Anastasia Novikova & Winson Tam – Music, Inspiration, and Devotion | Tips from the PROs
Music got them hooked
With a career of +16 years, Winson and Anastasia are dancing for Canada, although they are currently living in Ljubljana. They are one of the few pairs that manage to have great results in both Latin and Standard, ranking 16 in WDSF Latin and 23 in WDSF Standard.
Their stories of how they started dancing are a bit different, but in essence, they have the same root – music.
Winson was introduced to the world of ballroom and latin by his father, whilst they were still living in Hong Kong. His father, really passionate about dancing, would organize tea dances and invite past Asian champions to showcase. Winson would always jump all around the place, so his father decided to teach him some tango steps so he can be involved as well.
After moving to Canada, Winson started different extracurricular activities. Amongst them was to start taking up erhu (also called the Chinese violin) lessons, which helped him develop the taste for music, and of course, dancing. I guess we all know which one came out a winner – he stuck with dancing.
For Anastasia, it was clear since she was 5 years old that she should follow a career in dancing. You could always find her glued in front of the TV, on music channels, dancing her heart out.
Her parents decided to send her to the Russian National Dance but the problem was that there were too many girls and she wasn’t accepted. Basically, dancesport was her last option. And look how great things turned out 🙂
Motivation and dedication – the secrets of carrying on
Dancesport is not for the faint-hearted; it’s a beautiful sport but at the same time it has its challenges. To carry on you need to make a fair amount of compromises and to always find your inspiration and motivation.
Both for Winson and Anastasia, the motivation is music and the way they can play with it through dancing. When Anastasia feels unmotivated she just finds a really good piece of music and lets her body explore it. For Winson, because he adores to always change routines – music keeps him inspired to create beautiful and entertaining routines.
Nevertheless, challenges can pop up in your way to greatness. How to get over them?
For Anastasia, there were times when she did not have a partner and had to move from city to city or moments when she felt that her partners were better than her.
The thought that kept her moving forward was the little voice in her head that kept saying “You did so much for this!”. Yes, it’s the compromises that you’ve done so far that will keep you going.
Same for Winson, the support of all the people surrounding him – parents, coaches, friends, and partner – means the world. The effort and dedication that all of those people invested in him get him through the down moments.
Enjoyment – taking your dancing a step forward
As a dancer, you have to first learn the technical aspects of each dance, but in order to stand out, you will need to do much more.
Winson realized that dancing is more about enjoying the moment. By doing this, you offer your own interpretation of a dance and you’ll certainly be unique on the dancefloor.
Same for Anastasia, she became aware that if you listen carefully to the music, you can let your body improvise and interpret the routine better.
If you want to read more on this subject you can check one of our articles by Barbara Amroz about skill in dancing.
Dividing the day – the story of ten dancers
One of the biggest challenges in a dancer’s life is how to schedule your day so that you can fit in all the practices and lessons. Usually, ballroom and latin dancers (when they get to a certain level) choose between one of the two styles precisely because there is not enough time for both.
Anastasia and Winson, nevertheless, manage to combine them beautifully. Here’s how a day in their life looks like:
From 9 AM to 10 AM they do performance training with Tatiana;
From 11 AM to 12 PM they have fitness session with their personal coach (every Tuesdays and Thursdays);
Then they go home to eat;
From 3 PM they have lessons – one with every teacher if they are all there;
After that, they have group lessons.
One important thing is to find time to relax as well. As Anastasia explained, dancing is a sport and an art based on feeling. If you get too tired, you can easily lose connection with music. Take a moment to reconnect with your feeling, inspiration, and music.
Creating your combo of teachers
One of the secrets of succeeding both in latin and ballroom is having a great team of coaches that have different styles of teaching.
For example, Winson and Anastasia have three teachers: Alexey Galchun for ballroom, Tatsiana Lahvinovich and Zoran Plohl for latin and all of them focus on different things when they’re teaching and have different methods of explaining.
The couple says that Alexey explains very well and if a figure doesn’t come out as it should he would insist on that. He loves to give examples, tell stories, from different sports or activities that will somehow connect beautifully to dancing. Suddenly all will make sense!
Tatsiana gives the couple freedom to try new things and experience the music through their bodies, whilst Zoran is very mechanical and explains very well footwork and body action.
Combining the styles of more teachers you will get a holistic view of dancing.
Two people becoming one
How do you spot a great dancing couple? They are those two people dancing together as one. As Winson puts it, dancing is about “two people who have two styles and they try to fuse it into one”.
Anastasia explains very well that dancing needs to be like a mechanism: the man and the lady have to learn each other’s strengths and emphasize them. It is a good thing if the lady is excels at one thing and the man at another. In this way, you complete each other.
They arrived at this conclusion through good communication. As they are a couple in real life, they’ve learned how to make compromises…
…and also have lots of fun during practices 🙂
In their free time: vlogging and business management
If you want to see (not only read) how a day of Winson and Anastasia day looks like you know what you can do? Check Winson’s vlog. He started vlogging because he saw it at a friend and he loved it. Since he and Anastasia are traveling so much because of competitions, he thought that he might as well get a camera with him and enjoy the experience.
Plus it gets the mood up!
The cool thing is that you can see what usually happens backstage at big competitions. Be prepared though to get your appetite up – Winson is a foodie and for sure you’ll drool at some waffle he’d eat.
On the other side, being more analytical and fashion-oriented, Anastasia is in charge of BD Dance Shoes Slovenia. She carefully takes care of their Facebook page so make sure and go check their wonderful merchandise.
Article written after the Dancesport Life podcast with Winson and Anastasia. Go and check it to find out more secrets!
Dancing has been my passion since I was 13 and since then I've been doing things in that direction. Writing, creating and putting together the biggest community for dancers around the world!