Interview with Eric Voorn and Charlotte Voorn

Interview with Eric Voorn and Charlotte Voorn

Posted on sábado, 21 dic. 2019, 17:40 by admin
Read: 8.136

We talked to Eric and Charlotte Voorn from the Netherlands, winners of Over 50 Ballroom at the Blackpool Festival in May 2019.

You need a change of speed, variation. You need to slow down, make it soft and then accelerate again. That makes dancing more beautiful

Congratulations on winning. I guess you were happy the day before yesterday!

[Charlotte]: Yes!

I have seen you dancing in the finals so many times here, and now it finally happened. You've got what you deserved

[Charlotte]: Finally, yes (laughing)

Let me ask you how did you start dancing?

[Charlotte]: We both started dancing when we were about twelve years old. Both with different partners. And both of us started with Latin actually. We met when I was about twenty two and he was twenty five

[Eric]: I was looking for a partner, for Latin. Only Latin, I've never done Ballroom.

[Charlotte]: So we met and we started dancing together. We decided to give Ballroom a chance. And I think after only few months, Eric said he liked Ballroom better (laughing). So that's how it started.

Were you also a couple in private life then?

[Eric]: We started as dance partners but very quickly it developed into a proper relationship.

You are now dancing almost thirty years?

[Charlotte]: Yes, together, yes

Married for?

[Charlotte]: Almost twenty six years, because we married in July.

Happy marriage, happy dancing?

[Charlotte]: Of course we have problems like any other, but yes. We have a lovely daughter, Lorraine and she is also dancing. She danced the Rising Stars and she will do the Open as well.

Was their any argument in your lives caused by dancing?

[Charlotte]: No, no (laughing)

[Eric]: When we have disagreements it is usually about little things. We mostly share the same ideas, have the same thoughts. We don't really fight.

[Charlotte]: You need arguments (laughing)

[Eric]: It is good.

What do you do in private lives?

[Eric]: I am full time salesman, selling car batteries at Exide Technologies BV.

[Charlotte]: I am selling bicycles at Bigline in Utrecht.

In Holland it is a big business (laughing)

[Charlotte]: Yes!

I know it is a silly question after twenty five years, but what do you like about each other?

[Charlotte]: Look at him! (laughing) Everything. We are not just dance partner, not just married couple, but we are true soul mates.

[Eric]: We do everything together

[Charlotte]: We don't like to do anything separate, no. I trust him with everything. I rely on him. This is what I value very much.

[Eric]: She is the best motivator there is. I sometimes can be a little negative and she gets me motivated.

So what is the worst thing about your partner?

[Charlotte]: He is Mr Grumpy. He can be grumpy about everything, anything (laughing). And I have to be Mrs Positive again to make him less grumpy (laughing)

[Eric]: She is always able to say to me, oh, get over it and do it.

Any fault in her?

[Eric]: She is very determined, sometimes she is so determined that it gets under your skin! It is irritating sometimes (laughing).

Is this dancing or your private life?

[Eric]: Anything. And dancing is our life, 90% of our life. We have our day jobs but I think we were are back home it is full on dancing.

[Charlotte]: We need our day jobs. For dancing (laughing)

[Eric]: It is an expensive hobby. We are lucky to have great sponsors behind us, otherwise it would be much more difficult.

Who is sponsoring you?

[Eric]: Chrisanne Clover, Brackley's and International Dance Shoes. We also have a Dutch dressmaker Wim Slijkhuis from Styles Dance Wear.

What do you like to do outside dancing?

[Eric]: Nothing, no time

[Charlotte]: No time for anything else. Sometimes we watch a movie. We have a daughter of course, but she is also a dancer, so it is big part of her life too.

Is your daughter in the same dance club as you are?

[Eric]: Yes. It is our own club. It is not a dance school. It is a club. In Holland you have to dance for a school or a club.

[Charlotte]: In the WDC you can dance under your own name. But in other organisations you have to be a member of a school or club.

[Eric]: So we made up our own club bFun to Dance ecause we did not want to dance for another dance school. Because they restrict you with things you can do or cannot do.

[Charlotte]: And a lot of people joined us. It is a very nice group.

[Eric]: All people with orange jackets in Blackpool are our people. Quite a lot (laughing).

So are you or are you not a part of WDC?

[Charlotte]: We are

What do you like to eat?

[Charlotte]: Italian food

[Eric]: Yes. We love Italian food.

Any example?

[Charlotte]: No fish. Actually he doesn't like fish, I like a little bit of fish.

[Eric]: Nothing fishy. She doesn't cook it because I really dislike it.

[Charlotte]: That's how much I love him (laughing)

Who is cooking?

[Charlotte]: Not him (laughing). It is me or our daughter.

[Eric]: I tried to make once a custard. Disaster. I don't care about cooking either.

