Interview: Barbara

After the addition of Kizomba last year, this year we have a new style again: Hiphop! With a new style comes a new teacher, and for Hiphop this is Barbara Fischer.

Barbara is 24 years old and has been teaching at Erasmus Sport for 5 years already. Besides these lessons she is a Physical Education teacher in higher education. She finished the HALO 4 years ago and after this she completed the dance study for all-round dance teacher. After her studies she did not want to choose for PE teacher or dance teacher, and now she is combining her passion and her work!

How did you first start at ES?

At the HALO I had a teacher who also worked at the sports centre, and she asked me to take care of the lessons here. I enjoyed this part time job so much that I never left!

Are you ever not doing anything?

Almost never. Besides my job at school and the classes here I also teach Aerobics/Zumba on Thursdays in Sgravenzande. I also give clinics and workshops sometimes and I have organised a dance camp a couple of times. There are only a few nights where I don’t have any plans.

What will be different now the lessons are at EDS?

A lot more involvement for sure. I think I have the target audience now. People with passion and love for dance. Through ES people came to get fit and to have a workout, but of course it is specialized in dancing. It’s to get better in dance, and you have to be prepared to work for it. This is also much more convenient with teaching choreography. Last year you could join whenever you wanted, so there were people coming halfway through a choreo or they just left.

It also offers more possibilities because there is a team behind it. People will be more excited than at ES. And of course I have more members now.

What are you looking forward to this year?

What I’m looking forward to make a hiphop crew with enthusiasm and love for the dance from a mixed group of people who don’t know each other and are in different levels. I’m also looking forward to raising the level, to make them feel they are getting better and having fun. They have to learn a lot, but it’s an hour of relaxation, it has to stay fun. It will also be nice to mix with the other dance styles and to work together.

What inspired you to start Hiphop dancing?

I started once with jazz ballet in Nieuwerkerk. I soon discovered it did not challenge me anymore. A friend of my father said she worked at a large dance school and let me try out a few lessons jazz ballet. The room next door there were boys and girls doing a Hiphop lesson. The teacher was the national champion Hiphop, and I saw the first performance and I decided that I wanted to do that. At Hiphop you keep your shoulders low, very different from jazz where you have to stand up tall. She inspired me, but the music definitely helped.

Do you dance other styles besides Hiphop?

I used to, but I don’t have the time anymore. I danced Jazz, Classical, Hiphop, Tapdance, Modern and Showdance. I was best in Hiphop, and I enjoyed it the most. I started my own dancing crew when I was 14 years old. I do still want to improve my Salsa!

What do you like most about Hiphop?

That it’s not just one thing. Hiphop is really a life style, not just a dance. It came here from the Bronx in the ’90s. Hiphop contains music, a style of cloting, dancing, rap, graffiti. It doesn’t stand or fall with knowing a few steps. Feelings, music, clothing and attitude makes Hiphop what it is. Stepwise you can’t think crazy enough and it’s Hiphop already. Low on the floor, groovy, tight with accents. Sometimes Lyrical Hiphop where you really listen to the lyrics and dance on that, or Hiphop fast on a pop song with a lot of beats where you dance to the beat. That is what makes it challenging for me as a teacher, I will do Hiphop fast for a month and then the next month I’ll do Lyrical or I choose old school with popping. Sometimes when I’m in the car I listen to music and I’m like “this is it” and I go dancing to it at home, improvising and making the choreo. What’s important to me is that it’s about feelings. The beginners will get a lot of basic steps, mostly on the full/half counts. Lyrical is more “and one, and two” and at advanced I won’t be teaching the counts because they are supposed to know that already.

Which Hiphop style do you like the most?

Lyrical, because you don’t dance on the beat anymore but it’s about telling a story. Sometimes a move is on a certain word. You have to listen very carefully and feel the music instead of counting. That’s a bit more advanced always, to feel and listen to the music a bit more. That’s something I can put my creativity in.

What are your top 3 Hiphop tracks?

