We talked to Lukasz Tomczak and Aleksandra Jurczak on Monday, 2 days after they won the Professional Rising Star Ballroom in Blackpool 2016. This is the second interview we have with Lukasz and Ola, but because there are major changes in their lives since last time we talked, we decided to get them to tell us what plans they have and what is different now.
In Professional dancing simplicity is valued, there is no place for gimmicks, there is no place for tricks
OK, let me congratulate you on winning this event. You won the UK Open Amateur Rising Stars 6 years ago, in 2010 and we spoke then.
Lukasz: Thank you! It is nice to meet you again after 6 years (laughing)
Aleksandra: Oh, come on, we spoke in the meantime.
Of course we did. But tell me what has changed since.
Lukasz: There are lot of changes. First of all, the biggest change for us was to move from Amateur to Professional field. We are very happy as we feel that we fulfilled our Amateur career. We succeeded in becoming World championships runners-up. European runners-up and medallists or finalists in all the other major competitions. So, now, we decided it is time to move up and start a new chapter in our life which is a Professional career.
Aleksandra: We can say that six years ago we were young, fresh Amateurs, now we are fresh Professionals.
I have heard another news.... And that is certainly a big change in any couple's life.
Lukasz: I also heard the same gossip (laughing). Yes, I can confirm that on the 30th July, Aleksandra and I are getting married. The wedding will be in Poland, in Warsaw. We are very happy and really excited about this.
Aleksandra: Two days ago we won the Rising Stars and it was of course the 30th May. Exactly two months after that we will go through another great moment, so it look like the 30th is a lucky day for us.
Lukasz: And the 30th of August is my birthday (laughing).
Why did you decide to get married?
Lukasz: We love each other, we believe in values such as family, and we want to be together.
That's why I asked, because you obviously have been very close together for many years now anyway.
Aleksandra: Yes, we have been together for ten years. We have been engaged for three years, so we felt it was the right time to move to the next chapter in our life, to get married. We feel we need some changes in our life. We needed to move forward, hence changing into Professional field in dancing and also change in private life.
Why is marriage is important?
Lukasz: We strongly believe in the value of marriage and family. It probably doesn't mean anything changes between us, other that Ola's surname (laughing). But we will create a family, and our families will be together as well. It is very important for us.
What else has changed in your life?
Aleksandra: We finished our University studies in Warsaw School of Economics. We've done the diploma in Management of Real Estate which we are really proud of because it was really hard to combine both dancing and studies. We are happy we managed.
Lukasz: I think it is worth mentioning we graduated from the most prestigious school of Economy in Poland. And we did a normal, daytime, full course, not a one you can do at the weekends. We think that having that kind of education can be really helpful for us in the future, whether we remain dancing or not.
Did the professors know about your dancing?
Aleksandra: Some of them knew, but not all of them
Lukasz: To be honest, they did not care. They did not treat us any special, we were treated as any other students and they expected no less from us. Sometimes we were given some freedom with exam dates to choose from, therefore allowing some leeway for us. That was the only advantage given.
Aleksandra: We had a scholarship from the Warsaw School of Economics. It wasn't a huge amount of money but it was a help.
Lukasz: It was really nice because it shown that they appreciate our good grades while having another passion.
OK, back to dancing. Why becoming Professional made a difference for you?
Lukasz: The difference is the attitude towards dancing, and the style of dancing. We believe that Professional dancing is much more mature. Quality becomes a much more important value. Simplicity is valued, there is no place for gimmicks, for tricks. It is just pure dancing, which we believed in from the very early days of our career and were trained that way. The other things is, you decide to focus completely on dancing.
Aleksandra: In the past, the difference might have been about being allowed to earn money from dancing. As Amateur, you were not allowed to treat your dancing as business. Nowadays, it is not about the business, the teaching and earning money but it is about your own career.
Lukasz: When we made that decision we did not calculate, we did not think about the money, the placings or results, we listened to ourselves and discussed it among ourselves. We both felt very strongly it was the field we want to move to and this is what we both want.
Have you changed anything in your choreography?
Lukasz: Not at all. Not even one step.
Has the way you dance changed?
