well in South Africa, everything is strange - from crocodile to ostrich, everything. Everything is strange to me. I try it, and I like it mostly, but I'd really prefer to know what I eat, and sometimes it doesn't look so delicious.
Motshegetsi: I haven't tried anything that was really strange. I tried snails once, but I didn't like them. Coming from South Africa, everything seems normal! But I wouldn't eat monkey, anything to do with monkeys - or horses
Timo: But salami's made from horses!
Motshegetsi: Yes salami, I know, I don't like it!

Salami's not made from horses, it's made from donkeys...?

Motshegetsi: That's the same for me. I asked once what salami was, and Timo said "horse", and ever since then I can't touch it.


I know you use the internet, because that's how we came in contact with you. First of all, what web sites do you use most often?

Motshegetsi : your site and - the German federation site.
Timo: We don't really visit the IDSF page either, because we can get all that information from

I wish you all the best tomorrow. What are your plans or hopes for tomorrow?

Timo: That's a good question
Motshegetsi: It's always such pressure when you dance in Blackpool, and it would be nice to just enjoy a competition, and to try to dance the best you can. Because if we say now that we want to get a certain place, then even thinking about it. So we don't want to set ourselves targets.

Plans for the future?

Timo: To fulfil our dreams that we mentioned before, do everything so that our dreams will come true.

Thank you very much and good luck for the future!

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