Interview with Marek Kosaty and Paulina Glazik

Interview with Marek Kosaty and Paulina Glazik

Posted on samedi, 09 août 2014, 21:16 by admin
Read: 28 250

We finally managed to interview Marek Kosaty and Paulina Glazik from Poland who won the Amateur Ballroom in Blackpool this year and in 2013. Marek and Paulina win every competition they take part in for the last two-three years and it was great to be finally able to talk to them.

To master the technical aspect is most important to me. If I feel I perfected the technical aspect I can enjoy myself [...] and shine on the floor.

Let's start from congratulations – fantastic result indeed, this is the second time you won Blackpool.

[Marek] Thank you

How did you star dancing?

[Paulina] I started when I was nine in Bydgoszcz, Poland. My parents got me some dance classes in a dance school as a present. I went to the class and got quite upset when they put a boy in front of me. I did not want to dance and did not want to touch any boy! (laughing). I eventually made many friends through this and that's why I continued with the classes. But I really didn't want to do it.

Why did your parents want you to do it?

[Paulina] My father always loved dancing. That's why he wanted me to do it.

When did you start competing?

[Paulina] After a year, when I was ten. I was still dancing all the ten dances including polka. Those days in Poland it was part of ten dance programme for kids. Then I got a partner and we danced together for eight years. His name is Przemek Juszkiewicz and he is now a very well known in musicals and other dance shows in England. After Przemek I started dancing with Vaidotas Lacitis from Lithuania and we were very successful, we got a silver at the World Youth Ballroom. We stopped as Vaidotas was very much into winning Blackpool and he thought we will never be able to do it dancing together. But after a year I met Mark, we decided to dance Under 21 in Blackpool and we won it!

[Marek] I started to dance when I was five years old in Ketrzyn in Poland. It went for maybe a month only as all the girls were taller than me and did not want to dance with me.

Did your parents take you to the dance school?

[Marek] Yes, my mother took me to the school. She loved dancing but I did not want it. After a month of trying I had a break. I started again when I was eleven or twelve and I am doing it since then. At first, I started competing in small competitions near the place I lived. When I was sixteen or seventeen I got a partner Malgorzata Grzadka. She was ten years older than me. With her I got my first good results. We were 8th in Polish Championships. It is quite funny but the first time I met Paulina we were fourteen years old and were together at some training camp in Poland. I didn't realise she was a good dancer, she did not look it because she was so thin and small (laughing). I remember dancing Waltz with my partner and Paulina came to me telling me I was making some technical mistake in pivot. I thought how dare you, you little girl, showing me my mistakes, what do you know about dancing! Few weeks later we met again at Polish Championships and I stayed in the first round, while she was second! (laughing).

Not bad for a little girl!

[Marek] Yes, I realised she was not so bad after all. I remember that after this I went back to my dance school and told everybody I will dance with her one day! I was only fourteen but I decided to do everything I could to dance with her. We kept in contact. And one day, when I was on my way to another town for some dance lesson, Paulina called my phone and asked if I wanted to dance with her. I was in such a shock that I had to stop the car. I was so happy but surprised that she wanted to be my partner, especially after Vaidotas who was a great dancer. After all Paulina and Vaidotas were 2nd in the world, while I was 8th in Poland! It was a great thing for me, and I felt very honoured actually.

So Paulina why did you call him?

[Paulina] Katia Vanone saw Marek at a training camp and she was surprised how committed he is and that he has a great drive. He worked very hard at the group lessons, asked questions, wanted to know everything and she thought that he might be a good partner material for me.

[Marek] I knew that I was not good enough and I did everything to improve. I took part in all the possible group lessons, private lessons, I was in the first row at the classes. I wanted to improve to get better to the level of Paulina.

How was your first try-out?

[Paulina] The first try-out happened in Lithuania. I was still there at the time.

[Marek] In Kaunas, not far away from Ketrzyn, my town in Poland.

[Paulina] With Ceslovas Norvaisha, the teacher. It was not so bad actually (laughing)

[Marek] I did not know a lot about dancing really so I was just enjoying myself. I thought it was great.

[Paulina] The first try-out was better that our first two, three months of dancing together. It was getting worse and worse...

[Marek] True

Really? It was not improving?

[Marek] I was totally undeveloped technically. Whatever I did it was my own interpretation, improvisation and the power of my own body. But I did not know what do with the legs, where to rotate, where to sway.