Jay Z – Niggas in Paris. The beat is so loud, you can lose yourself in it.

Michael Jackson – Smooth Criminal. He is THE example in dance, the founder. The beat is very touching and you can dance very tight to it. It gives an old school feeling, I can’t stand still to it.

Drake & Rihanna – One Dance. It’s about dancing, and an upbeat song. It’s a groovy song, really relaxed. And very well known, when you hear it everyone will dance to it.

How can you best describe your Hiphop style?

A combination between smooth, hard movements (isolations) combination with groovy relaxed own style movements. It’s really important to me when someone is dancing groovy it’s his or her own style. My style is not the most important thing. You have to pour your own flavour over your dance. Mimicking a step is something anyone can do, real dancing is something else. You have to create your own style. That is typical about my lessons, I encourage my students to find and develop their own style. 

Interview: Bryan and Sophie

We start this year with a couple of new teachers, and to get to know them better I had the opportunity to interview every one of them. First up are the new Ballroom teacher Bryan van den Boomgaard and his assistant Sophie den Hartog.

Bryan is 23 years old and originally comes from Zwijndrecht, but he recently moved to a house in Rotterdam where two other (old) EDS members live! About 10 years ago he started dancing, among which Ballroom&Latin, Salsa, Rock&Roll and the Charleston. This med student is starting his 6th year at EDS!

Sophie turned 16 this November, and she started Ballroom dancing when she was only 9. She has been competition dancing for 5 years already. She also took hiphop classes.

The first questions are to Bryan, since he has a couple of years experience at EDS.

How did you first come to EDS?

It happened at the Eurekaweek. My guide (an old member) took me to a stand with dancing people. I walked into Nina (chairman of the 22nd board), and she became my dancing partner that year. They were all very excited at the stand, so I came to check the lessons out. The lessons were still in the L-hall then.

What do you enjoy most about student tournaments?

That’s quite a difficult question to answer, but you can compare it well to normal tournaments. Student tournaments are more about having a good time, but of course also about prestation. It’s all about your team, not just about yourself. It has a nice atmosphere, and there is always a theme. They are real parties with dressing up and acts. Its a circus, so much fun. Last year I had the privilege to organise the NTDS in Rotterdam together with 4 other members. That was a way to see the tournament from another side and that is great. It’s amazing to see people enjoying something you put together. The tournaments really are events that strenghtens the bond between sister associations.

What do you want to teach your students?

As a teacher now I want to pass my enthusiasm on to my students like I was used to when I took lessons myself. For Bronze the most important thing is to really teach the dance because everything is new, for Silver it’s about expanding (making the dance repertoire bigger) and for Gold it is making the step towards the competition dancing level.

I want to teach people certain techniques and feelings with every dance so you can see people enjoy the lessons.

I also want to make sure the students can improve during the dancing, not just practice steps. Steps are not the most important thing, it is the growing in the dances.

What is your vision for EDS?

Salsa and Kizomba are booming right now, I would love for that to also happen for Ballroom. Ballroom dancing varies on multiple fronts. There is always something you like, its challenging in many ways. I hope Ballroom dancing will also get positive attention this year, that i twill grow the way Salsa has been growing the last few years. I really hope I get to see that as a teacher.

What has to change about EDS to improve?

That is a difficult thing to estimate because I have experienced EDS in multiple ways. I was a member, in my second year I was the chairman, I have been in committees and now I am a teacher. I see on different places thing where I had trouble with myself and problems with others which I found difficult myself. I am a critical person, and there are some improvements possible.

From what I have heard the ratio on dance evenings is getting out of proportion. It was getting less and less attention from some groups. Then it slowly dies, and you don’t want to make much effort because it won’t get many people. That’s a vicious circle, and I think that should change.

I would also want a different goal for workshops. It’s a good thing for EDS to not just broaden the dance repertoire from their members, but to also deepen them. Irish Dance is a lot of fun for everyone, but I would love for my students (like I can call them right now) to get the chance to get deeper into a dance or get a technique workshop. To make the members grow significantly. Of course I want that the most for Ballroom, but it could definitely work for the other styles too.

