Dance is the oldest of all arts, inherent in each of us by nature. Even primitive people performed ritual dances, celebrating the birth and death of tribesmen, praying for rain and fertility. Centuries later, dancing became more closely connected to music and transferred to the stage and also became one of the ways of social interaction.
Today, on International Dance Day, we will talk with Yulija, QA Specialist, and Ilya, Front-end Developer. We will find out what exactly led colleagues to dance, the peculiarities of some styles, and how an IT job can be combined with such a hobby.
– Hi, Yulija, Ilya;)
Dance art consists of a huge number of styles: folk, classical ballroom, street, sports, etc. Tell us which one you chose, at what age and why? Also, maybe you have already tried different styles?
I love dancing. I started at the age of 5 with folk dances, then there were pop and many other different styles. There was a period when I too a break from dancing, but, to be honest, I was feeling some sort of “breaking”. I couldn’t stand it for a long time and started looking for suitable options for classes. Lucky me: it turned out that there were weekend Zumba classes nearby. I had no idea what it was, so I asked Google for help;) Then there was a trial class and I was hooked. I realized that this was my calling since Zumba is a mix of different Latin American dances (salsa, bachata, cumbia, merengue, reggaeton, sometimes oriental dances, and a little hip–hop are added), and I love to try and experiment, so this was the most ideal option for me in every way;)
So I danced for a year and accidentally (oh, the magic power of Instagram) met a girl who suggested how to become an instructor. They don’t teach this in my country, so I had to study online. I have been an instructor for 2 years 😉 And in total, I have been living in perfect harmony with Zumba for 3 years.
I have been dancing for about 15 years. I started when I was 7 – in my first grade, I got into ballroom dancing. I studied them for 9 years, received a rank of a candidate for a master of sports, became a winner of a republic championship, and then decided to quit because it was time to enter a
University. After 2-3 weeks of doing nothing, I did not stand it and went to modern dancing;)
So I got into choreography – this is, in fact, everything you see on TikTok and Instagram when guys post recorded videos, or backup dances of Beyonce, Rihanna, and other celebrities. I studied for 4 years and then I was lucky – I got a new good Teacher. Professional guys who dance choreography always studied many dance styles. Teachers – “style holders” – were often invited to us, so I tried hip-hop, papping, house, and waacking. Probably, it was during that period that my worldview began to change, and I eventually came to a contemporary dance style. This style is a derivative of classical dance and even ballet in some ways – modern European ballet performances are very close to contemporary. At the same time, I was improving an experimental – this is generally a separate dance style, which many do not consider as such, its peculiarity is that there is no base in it, and it is, let’s say, the main oppositionist of all styles. The main thing in experimental is the creation of an interesting form;) I was engaged in it before relocation and after moving to Poland I focused on waacking.
– Each dance has its own specific features: pas in ballet, square pattern in waltz, or headstands in breakdance. What are the peculiarities of Zumba and waacking in this regard?
Yulija: Let’s start with the fact that Zumba is a dance fitness program based on Latin American dances. Therefore, every dance in my class is represented by a certain style. Differences are in music (its melody, specific motif), basic steps, movements, and patterns.
It is important to understand that Zumba and pure Latin American dances are connected only by the base of movements. Zumba class does not teach you specific dances. The instructor uses gestures to show where to move, how many times, and in what sequence, and then the students repeat. Fitness dancing is about buzz, energy, not about serious work;)
Ilya: I have already listed some of the features, but if you take specifically waacking, it is a dance that originated in the seventies in Los Angeles. It was inspired by the music and culture of disco, so basically, all the battles are held under disco music. I’ve always loved it and it’s great that there are people who dance to it;)
Interesting fact: waacking is considered to support LGBT since it was created by representatives of the gay community. Of course, you don’t have to be a representative of the community to be part of the culture:) You can be anyone, you just have to understand that Waacker’s culture quite openly supports gay people. For example, I am not gay, but I am liberal towards them and share the view that homophobia has no place in the dance environment as a whole.
In terms of dance movements, waacking has a very characteristic posing, this is when a person takes a static pose to the music. All these poses were inspired by photos of different models and actors. For example, everyone knows the famous photo of Marilyn Monroe: a little half-side, chin up, slightly open mouth. Such characteristic models are one of the inspirations of the style. Also, the dance is based on hand movements, for example, loops, i.e. circular movements. Thus, there are two main characteristic components of waacking – posing and hand movements.
– Have you ever taken part in competitions? Or do you dance only for yourself in the studio?
Yulija: As a child, when I danced in the team, of course. We went to various competitions, it was very cool! But there are no such contests among Zumba instructors, we all are one big family;) We make various master classes, festivals, and, of course, training classes to improve the instructors’ skills. Such events allow you to grow, develop, and learn new things. New acquaintances are also a plus because they are very important too.
Ilya: Since the beginning of my fascination with dancing, I competed a lot, been a member of the dance theater, and did and still do the dance battles. There is such a thing as “all styles” in battles, a combination of two main ideas: the first is that representatives of different styles can engage in a battle, for example, breakdancing against hip–hop, and the second idea is about a mixture of styles, when people can mix them together (making the first round in one style, the second in another, etc.).
For sure, dancing is for yourself, for fun and you should always remember why you started dancing and why you love it. But for me, it is also a part of self-realization in many ways. Participation in competitions, and their results are important in order to see the progress, for which a lot of effort has been spent. Such a character trait of mine;) It is for this reason that I dance not only for myself in the studio;)
– Work and hobby: how are dancing and IT combined? Have there ever been cases when a hobby helped/hindered you in your work?
