INES OGOREVC   •   13/07/2019

Last week, Mateja Grajzar entrusted us with her dance story, routine, inspiration and her signature move. If you have not seen / read part 1 yet, you can find it on the link. In the second part, she entrusted us with her challenges, some fun moments from the dance floor, she also made some tips for dancers and a challenge that you can try Groove by yourself.

Mateja, is there's any funny moment that you might want to share, and also a moment that is close to your heart, something special, something that has a special meaning for you.

In the past year funny moments with sunglasses have become my trademark:. I used to wear glasses, but now I don't anymore. But I wear sunglasses on top of my head all the time and I forget I have them. They have fallen off a million times, exactly these ones, they are still miraculously holding together. But just recently, for the final production with my co-teacher Sašo we recorded choreography for our class. Everyone was around us with their phones while we were dancing and of course, in one turn, the glasses flew off directly between us. We are still twisting around; choreography was made for this, I swear. Then came some sweeps, where you sweep a little underneath yourself with your foot, and I sweeped them away. Yeah, that was not an addition, it was actually in choreography. Right at that moment.

Now everybody will be throwing their glasses off.

Interesting, no one did this in the choreography.

Why? I mean... you have to ask them?!

You know what, maybe they said that one clown per act is enough, so...

Please describe a moment that is close to your heart, that has a special meaning for you?

Basically my first Balboa festival in Paris. At that time, I was dancing Balboa only for three months, I was really a beginner. There at the festival, I had a group of dancers and one Russian has been persuading me for three or two days: "Come on Mateja, go, go, go to the competition." He was talking about Jack & Jill competition, where you sign up by yourself, you draw your pair, your partner and just dance. You usually don't know each other, or sometimes you do, it depends. So I said to myself: "What will I do, I am a beginner, what will I do in the competition." Then I said, "Oh, come on, okay, it will be fun."

Were there dancers of all levels?

There were all levels, but the begginers didn't dare to do this, and basically the highest levels are the one that compete. And I said to myself: "All right, I'm going." And then in the evening, when they called up the finalists, I wouldn't be in the final. I didn't even listen very well and they called me a few times, my number and my name in French, because Mateja sounds like "Mateša" and obviously I didn't know that this is me and probably I didn't even notice that they were calling me. And the same happened once again, at one swing competition in Celje, as again I didn't  know and didn't hear it.

But both times, you actually placed in the finals...

Yes, I came to the finals. This was my first festival, the first competition, the complete beginnings.  We danced together with one French, we even won a medal. So, this is really a moment that will stay with me forever. I also met all of the dance teachers, which I listed earlier, at the festival for the first time. They were judging me and had such nice words to say to a beginner that I was completely in heaven.

Considering that moment, certainly one of the tips for beginners would be: "Try it out, compete..."

I advise them to not take the competition and performances so very seriously. I've always watched at all this as a party. I mean, we're not going to become world champions. It's a pleasure, fun and joy for me. I have never taken this so seriously and been nervous about it, because in fact I have never expected anything to happen. You just go there, to the preliminary competition and tell yourself "Ok, I’ll do something."

Great. Do you have any other advice for our readers, I mean dancers?

From one point of view I always say, we all have jobs and after work or before work or whatever, we need to relax. Whatever it is, whatever you find; some will lift the weightings, others will be spinning on their heels. You just need to enjoy and not take these things too seriously and it will be perfect, really. Groove taught me to start enjoying what it's given to you. If you don't like it, you have to do something and move on. Anyway, you have not carry on. For example, I am not a classic model of a dancer that work in dance, I am not a classic model of a dancer who competes or whatever, I am not a classic model of an athlete, but I am a sports coach...

Does a classic model for these things even exist?

Let's say, there are some standards; pretty, high, the waist must be tight, however. I've never been like that, but I've always wanted to move. When I realized, that I have a joy for giving forward this love for dancing, I didn't stop if someone looked at me a bit strange: "How does she teaches?" I have always taken this as something that I enjoy, that gives me energy, fills me with all the power I need after 8-10 hours behind the computer.

So my main advice: “Enjoy, just enjoy, find what you like and love yourself. Be yourself.”

What challenges do you still see for yourself in dance?

Yes, I can actually go forward from my last thought. As I said at the beginning, I was always looking for couple dancing, because if I have a partner next to me, I dare to express a lot of myself. I have more difficulty to express myself on my own, maybe because of my own limitations, which I drew in my head from the point of how I view myself, my figure, anything. Being alone on the dance floor, giving yourself that free path to move, because you think: "How should you look." Groove helped me a lot with that, to allow myself to be as I am, show what is my sign - this is how I dance, this is me. I still have a lot of work to do to dare more, to dare to leave my soul at dancing, that you can really dance your heart out.

You also prepared a small challenge for our dancers. Will you share what it is?

It will be in Groove-style; I can say like this - you can never do anything wrong in Groove, everything is allowed. I will show two moves in the next point. Anyway, you dance like you feel like doing it with your body. So, the first challenge I have for you is to take one of your favorite songs, put it on the headphones or on loudspeakers in your room and put the volume up. Until ten in the evening, the neighbors may be disturbed. Shut yourself in the room, where no one is watching. Don't look yourself in the mirror and just dance exactly the way you like it, because it is exactly the best way for you. This is the first challenge.

Ok, the second dance challenge: you will be dancing alongside Ines and me. We will be "groowing". So, I will show you three different moves, that we will be changing through the song. How anybody will dance it depends entirely on each individual. You don't need to look at us, don't even look at yourself in a mirror, just dance as it feels right for you. We will have three movements; the first will be like a squat or half squat; you go down, but you make like a spoon, down, up and you walk two steps. Down, up and two steps. This is one move, then the other one will be a little »shake, shake«. You shake a bit with your whole body as you feel, as much as you like. The third move is a bit more Latin; one, two, three, one, two, three... Let's see, how this will look.

Down, up, walk, walk. Down, up, walk, walk. The way you're going down, it only depends on you, you go down as much as you can. The more you go, better for you. Shaking... everywhere around you. A little attitude. One, two, three: one, two, three... You are using the whole space. One, two, three, one, two, three.

That's it. I hope you enjoyed together with us, go and dance, make a groove, let your heart dance.

Mateja, thank you very much for sharing your story with us.

Thanks for the invitation.

Thank you also for sharing the joy for Groove with dancers in Slovenia. I hope, we will see you soon on the dance floor.


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