What is your favourite dance style?

For me it depends a lot on who I’m dancing with. If I look at Ballroom dancing I enjoy the Slow Waltz and the Slow Foxtrot the most. The feeling of the flowing movement and the smooth movement of your body. Really living in the music. With other people a Tango is a lot of fun, spicy, tense and hard. Then that is really nice even though that is not necessarily my favourite dance.

In the Latin the Jive fits me best. It’s expressive, and acting crazy (but controlled). The Rumba is nice dancing too. It’s less extravert, more as a couple. That’s a dance you can really lose yourself in.

If I had to choose one of each it would be the Jive and the Slow Foxtrot.

How did you meet Sophie?

Sophie dances in Ridderkerk. I went there to train a couple of times and then we met through the competitions. Then you start bullshitting together and get to know each other better. When I had to choose an assistant who thinks the same way as I do a mutual friend suggested I would ask Sophie.

On with the questions for Sophie.

What is your vision for next year?

I think it will be a very interesting year where everyone is gaining a lot of experience. I hope to get more social experiences from this. To teach people the steps makes me repeat my own knowledge which makes me understand the movements even more and improve myself!

What is your favourite dance style?

I prefer Latin as a style over Ballroom because of the fun music and the fact that it’s a bit more loose and you can dance it more often at parties. Within Latin I would choose for the Jive or Samba as my favourite dance.

For Ballroom my favourite would be the Tango, because you have powerful movements with a surprising effect. It’s also the most Latin like dance of Ballroom. 

Interview: Ranford Paulina

Mistura Movement

Mistura Movement

Every couple of weeks we interview someone from EDS. This time I have the honor of eating at the McDonald’s with none less than our own Kizomba teacher Ranford Paulina. This 22 year old guy from Curacao started in 2012 with Salsa lessons at EDS when he came to Rotterdam to study Business Administration and Fiscal Law at the EUR. In September 2013 he started dancing Kizomba. He has done this at many places, among which DançAmore, in Spain, at big international workshops and for a while now he is a part of the student showteam from Mistura Movement.

How was your first year as a teacher?

Challenging but a lot of fun. Challenging because you can dance something very well but to be able to explain why you do things you need to think about it. To teach a move takes extra effort, you cant just show it.

What did you like the most?

To see them grow. Seeing people coming in who couldn’t dance and at the end of the year make your jaw drop.

What made you start giving classes?

One year before at the end people came to me in the Salsa lessons with Kizomba questions. I really liked explaining and giving new moves. After that I was approached with news that they wanted to start a Kizomba course and asked if I wanted to be the teacher. That’s when I started looking for a dance partner and I found Lyanne.

What is the best thing EDS can do the coming year?

Community feeling wise it was touching to see at the dance exam how much we became a team. The most members of Kizomba also dance Salsa, and there it is the same. What I would like the most is to also have this connection with Ballroom. And of course this year Hiphop as well, to really create a full community.

What is your favorite song?

J&MC - Cara Podre

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FU27BYKQKaE

It has a nice beat, I had been searching for the song title for too long. Then I went to Salsa Madhouse and they played the song. I stopped my dance partner to go to the DJ and ask for the title.

What do you like most about EDS?

The fact that we are a family and do a lot of stuff together. When you’re new in Rotterdam you really need to join a student association to make new friends. EDS is a great option, without the mandatory introduction. If you don’t want such introduction, but still want a tight bond this is the best alternative.

How did you join EDS?

When I came to Rotterdam I knew I wanted to start Salsa and Zouk. I saw EDS at the Eurekaweek and it was an automatic yes. We started at the Caroussel of the L-building. Where people are passing through now is where we used to dance.

Interview: Timor Steffens

ABOUT

Timor is working with world’s greatest artists, making choreographies all over the world, teaching and giving workshops worldwide, judging on national TV shows, co-creating television formats, acting, modeling and much more. His resume includes names such as Janet Jackson, Madonna, Chris Brown, Whitney Houston, Beyoncé and Usher.