Aleksandra: How? (Laughing)
Thank you very much (laughing). Exactly, how?
Aleksandra: To be honest, while dancing on Monday, we did not feel under pressure. We felt some kind of relief. I don't know why. We have been in the finals of Blackpool for the last five years, and it was a massive success. But somehow, on Monday, we felt more open, freer... And people noticed it because many of them came to us after the competition and commented on that. They said, we were dancing differently, we looked more alive, and there was a sparkle. I don't know, perhaps we fit that style better, or perhaps it was just that one night. But it felt so much better.
Lukasz: For me, I had that feeling you get sometimes... that you are in the right place and at the right moment. I feel this is the right place and the right field for us. So no pressure, pure joy. I felt I could show off, I could relax, I could dance the way I wanted.
Aleksandra: It was also a first time for a long time, when we did not plan where we will finish. We had no expectations. We couldn't count or calculate anything, it did not matter as we were totally new to it. We could just dance.
Lukasz: You start from fresh, everything is new, and everything is a surprise. It was really enjoyable. I think all of this made us dance differently. We could just focus on ourselves, on doing our thing.
Are you saying that in Professionals you can express yourselves more?
Aleksandra: Certainly, it felt like it for us. Not sure if it is the same for everybody.
I've heard some your Amateurs commenting that Professionals dance slower because they are too old to do it fast (laughing)...
Aleksandra: Oh no, we don't feel old. Yet!
Lukasz: Since I turned Professional I started feeling pains in my back, and my leg aches (laughing). Barely made it to the hotel (laughing). Joking of course.
Aleksandra: Our decision was not based on our age. Not at all.
Lukasz: We are still quite young, we are both 28 years old.
Back to the subject of marriage. Lukasz, how did you propose?
Aleksandra: He doesn't remember, it was during a very good party (laughing).
Lukasz: I was drunk (laughing)... No, not really. It was romantic, but I like to play safe, so I had to have everything planned. And this is not a joke anymore. I hired a private plane. There was only us and the pilot, and during the flight, high in the air, I asked her to be mine. So she had no choice to escape!
Aleksandra: It was three years ago, and it was one of the best days in my life! I remember every moment of it.
Wow! Did you expect it?
Aleksandra: Not at all.
You did not suspect anything?
Aleksandra: No, it was a big surprise, because he organised everything so perfectly. In fact, it was very clever. Our good friend just got his pilot's licence and he called me and said, "Ola, I can get a plane and we will fly over Warsaw, would you like it?" So, I agreed as it felt really natural that he called and asked.
Lukasz: She did not know that two or three weeks earlier I called him and arranged it all with him. It was all planned. I actually hired a plane for him to fly. After receiving that call from him, Ola phoned me and said, what a fantastic opportunity we have and she invited me on board!
How cunning! And of course you agreed... (laughing)
Lukasz: Yes! Imagine how stunned she was when I proposed.
Aleksandra: My family came to Warsaw as well.
Lukasz: They did not know. I invited my family, and her family, to come to the dinner party and pretended it was an anniversary of our graduation, which was a very important for both of us. All Ola's family came. Nobody had any clue. Ola did not know the family was going to be there either. So that was a second part of that day I planned, the big surprise for our families as well. We finished the day with the third surprise for Ola, our friends threw us a big party in the evening at our house.
Aleksandra: He organised it all, with some help from our best friend.
Lukasz: As you can see, we like to create little, nice moments in our lives. We believe that the life is all about these wonderful moments you treasure for ever. When you feel that joy, and these joyous moments happen often, it becomes your nature, you are a happy person.
Did you give her a ring?
Lukasz: Of course
Aleksandra: That was three years ago, I need another ring now (laughing). A wedding ring will be perfect.
Plans for children in the near future?
Lukasz: No, no, enough changes for 2016! We became Professionals, and will get married, and that's it for this year (laughing). We are not planning kids at the moment.
Aleksandra: In the future, not now.
But eventually, you are planning to have one or two, or three, or more?
Aleksandra: We will see what the life brings.
Lukasz: You know, life is so unpredictable, better not to plan things like that!
Thank you very much, we wish you all the happiness in the future!
Photos taken on the day by Peter Suba