So Paulina had to suffer in the beginning?

[Paulina] Yes. But eventually it started getting better and better.

So why you did not split up after these two months? And when was this first day when you felt that it was it?

[Marek] I think it was the competition in Brno.

[Paulina] Yes, the competition in Czech. It was our first final.

[Marek] We were totally surprised to make this final. I think this was the reason why we stayed dancing together. If the result wasn't that good we wouldn't probably dance together. There were moments when Paulina had doubts.

But you didn't?

[Marek] Never! She is the best partner in the world for me.

[Paulina] I am the weak part of this couple. Often depressed and pessimistic.

[Marek] I am always thinking positive while she is thinking to give up! I am pushing her as much as I can.

Paulina, what do you like in him?

[Paulina] He is very hard working. It doesn't matter that he is tired, he still wants to practice. I think he is giving me this energy when I want to stop. He energises me and makes me want to go again.

[Marek] Same thing happens at the competitions. Sometimes Paulina can get a bit depressed, not sure of herself and I need to help her to lift her mood. What I like about her is that she is such a natural dancer. Even if she makes a mistake she still looks great. I know that she is one of the best dancers in the world ever.

[Paulina] Come on! You want something from me (laughing)

[Marek] This is the reason why I know that whatever level I can reach she can always get there with me.

What don't you like in your partner?

[Paulina] After every competition, regardless if good or bad result, he is always complaining and thinking what we can improve next! Even when we are walking off the floor he is already talking to me that we need to change this and that. I don't really like that.

[Marek] I think this is needed. But maybe it is too much. Even after winning Blackpool all I have in my head is our mistakes. So I am always thinking what we can improve and cannot really be happy for what we achieved. Of course I am happy but...

Are you a couple in private life?

[Paulina] No

What don't you like in Paulina then?

[Paulina] ... my negativity ...

[Marek] I don't like her negative emotions. If we practice a lot there is always this point when she wants to stop, it is enough for her, she feels tired and wants to give up for the day. But I have to push and push her, for me it is never enough.

[Paulina] ... am I lazy? ...

[Marek] No, not true! She is hard working but gets overwhelmed by doubts.

[Paulina] Sometimes I feel I need a day off. I need a break from practice.

Can you describe each dance in few words?

[Marek] The key word for Waltz is the swing. It makes this dance elegant. My mood can be feeling aggressive but I need to think of going soft in the body, in my arms and especially to feel the body weight.

[Paulina] I agree completely

Does she always agree with you, Marek?

[Marek] No, so let me cherish this moment (laughing)

What about Foxtrot?

[Paulina] It is smooth and continuous movement.

[Marek] Body weight distribution is different to Waltz so you feel that you are using the space differently. You are moving linearly.

But what about feelings?

[Marek] We believe the foundation of our dancing is mechanics. Our teachers, who we choose so they are leading us the same way, teach us that when you have the technique it doesn't matter whether you feel good or bad. I need to do the step exactly right even if I am woken in the middle of the night. I cannot afford a moment that I am feeling not quite well and it affects my dancing. I am very competitive. To master the technical aspect is most important to me. If I feel I perfected the technical aspect I can enjoy myself. At that point I know I can relax, have fun and shine on the floor.


[Marek] Here is can speak about the feeling. For me, it feels like I am a tiger which is ready to spring for its pray. The focus, coolness and perfect movement, very accurate movement as every step matters. I don't like when couples dance their Tango just fast. It needs this concentration, slowing the movement and then spring!

Do you agree Paulina?

[Paulina] He is covering it all (laughing), a lot of talking.

OK, now it is your turn Paulina! What about the Viennese Waltz?

[Paulina] It should feel like we are flying around the floor.

[Marek] When we dance the Viennese Waltz in the final amongst the other couples we compete against, I often have this urge to move forward, to be in front of them. I forget about Paulina and technique and just want to overtake them all! This is the moment I am getting tense.

Obviously you are very competitive!

[Marek] Of course I don't want to be under danced. As a dancer you only have these few minutes to present yourself. I feel bad if I know I did not push myself enough even if I had good result. I'd rather have a worse result than feel under danced.