In 2008 he signed up for the TV talent show ‘So You Think You Can Dance’. His hard work paid off when he was awarded 1st runner up in the competition. This experience changed Timor’s life and he is now recognized as one of Holland’s top dancers.

Craving More, Timor traveled to Los Angeles for the first time to shoot a music video. It was three months later that he received a phone call for the Michael Jackson audition. Timor poured his heart and soul into the audition and it paid off. He became one of the 12 principal dancers of the This Is It Tour.

After the sad and sudden dead of Michael Jackson and so end of the This Is It tour Timor decided to do exactly what he learned and experienced during his time with MJ: inspiring and sharing. So he did. Up until this day Timor inspired a lot of people to work and learn with and from him.

His main goal is to become one of the best choreographers and art directors in the world, as well a renowned actor. With his work Timor wants to inspire people worldwide in all aspects of life.

What did you think about the workshop you just gave?

I liked it! It was a diverse group, and I’m not used to that. Normally I teach advanced dancers: dancers who want to have a serious dance career or who want to work in the dance industry. This was an open group, with different levels. These people just like to dance and were open to learn new things, which is very nice.

At EDS we provide different dancing styles: hiphop, salsa, kizomba and ballroom. Are you a master in all dancing styles?

I began with hiphop in the underground scene with battles, which include a lot of hiphop, waving, popping, break dancing and all that kind of stuff. Then I started studying ballet and modern at the high school Codards. I've done four years of ballet and modern, where I’ve learned to control my body. I moved to America when I was 20 and over there I have actually done everything. I just use my technique well, so I'm actually an all-round dancer. When I learned ballroom, for example in the program So You Think You Can Dance, I could camouflage that I didn’t had a lot of experience with this style. I call myself more of a ‘master of movement’ because I can control my body very well and therefore I’m able to learn different styles. I'm not a master ballet, no master in ballroom. But when I’m learning one of those styles, I can feel how something is supposed to be just by carefully watching the choreographer regardless of what style we do.

What makes a dance teacher a good one?

I think it is very important for a dance teacher to understand well what the level is of a group that he or she teaches. Also important is to bring innovative material every week so the persons feel that they are growing. Teachers also have to do a little research into what is now going on in the dance industry. This way they continue to innovate as well. A dance teacher must be patient with people and well prepared. That's number one, I think, for a dance teacher. Being patient, innovative, and aware of the different levels in the group so everyone can develop himself or herself and will become a better dancer.

Do you also think that a dance teacher has to be a very good dancer as well?

You can be a good dancer but actually terrible in teaching. You can also be a very good dance teacher but a horrifying choreographer, and vice versa. I think, if you are a dance teacher that you first need to have the understanding in the base of the style that you want to teach. You also have to know what it's like to perform on stage, because then you have that experience to share with the group. You also have a lot of people who are teaching but aren’t good dancers yet, so then, what do you learn? Same as I'm not a professor of science and I'm going to talk about science: it’s not right! With dancing it’s exactly the same, so I think that a good dance teacher first have to master the material. You have no dance diplomas so it’s hard to see if someone is or is not good, you can only assume. I think good dance teachers have to be honest to themselves and must deepen those styles before they teach someone else.

Do you have a signature move?

Phew… a signature move… I do not know. Often I do tricks like the gainer (video), which is the somersault that I do very often. That's one of my signature moves I guess? One of my signature moves as a choreographer is that everything has to be in sync. In my work, everything has a lot of symmetry, as you saw at the workshop. All the people with black shirts to the right, then the dark colours, lighter colours and finish with white at the left. I do this in all the shows that I make too. You will never see a show I made that is asymmetrical. I also love details, which is important.

Do you want to see some of the work Timor did? Check his website www.timorworld.com

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OXP8Hls6Y0U   My American dream – Timor Steffens

https://www.instagram.com/p/BIQR8QSAIRS/   gainer van Timor Steffens

 

Written by Amber-Louise de Jong