This week, she shared with us her inspirations, moments from the dancefloor, signature move and also shared some tips for the people who are still deciding to start to dance or not. She has also prepared a dance challenge so you can try reggaeton moves by yourself.
Where do you find inspiration for yourself? From dancers or somewhere else?
I learn the most at festivals I attend. These are afro-cuban and sensual festivals. My idol has always been Diana Rodriguez. If possible, I go to her workshops as much as possible. She is definitely my inspiration. I try to move the way she does, though I can't. She is one of the top dancers for me. Also Osmani Segura, who has come out of nowhere in recent years and has expanded internationally, he is top of the top. Also Yoyo Flow.... There are some really good ones that I still intend to learn from. You meet these instructors at festivals and these festivals are still in my plans. I learn the most at festivals and workshops. It's my inspiration when I see, what a person can do with their body, what isolation, what movement... That's when I know that I still have space to grow, that I can go forward and work more on myself.
Dance is also constantly evolving and it never ends.
What about some moments in dance; can you tell us about a funny thing that happened to you on the dance floor?
The first one that comes to mind is, when we were at the festival Cubanero. If Ivan heared this, he would be dying with laughter. That was maybe five or six years ago, at that time I only knew reggaeton and salsa. I saw a man dancing really well and I invited him to dance. Today I know, that he was and still is a real rumbero. So, I watched him and he was doing a bunch of things with some handkerchief. I had no clue, what he was doing. I was dancing reggaeton, knees apart, shaking my shoulders... It was a lot of fun for him, but I didn't understand why. I thought, he really liked dancing with me or that I was a really fun person. Later, I learned that we were actually dancing rumba and he was throwing »vacunas« at me, and I was opening instead of closing. This was Ivan from Montenegro, a very famous rumbero. Everyone knows he's the real rumbero - rumbero. We still laugh about it. It was basically rumba, but I danced reggaeton. So that was one of the fun moments, very shameful for me at that time, but today I can laugh about it. There has to be moments like this, that you never forget about it.
What about a meaningful moment, which meant something more to you?
There have been so many in those years, it's hard to say which. Maybe when I was at Afro-cuban festival in Koper, where I first encountered cuban salsa. Leysis Smith invited me on stage to dance with her and to record a video. I was fascinated, how did she spotted me from the whole crowd, the beginner in it all this. At festivals you have different levels of dancers, from worse to good. I like to remember this and it was my motivation to continue on. If at that moment, when I am barely beginning, I can be noticed by someone that means something and is so good, then I guess I have some potential and it makes sense for me to develop in this direction.
Is there anything you have learned in dance and applied it to your everyday life?
I still learn a lot while dancing. Eventhough I prefer to dance solo - reggaeton, I'm also teaching dance in couple, I daily learn to cooperate with dance partners and with men on the dance floor. I learned to have nerves of steel and that sometimes you have to suck it up.
Even with my job, where I carry a lot of responsibilities, dancing saves me from all the stress. Not only to forget about work and going to dance, but more and more I try to integrate that relaxation into the business process as well. Considering the hectic and choleric we all experience in our daily lives, I feel like dancing can help you relax. If nothing else, you think about dance and say: "It's all about dancing in the end." Dancing gives you a lot, especially if you have a stressful lifestyle.
Would you have any advice for dancers or people who are deciding to maybe start to dance?
If you ever think you're not good at dancing, give it a try first. So many times our students come and say: “Oh my gosh, this is not for me.” Or they come to first, second or third class and I have to take a deep breath because I see that it will take a lot of work. But when people insist and you see that will and progress... I also explain it at reggaeton classes: when girls (also more and more boys), come to the first and second class of reggaeton, they can't even look at themselves in the mirror because they feel uncomfortable. They look at me, at each other or around. I always tell them: »You are here to learn. If you would had known how to do it, you wouldn't have come. Try to relax, you'll get used to it. Look in the mirror, observe your body and you will see what it's capable of.« After a couple of classes, it happens: »Tjaša, I didn't know that I can do this, that I have these muscles, I didn't know I can move only with my shoulders, that I can only move with my chest, that I can move my hips...« The worst is, if someone at the beginning blocks themselfs and thinks: »This isn't for me, I am not capable.« Come, try, insist and then decide that it's not for you. They should try, because they have no idea what dance can give them and how it can change their lives. You have athletes, boxers, for example, who never dreamed of finding themselves in dance.
If you ask Marin, my bachata partner, today he will tell you that dancing has changed his life. Also mine, and is still making it better, more beautiful. Never say, that you are not a dancer or that you can't. Come and try, after a few months if you will see that it's not your thing; at least you tried. But don't limit yourself right from the start. There are no words to describe how much dancing can give you. You just have to try and experience it. It's unlimited, no boundaries. And when you think you know some things, you see that you have a bunch of other options and that the spectrum is wide. There are so many dance genres, dance beats... Dance, music, it's a miracle. I don't think that there is a person who would remain intangible when they surrender to some music or dance and that it wouldn't touch them even a bit. I don’t buy it.
There is a dance style for everyone, but everyone has to find the right one for themselves, depending on their musical taste and movement.
That's right. You also have people, who don't like to be touched; such may go to solo dance classes. Maybe they'll see, that the touch is not so bad and will later come to dance in couple with no problem. So, everyone should give it a try, if they have the chance. You do have opportunities everywhere and at any time, so don't hesitate; dance, action.
Tjaša, what would be your signature move? A movement that you always do or are recognized by?
Marin (from the background): The fastest booty in town.
I don't know if this has a positive or negative connotation, but it's often a joke. They like to joke about this.
But for reggaeton, that is very commendable.
For reggaeton this is great. I have to think it through many times in my life; as one is the business world, the other is the world of my love - dance. Sometimes they don't fit together. If someone in the business world tells you something like that, it's a little weird.
But I hear it many times, so maybe my signature move really would be booty shaking.
Tjaša, you also prepared a short dance challenge for our dancers.
If the path brings you to Maribor, come to our place, to Dance studio S. A bit of advertisement.
No, seriously. In Maribor, the scene isn't as good, as it was years ago, so we are really working hard to raise it. Considering reggaeton, we have a pretty good level. We are definitely trying, organizing parties and workshops. We also have some events planned in the near future. Welcome to Maribor to Dance Studio S.
Tjaša, thank you so much for taking the time for the interview, especially as you are in a hurry to class.
To bachata sensual workshop. It doesn't fit with cuban salsa and reggaeton, but anyway. Now we have bachata sensual.
Now also in Ljubljana.
Yes, on Tuesdays, and soon maybe reggaeton as well.
Follow Dancer's life and soon we'll announce Tjaša’s event.
Once again Tjaša, thank you so much and I wish you a lot of successes, enjoy and dance. We'll definitely see you soon.
Thank you for your invitation. Enjoy, dance and let as many people as possible dance with us.
Bye, see you.