[Charlotte]: It is not my greatest hobby but I can cook.

What do you like about dancing?

[Eric]: I think it is the interaction between each other, the special feeling we have together. Music, of course. We love that, especially in Blackpool.

[Charlotte]: We love it all, the performing part, the music, the show...

Not many couples mention interaction with each other is the most important thing...

[Charlotte]: Oh, I think it is the most important. When I watch people dancing I want to see the "together" part. Sometime you see he is dancing and she is dancing but not together. I don't like it.

Which dance do you like the most?

[Eric]: Foxtrot.

[Charlotte]: Foxtrot and Waltz I have to say.

Not Tango?

[Charlotte]: We are very good at Tango. I like it, but it is not my favourite.

[Eric]: I like to power and the strength in Tango. But if we are talking about feelings, it is definitely Foxtrot. It has always been under our skin, we love the flow... It doesn't require any effort.

What was your favourite dance in Latin?

[Charlotte]: Rumba.

[Eric]: I think I like Jive the most.

If you could not dance, what would you do?

[Charlotte]: Ice skating. I like that. We did it a long time ago.

[Eric]: It is a winter sport, I think skating is not good for the musculature for dancers. We found we had to let it go. Also, you cannot take the risk of injury. For the sake of few weeks of winter sports you can lose a whole year of dancing.

[Charlotte]: It is always possible to break a leg of course. But why take risks.

What was the best competition so far for you?

[Eric]: Every Blackpool is very special

[Charlotte]: But the first time we made the finals, it was the most special. And of course the first win this year is very special.

[Eric]: But I think the most special one was the first final, especially as we did not expect it.

[Charlotte]: We were very happy to be in the semifinal, we have never missed the semi. I think it was the second time we danced. After the semi Eric sat down, with his collar loose, took off his tie. And then Stephen Hillier came to us and said, come on Eric, make yourself ready, put the tie back on. We said, Stephen, we will not make the final! And he said, put it on, you danced very well. And we made the final (laughing) that year in 2003.

Do you like Blackpool music?

[Charlotte]: Yes. Not the whole year but for few weeks, yes. Especially when the band is playing.

[Eric]: Before Blackpool we practise with the Blackpool music. It is extra special when you dance to it here, in this hall, in this atmosphere. You feel the history when you dance there.

How did your daughter get into dancing? Did you have to make her?

[Charlotte]: No, no (laughing). We were more like, don't do it (laughing). She was a little girl when she came with us, and she was crazy about it. We couldn't stop it. She loves it. She also did classical ballet and modern. She did everything.

What kind of music do you like for dancing?

[Eric]: Vocal music.

[Charlotte]: But also instrumental. Especially with piano and violin, I love it.

Do you like modern music?

[Charlotte]: Modern and also traditional

Excuse me for asking, but you are over 50, but do you feel your age?

[Charlotte]: No, we feel twenty five inside (laughing). Not the body (laughing)

[Eric]: Especially when you wake up next morning after seven rounds of dancing!

Are you saying that the twenty five year old would not feel it (laughing)!

[Charlotte]: I think our daughter still feels it (laughing). Everybody gets tired. We watched the Rising Stars quickstep yesterday and you can see they also get tired, and they are still young. So I was thinking, OK, we did seven rounds and we were still able to do the quickstep.

What would you like to change in dancing if you could change anything?

[Charlotte]: The politics! Remove politics if possible.

What would you change in your dancing?

[Charlotte]: I would remove all the bad days, bad competitions from the past (laughing)

[Eric]: And injuries!

What was your worst competition?

[Charlotte]: Years ago. I speak as a couple. Eric had a really bad knee at the time. The result was not good. It was a Championship.

[Eric]: So you get angry and frustrated...

[Charlotte]: It was stupid that we danced that competition really. We only danced it because it was Championship. But it was not wise to do that.

You did not want to miss it because you worked for many months towards it?

[Charlotte]: Yes, but it was a bad dancing and bad decision.

Some couples do not survive bad results...

[Charlotte]: You need to go through it if you want to succeed. First you blame everybody except yourself. But then you see the video and you understand (laughing). It was out fault. You learn as well.

[Eric]: You learn from your mistakes.

How do you use the modern technology, social media, internet?

[Charlotte]: You cannot do without it. But I am not very into it.

[Eric]: I am more into the modern gadgets.

[Charlotte]: OK, I know how it works. Sometimes I like it but sometimes I really hate it. For instance, everybody keeps just looking into their phones. I also do it sometimes but it is too much. There is no conversation anymore.

Are you on Facebook?

[Charlotte]: Yes

[Eric]: I am. She uses my account (laughing).

Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat?

[Eric]: We use Twitter sometimes, just for notifications. Instagram we use, but we not much.

[Charlotte]: I don't use it, I don't understand it.

