Dance world is full of various dance stories, from people who dance only for fun to those who seriously train and compete, from dance teachers to choreographers, from festival organizers to dance school owners. Stories diversify depending on the style someone dances and whether they prefer dancing in pairs or dancing by themselves. The dance has so many different shades and every dancer carries his dance story, which is not reflected solely in their dance, but also in their everyday life. But in the end, all dance stories share one great love, love for dance.
In the 8th interview of Dancer's Life Stories, we will get to know the story of Tian Čehič, who in his early twenties has already achieved several dance titles, nationally and globally.
Tian, where did your dance story begin, what stages did it go through?
When I talk to my co-dancers, it seems that I started dance quite late. I started at the age of nine, because I was looking for a sport that I would practice intensively. I tried everything, from karate to swimming and finally spontaneously landed in dance. I have been dancing since I was nine and I started competing very early. I was in the recreation group only for a year, but then I switched to competition and immediately decided on jazz. Hip-hop seemed too fast and too dynamic, my body and brain seemed unable to do it. Jazz was a little calmer, fun enough and on popular music, so my decision was made. I've been competing for about ten years. Soon enough I developed all three genres of art discipline, so I compete in jazz, show dance and modern. There have been a lot of performances and competitions over the years, which brought experience and titles.
Which title means the most to you?
Each and every one title means a lot to me, mainly because I went a step up each year. I'm not a dancer who reached the highest title already in childhood, but I did get a step higher every year. I am very proud of how I persevered and progressed each year, technically and dancing in general, success came and great results as well. I am most proud of last year, when I became the world solo champion, and also of the year 2015, when I stepped on the podium for the first time - I was third among jazz solo members at the Jazz world cup. It was my first year as a member and I was already on the podium, so that really meant a lot to me.
Congratulations. Your everyday dance routine probably looks very active. Could you tell us what it looks like, how often do you train?
The mornings are reserved for my solo-duo workouts, I dance in pairs with Petra Ravbar and Anja Jeršan. We train and create new duets, because it takes more time for duos than for a solo, because of all those connections and lifts. With my trainer Matevž Česen we also train solos. He is my show dance choreographer and I am my own jazz and modern choreographer. Matevž trains me in everything, because it is difficult to push yourself, maybe till some point, but to be in the best shape it is great to have someone to push you further.
The afternoons are reserved for my dancers. For the last three or four years I have been a trainer at Bolero dance center. I have some junior and senior members and also a member team, a formation that I train on regular basis. The late afternoons and evenings are again for my group training, where coach is Matevž.
What is right now your biggest challenge in dance?
It seems like dancing has never been a real challenge for me. I tried to do everything spontaneously, I enjoyed it very much from the beginning. Currently, it is really hard to find the balance between my coaching and competitive path, because I am still a very active competitor. It means a lot to me that I am becoming a choreographer and a coach, so at the moment my biggest challenge is to navigate the teaching and competing at once. I want time for everything, but there are not enough hours in the day so lack of sleep is inevitable.
You have achieved one of the highest titles - world champion. Is there any other competition you would like to go to or try out? Maybe World of dance or something like that?
Since I was a kid, I really wanted to participate in the show So You Think You Can Dance, it has been my wish since always. I still watch every season, all the shows, all the episodes, all the dances. It's still a hidden wish and we'll see, if it ever comes true. For the past few years, since World of Dance came out and great performances and choreographies have been shown, it has been my desire to perform there too. It's a bit more achievable, because you can present yourself also as a choreographer, not just a dancer. With co-dancer Petra Ravbar we are a very well-established team, we are recording a lot of videos, choreographing various performances, competitive and others on Slovenian stages. These schedules are overlapping with our competitions and World of dance auditions. When we manage to coordinate that, one of our desires is to try ourselves out there as dancers, or maybe just as choreographers.
You train in Slovenia and also some workshops abroad. Is there any specific difference between Slovenian and foreign dance scene, between the way of training, etc.?
I think that we Slovenians are very much a dance nation, which can be seen in competitions. I notice it, because I am in it myself. That we are a dance nation is shown in the titles, in high quality dance and also in workshops abroad. There it's seen that the level of dance is slightly lower, but that is why the dancers try so much harder to be noticed, as they still have a chance. Some dancers in Slovenia already have their path and recognition, but abroad they really have to fight for their place. This is difficult in Slovenia, because there are so many successful dancers. Abroad, they struggle in workshops, they are a bit worst in technique, but have a very strong enthusiasm. We are already aware, that we are successful and technically good dancers, but we need to see this enthusiasm in trainings and workshops, not just in competitions.
To be continued…