Yulija: Dancing is what keeps me in good shape. Our job, let’s be honest, is 8+ hours sitting 5 days a week. With such a regime, dancing is very helpful. Thanks to it, I get distracted from work, unload, and even reboot. Zumba classes give me a boost of cheerfulness and energy after a difficult working day. And it’s cool cardio as well;)
Ilya: Oh, dancing and IT are perfectly combined, almost a perfect match;) I have a lot of close friends from dance classes and 90% of them work in IT, mostly developers, some of them work for giant corporations like Amazon. Obviously, IT specialists are mainly engaged in intellectual activities, and dancing is a physical and emotional discharge.
IT and the dance profession are similar in many ways in the sense that if you stop developing, you will cease to be relevant. To keep up, you need to constantly learn something new, and work on yourself. For example, not so many people code with 10-years-ago technologies. It’s the same in dancing: if you don’t invest in yourself learning new dance technics (because they also change) then you cease to be in demand. The main difference is that dancing, unfortunately, does not make much money, so working in IT helps a lot in this regard;)
– Do you have an idol in the world of dancing?;)
Yulija: I don’t have idols, but I like many Zumba instructors. Some of them are so energizing that looking at them you realize that you have chosen the right path and keep moving forward. There are incredible people who I want to learn from.
I admire the founder of the Beto program – Alberto Perez. At his 53 (oops:P) he looks great and still teaches classes. I also love the energy and style of Didem Zeybek. I would love to dance with her at the master class. In general, there are so many cool instructors and videos on social networks – you can stick on them endlessly;)
Ilya: In fact, I have no idols in my life. Perhaps it sounds very pathetic;) Of course, there are people who inspire and motivate me, but I haven’t found any person I can call my idol yet.
From the last hooked me, I can name the Korean show “Line Up”, the performance of Lip J. Technique, musicality, presentation, working with space, how she interacts with the audience and at the same time does not lose all of the above… Uff;)
– Is dancing the only hobby you have or there is something else?
Yulija: Basically yes. I love movement, and dancing is movement! I also like to cook (and eat, respectively;)), so it’s great that dancing helps to stay in good shape;) I love to cook chicken or meat, surely with vegetables, and then bake it all under a cream sauce or cheese cover… I have already started salivating;)
Ilya: Yes, only dancing. Evaluating the time and amount of effort, I invest it in dancing on par with the work, so there is nothing left for something else. For entertainment, I also like to play Dota from time to time;)
– Several recommendations for beginners: what advice would you give to those who want to start dancing?
Yulija: The most important recommendation is to start;) Sign up for the studio, there are many trial lessons now, and thanks to them you can understand whether it’s yours or not. And try, try everything! Look for something that will hook you. Because dancing is about energy and pleasure, and if there is none of this, it may be worth looking for another hobby.
Ilya: Don’t be afraid – that’s the easiest thing;) There are no bad or good dances because usually people dance where they feel comfortable. Even professional dancers in a bar or in a club dance the same ordinary dances as everyone else, it’s just possible that the body moves a little better because it’s more plastic due to the trainings. But still, it’s the same ridiculous and funny movements that just help to get high from the moment, and this is what everyone is dancing for, it doesn’t matter at what level you are. So just don’t be afraid and remember that it’s never too late to start;)
For me, despite all the dance achievements, it’s a real pleasure to watch when people just dance from the heart. For example, often I watch such situations where in Europe, when senior couple dance in the parks, and they do it very sweetly and sincerely. I probably want to live my life so as to dance, being 70 years old, with a senior lady and to be high from it;) Any social dances, like, for example, swing in America at Westhall, are super simple, no supernatural skills needed, everyone gets high and it looks cool!
In short, my advice: just enjoy the moment. Don’t get fooled by Instagram clips, because if you start to dive into them, compare yourself with someone and think “there’s something crooked there, these masters can see it, because they dance better than me, so nothing will work out” – you will never start. It doesn’t matter, dance for yourself so that you feel cool, then everything will be top class;)
And now – blitz;) Three, two, one, let’s go!
1. Step Up or Dirty Dancing?
Yulija: I love all the parts of Step Up!
Ilya: Step Up, because there was a dancer called Moose, and my surname in translation is also a “moose”, so that’s why;)
2. Working in a team or alone? Tell us the reason.
Yulija: 50/50. In dancing, when in a team, you can create a very cool number, in terms of composition. And when you dance solo – you can do whatever your heart desires;)
Ilya: It’s hard to choose. I would say a singles team is an ideal option for me;) When the task is divided into parts, you can easily work alone, and you are given a personal space, but at the same time, you are in a team. It’s more fun together;)
3. Calorie counting or intuitive nutrition?
Yulija: Intuitive nutrition;)
Ilya: Intuitive nutrition;) If you don’t have any health problems, eat everything and be moderate, it is simple.
4. Jeans or a suit/dress?
Yulija: And jeans, and dresses. It all depends on my mood.
Ilya: Not a fan of jeans, I mean the fabric itself. Therefore, a suit is better, plus it’s always stylish;)
5. How to distinguish a bug from a feature?;) Name three signs.
Yulija: If you get unplanned “perks” from an error – this is a feature, it is not necessary to fix it, this is how it is intended;) But if there are no perks – “dear developer, fix the bug”;)
Ilya: So, the first sign: if the server has gone down, it’s probably a bug;) The second sign (aka the relevance of bug fix): if a bug is too expensive to fix, it is easier and cheaper to admit it as a feature. The third sign: a bug is distinguished from a feature by the developer’s software skills because any bug can be sold as a feature. So upgrade your soft skills or rely on the sales team;)