[Paulina] Marek, say something about Quickstep

[Marek] I have similar feelings when I am dancing the Viennese Waltz. I am starting at one end of the floor and already thinking how to be at the other end (laughing). I like the lightness of Quickstep but I don't like to jump up and forward. I don't like the musical style quickstep when you make a lot of small steps and then you smile and move away. I don't like the charleston style of Quickstep. I like to use the power of my body and go for it. I love Domenico Soale long jump but I would not be able to dance like him. His Quickstep is totally different, lighter than ours. But I wouldn't be able to do it that way.

What do you think of WDSF introducing new steps to the Viennese Waltz?

[Marek] I think this is a mistake. Let me say what is happening when people start to do it.

[Paulina] It already started. We've seen it at the last German Open.

[Marek] When I am trying to move, to drive, and somebody in front of me is changing steps, natural over-sways and something like that, I cannot move, it stops me. It is not a Viennese Waltz if I need to be checking if the couple in front of me if doing something which makes me stop. Every dance was developed by people in the past and reflects those times. It developed naturally and it was not changed by one person who just perhaps imagined that that step or that piece would be nice. Many times at practice I come up with an idea which I like, but I look at it a year later and say: how stupid! You cannot introduce such dramatic changes so suddenly.

However, being a devil's advocate, when Viennese Waltz was first danced, famously in Austria, the hold was often side by side

[Marek] But the changes happened over the long period of time. It was an evolution. In Waltz you need to be elegant. You can do twenty pivots in slow Waltz but how can you look elegant when you do it in Viennese Waltz when the music is twice as fast? It such a fast dance you are not able to introduce the change of tempo, to give it a breath. You have to concentrate to keep hold of your partner as the centrifugal force is taking them away!

You talk a lot about technique and mechanics of dancing. So is dancing a sport or an art?

[Marek] Both aspects are there. It is all connected.

[Paulina] When you have technique right you can then show feelings. If at the competition you feel bad and you smile it is fake. When you dance with the correct technique nobody can take that away from you.

[Marek] Take musicality as an example. If you hear different music and you are trying to force your partner to change shape or tempo it is fake. But when you have perfected your technique you can apply it there. Without it, all your actions are forced. When you understand the technique and the movement, you can express your feelings just the way you want.

How do you prepare for the competition? What affects your performance?

[Marek] The most important is your state of mind, what is in your head. It is not important who the other couples are. You actually always compete against yourself. You cannot think about the others.

[Paulina] You need to be mentally prepared, have some principles in your head. We worked on it for the last two months.

[Marek] We concentrate on our own dancing, we try to dance as best as we can.

How is Marek at the practice? Do you fight?

[Paulina] He is patient. I always set myself one goal to achieve. This is changing of course depending who we work with or depends on what competition we are at.

[Marek] Yesterday, the key word for me was touch. I wanted it to be very accurate, to perfect that feeling of dancing like a flowing water. I wanted all our movements to be effortless and fluent. On the other day the key point was: change of speed. It is important not to be monotonous, to be able to drive but not to push all the time. The other theme was to move my body with my foot, not to get to the step if I wasn't prepared to move my body with it because then I am losing balance. Another theme was to relax my arms. The best would be to be able to connect all these key points.

[Paulina] Sometimes impossible. For example yesterday we had one key point to think about but we lost the one we worked on the previous competition. So now we went back to the point we were before the last competition.

Somebody said to me once that you should behave at the practice like you were at competition, and at competition like you were practising. You seem to be doing that.

[Marek] Yes, exactly. The most difficult think at the competition is to distance yourself from the crowd of people and all the other disruption and be as good as you are when you doing it at the practice. You have to stay totally focused and you need to get into the right state of mind.

What kind of music do you like?

[Paulina] We usually practise to the Russian music

[Marek] We like Russian music.

[Paulina] Sometimes we also dance to the Blackpool music. It changes.

[Marek] We often practise to the non-dance music. I am choosing normal songs, sometimes we dance Waltz to the music which is 4 beats. Because you can play with it, start interpreting it your way. You can start hearing it differently, you learn to be aware of the changes in the music. Not just hear the beats.

Do you dance Latin sometimes?

[Marek] I have horror dreams about it. Like going to the competition and I cannot do a single step (laughing)

[Paulina] We stopped when we were eighteen years old.

[Marek] I like it. We dance sometimes for fun, like yesterday at the party. But I am not sure you can call it Latin! (laughing) I am so used to the Ballroom frame that I never know what I can do with my hands when I try Latin.

What Latin dance is your favourite?

[Paulina] Rumba

[Marek] Because it is the slowest!

