Back in 2014, we paired up for an aerials class. We realised that we had a great dance connection, and our partnership blossomed from there. Together we have danced Lindy Hop in a professional capacity, teaching and performing at various events in the South East of the UK. During this time Ilona was also involved in choreographing and dancing with a vintage Chorus Line troupe.
In 2015 we discovered Balboa; Ilona fell in love, Matthew wasn’t sure (but he loves it now). We have been travelling around Europe to refine our skill and technique. We love the smoothness and subtlety of movement, and have a passion for moving around the dance floor as one. Occasionally we get the chance to compete at various European events. See posts from where we’ve been for some videos of us!
We believe that a connection to the music as well as to each other is absolutely essential, so having always loved Boogie Woogie music, in 2019 we took up Boogie Woogie dancing. We love the joy that sparks from the energetic music, and this inspires our movements.
Ilona’s Dance History
Russian Ballet, Irish Dancing, Tap, Jazz, Rock ‘n’ Roll, Ballroom & Latin, Belly Dance, Lindy Hop, Chorus Line, Balboa, Boogie Woogie.
I like to say that I’ve been dancing since the age of minus 1, as my mother is a Rock ‘n’ Roll and Lindy Hop dancer, and she would dance while she was pregnant with me! But apart from that, I started classes in Russian Ballet, Tap and Jazz as soon as I was able to walk. All the way through my childhood, my mother would take me along to dance camps with her, so I learnt all about connection in partner dancing. With that knowledge, I took up Ballroom and Latin dancing – but this still wasn’t as inspiring as Swing Dance, so I didn’t stick with it for very long. In my teenage years, I rebelled, gave up partner dancing and took up Belly Dance instead. I quickly became very proficient and started choreographing and performing in shows around London. Unfortunately, due to a hip injury I had to give this up. I soon realised that I couldn’t live without dancing, so I went back to Swing Dance and met Matthew. This is when our partnership started.
Ilona’s Dance Values
I particularly value elegance and grace in dancing, and believe the best dancing happens when you move your body in a way that complements your natural body muscle mechanics.
Matthew’s Dance History
Amateur Dramatics, Jazz, Tap, Modern, Lindy Hop, Balboa, Boogie Woogie.
When I was 10, I starred as a Lost Boy in the local pantomime adaptation of Peter Pan, where I discovered that most of the other Lost Boys were all members of a local dance school. Once the show’s run was over, I joined the school, where I took up Tap, Modern and Jazz classes. I also joined the youth wing of the local amateur dramatics society to scratch the acting itch. Alas, in my teenage years, I decided to drop these pursuits in favour of “cooler” things, such as drinking and playing the drums, and then I went to university where I forgot about dancing altogether.
Many years later, when I was searching for something new in my life, I bumped into some people on the London Underground who were discussing Lindy Hop, and I knew right then and there it was something I wanted to do.
It wasn’t long before I was introduced to Balboa, but it took a long time for me to internalise it as “my” dance. Over time I grew to love it, as I began to understand how much fun it can be, especially when interpreting the music and the movement of my partner.
The same was true for Boogie Woogie. It felt too close to Lindy Hop, and I couldn’t understand why Ilona wanted to dance it so much. However, as I started separating the dances musically, I began to fully appreciate how my movement differed, and thus I fell in love with it.
Matthew’s Dance Values
I am all about the musicality. I believe the best musicality comes from an equal partnership through which I can feel the music.