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.