We met with Jakub and Patrycja, winners of the Stage Tango category at the UK Tango Festival and TangoBA Dance World Cup Preliminaries in London, 2014, representing Poland.
How do you feel?
JAKUB – We feel fulfilled now. All our efforts has been appreciated. The final night of the Festival was better for us definitely.
Why was last night different?
JAKUB – There wasn’t any delay. Waiting always makes the atmosphere so intense. But on the last day – we really liked the space and the audience was bigger. We felt we responded better when there were more people to watch. We come to London often to see recent West End shows, which we love. Some of our great friends from the UK came, even 200 miles, to see us, so we also had huge support from them.
All three couples danced so differently!
JAKUB – Obviously the level of the Finals was very high. Couples represented different styles. I don’t judge at all. I liked other performances, but to be honest we were very focused to dance our own piece properly.
How did you prepare?
JAKUB – Yes, we tried to do that. We picked a very famous piece of music („Recuerdo”), not a commonly known version. It was the live performance of a Pugliese in Teatro Colon. We felt this music in our hearts. It is very important when choosing the song. Then we went to Buenos Aires for one month to create our choreography with one of our maestros – Mario Morales. We practiced and came back to Poland to work it out. It is essential to convey emotions and your feeling to the audience. When we dance socially we are just enjoying dancing together. We do not think if anybody is watching us. Doing stage tango you come alone on the dancefloor and you have to give people what they expect.
How do you compare Stage to Salon Tango?
JAKUB – You need to have the same connection, alignment, feel for the floor and your partner, otherwise, with disconnection, it is so visible and the sequences will not work out. So I think Escenario (Stage) is similar to Salon. In Escenario, you have to show the judges that you can walk, embrace, cross etc. Technique is important. But Tango de Salon is improvisation, to show how you feel the music. Stage Tango is a choreography but it is not at all about steps. It’s about atmosphere, about the relationship between the couple, telling a story, creating some magic and giving it to the audience. If it were only steps it would become only physical movement – that’s not dancing – dancing is something more.
What did you think about the festival?
JAKUB – It was quite nicely organized. The venues were very beautiful and we love London anyway. The massages were a very good idea. I used it and it really relaxed my back. The atmosphere in the milongas was great. During the whole competition, from first day to final everyone was so supportive to each other. Really. It felt like there was no competition at all. We spoke with contestants from Salon and everyone. One of the other contestants loaned me some braces, because I forgot mine. It is so rare that someone comes and says, ‘I brought you braces in case you forget like you did on Friday’. It was really nice. Also I have to mention the great assistance from the organisers.
The festival was a celebration of tango!
JAKUB – I agree! Especially on the final day! People we invited said that it was amazing watching the milonga, and to see normal people coming on the floor and dancing tango together. They were surprised about the high level and that everyone can lead each other. Very nice to see!
What of next year?
JAKUB – I’m sure next year we will come to London with an even greater performance. Also I hope we can dance on the stage. Actually, to be honest, it was fine, we had space, good floor and good lighting. But normally Escenario is for the stage.
Did you create your choreography for stage?
JAKUB – We thought we would be on the stage so we prepared our dance for an audience in the front. We wanted to see the audience and not look at the judges right in front of us. You feel the energy from the audience and their response and its more like a show, not a competition.
Do you think ‘competition’ is good?
JAKUB – It encourages you to be good, to go to milongas, to go to BA, to go to festivals. It’s quite important. We are all adults and very nice people. It was a good competition.
JAKUB – We will go back to Poland and keep practicing and teaching – our students are waiting for us impatiently. Also as we teach tango we have already some tours scheduled. We are invited to several cities around Europe to lead workshops and give performances. We just love to give classes. Also, you always have to practice because the choreography should be your second nature. Despite the fact that variations might be very difficult it all has to look easy.