And you will be dancing Foxtrot!

[Marek] Yes, and this is what I meant when I was talking about the music. I love to dance Foxtrot to Rumba.

[Paulina] We do that on the show

Do you prefer shows or competitions?

[Marek] Easy question

[Paulina] Show

[Marek] Definitely! You can see if you compared our dancing at the show and at the competition. It is two times better!


[Marek] Pressure.

[Paulina] With all the great teachers around the floor, it can be overwhelming.

[Marek] But this is my own opinion. I am more myself when I do shows.

If you could not dance, what would you do?

[Paulina] I would do something which allows me to travel. I cannot sit in one place for a long time. Maybe something to do with cosmetics... I have no idea! I was born to dance.

[Marek] I could be a priest

[Paulina] What!?

[Marek] I would be a good priest. I know it is unusual...

What if your partner stopped dancing?

[Marek] I would stop as well. I think I would concentrate on teaching.

[Paulina] I think Marek would never stop dancing. But for sure, I would not want to start everything from the beginning with a new partner. I think I would stop as well. I would start a family (laughing)

What was the biggest argument you ever had?

[Marek] When we started dancing together, at the beginning, there was a period of time when she was throwing her shoes at me!

[Paulina] Stupid problems at the practice and I was not patient enough (laughing).

[Marek] Every argument we ever have is about dancing.

[Paulina] For the last three years we hardly ever argue.

[Marek] We are more mature now (laughing)

What do you like to do in your free time?

[Paulina] We don't have much free time. When we do, each of us like to meet friends. I have friends through my boyfriend. Sometimes I can switch thinking of dancing off and just enjoy being with my family. My boyfriend is not a dancer, he is a football player, and he can understands that I need to practise a lot and go for competitions. When we meet with friends we usually meet at home as I don't really like parties.

[Marek] I like to meet my friends as well. I also meet people for business which is not connected to dancing. This brings extra money, adds to the money from teaching. We cannot do a lot of teaching, can do a little bit, as we need to do a lot of practice. You cannot have both at the same time.

You used to run the dance forum: kosaszone. Did you close it?

[Marek] Yes, there was too much abuse, too many mean people. I was not able to make sure nobody got offended. I had mothers calling me that there were very nasty comments about their kids and they were very upset. I had to stop this. I did not want to be a part of this.

[Paulina] Some people were awful.

[Marek] It is a shame but, even if it was very popular, I had to stop it.

What are your plans for the future?

[Paulina] In few months' time we are going to Mannheim for the competition. In July we travel to China for some competitions. In the end of August we may go to USA but it depends if we get a visa.

[Marek] There are many invitational competitions as well in Russia so we will do some probably.

No plans for holiday?

[Paulina] One week in June! When we come back from Mannheim my boyfriend and I are going to buy a last minute holiday to some nice, warm place. We don't know where but somewhere where I can lay on the beach.

[Marek] I may go to see my parents. I meet them very rarely now. I live in Bydgoszcz and my parents are 300 km away. It is quite far and it takes ages to get there.

[Paulina] We live in Bydgoszcz because my father has a studio and we can practise there.

How do you manage financially?

[Paulina] We have sponsors for dresses, Chrisanne, and Supadance for shoes, we can use the studio. It helps a lot.

What do you normally eat, do you follow any diet?

[Paulina] No we don't. But we realised that few years ago we could eat what we wanted before the competition, like a big steak, but now I fell my metabolism is getting slower. Now, it takes an hour for us to be able to practice after we had some meat.

[Marek] Few years ago, in Italy, we had a small steak and it took us several hours before we could dance at all.

[Paulina] Now we have to eat something lighter (laughing).

You are still very slim

[Paulina] Every time I come back from a long practice or a competition I need to weight myself. My boyfriend is worried that I am losing weight, he is quite crazy about it. Now I gained a bit of weight so it is better.

So what do you like to eat?

[Paulina] Pasta, salad...

[Marek] I like everything.

[Paulina] He can eat everything. I don't like seafood.

[Marek] I need to watch what I eat before the competition though!

What was the strangest food you've ever had?

[Paulina] In China. They served us a chicken accompanied by its cut head on the plate. It was awful! Mark ate it!

[Marek] I enjoyed it. I don't mind trying strange foods.

[Paulina] I cannot. The only seafood I can eat is crab and shrimps.

Thank you very much!