Who does booking flights or cars?

[Eric]: She does most of the time

[Charlotte]: If I want to book holidays I go to the agent.

[Eric]: Yes, but flights to competitions we do ourselves. If possible we want to drive our own car to competitions.

Do you visit any dance websites?

[Charlotte]: We go to dancesportinfo or scrutelle for the results. Also easycompsoftware

[Eric]: We sometimes watch couples from WDSF dancing on YouTube. But it is too extreme for us. Maybe we are too old fashioned...

[Charlotte]: Once we were at one of their competitions and I was watching the Viennese Waltz. And I was asking myself, where is the Viennese Waltz in that? I could not see any Viennese Waltz in it anymore. In my opinion it is a shame.

Do you like American Smooth?

[Eric]: Yes

[Charlotte]: I think we like it. It is a combination between Modern and Ballroom.

[Eric]: I like it when it is done well. And it makes a change from what you normally see, it give you the variety.

Do you watch dancing on YouTube?

[Charlotte]: Sometimes. We also have our own videos. In the past there was a lot on TV, from Germany and thank God, we taped it all. We have a lot of old dancing on video. And I still like it to watch.

[Eric]: Sometimes we watch the live streaming. Last time we watched it was the Kremlin Championships from Russia.

Do you use DSI-TV?

[Eric]: Sometimes because we don't have that much time.

Do you think that watchiong videos can give you an idea about your own dancing or help you improve?

[Charlotte]: Yes, but you need teachers for that. However, it is very good to watch your own dancing and learn from it.

Who are your teachers?

[Charlotte]: Stephen and Jennifer Hillier, Len Armstrong, Lynnette Boyce and Frank and Linda Venables. We don't have a big team. and we have loved our lessons with Keith and Christine Burton and Peter Eggleton in the past.

[Eric]: We have the same teachers for about fifteen or twenty years.

Where are you travelling for competitions?

[Charlotte]: Within the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Portugal, England...

[Eric]: We come here to England for small competitions sometimes if we can combine it with lessons. We love to do competitions.

What is more exciting performing or competing?

[Eric]: Performance

[Charlotte]: I think maybe in the past it was more about competing, about results.

[Eric]: We let that go and decided to focus more on the performance then the results will follow.

[Charlotte]: Of course, you need results. But we are not thinking about it anymore. We are thinking about improving ourselves in dancing, and doing our best.

[Eric]: Of course I'd rather win. But if I was to win but feel I did not dance my best, it would not be a great feeling.

Would you prefer to be the winners in the audience eyes or judges?

[Eric]: Audience

[Charlotte]: It is difficult (laughing)

[Eric]: You want them both of course.

[Charlotte]: Judges have only few seconds to look at you. If you manage to get the audience interested they follow you. So I think I prefer audience.

Do you think dancing changed a lot since you started?

[Charlotte]: The rules are the same but the dancing has become more athletic...

So why do you need lessons?

[Eric]: You cannot see yourself. You need somebody else, you need another opinion.

[Charlotte]: You can record yourself but it is not the same. You need the experience from the Pro. I think it is very important that they let you feel it, not just show it. When I dance with Stephen, he picks up my mistakes and corrects them.

[Eric]: Stephen said to me he wants me to be myself but he helps me correct my mistakes.

You have been dancing for nearly forty years, you have a lot of experience. How did the dancing change?

[Eric]: A lot. The Latin changed in particular

[Charlotte]: When we first started dancing together it was still the "old style" Latin.

[Eric]: When it changed, we decided to switch to Ballroom because I couldn't really adjust to the new style. I found it difficult. I started to appreciate Ballroom more actually. It is harder because of two bodies connected together.

Do you still like to watch Latin?

[Charlotte]: Yes. and I think we can still learn from it.

[Eric]: We have some videos from 1970's. When Donnie Burns was still an Amateur, and the Fletchers were dancing. The music was incredible, so fast. And they were able to perform to it. It was fantastic!

[Charlotte]: There was no showing off. The finished and they walked off the floor.

OK, what about changes in Ballroom?

[Eric]: From two-dimentional to more three-dimentional. The top line got bigger. Also, energy and dynamics. And more awarness of speed

[Charlotte]: Sometimes I miss the elegance. If you watch the Hiltons and the Woods dancing Waltz you will see how beautifully elegant they were. I like that, I still get goosbumps!

[Eric]: There is no smoothness anymore, sometimes couples are thinking only about doing it harder and faster... But you need a change of speed, variation. You need to slow down, make it soft and then accelerate again. That makes it more beautiful. It is good sometimes to watch yourself on video but without the music switched on. You can then see if you interpreted that dance character well.

Would you change anything in your life if you could?

[Charlotte]: No, I don't think so. We are happy!

Great answer and let's finish on that happy note. Thank you!