Dressed in a vivid green, layered skirt, Anna Jonczyk ’19 and her ballroom partner, Dennis Matveev, performed a quickstep, a light-hearted ballroom dance, at USA Dance Nationals last April to secure a spot at Youth Ten Dance Worlds. After three months of partnership, Jonczyk and Matveev qualified for last December’s World Championships in Latvia and this weekend’s Russian Open Championships in Moscow, Russia.
Joncyzk said, “[Preparation for Worlds is] definitely more strenuous than usual,” said Jonczyk. “Usually if it’s a small competition, we have to work on technique and footwork and body action, but right now, we don’t have enough time for that. We only have time for quick fixes like eye contact, connections, our energy, our speed, and stuff like that… We’re planning on dancing a lot at Worlds, so we have to be physically prepared.”
Even though Jonczyk has been practicing and preparing for this event since she first became interested in ballroom dancing, she can’t help but be nervous about the upcoming competition.
“This is my first World Championships I’ve ever competed at… I never expected myself to ever get this far. When I was a six-year-old starting [ballroom dancing], I just thought it would be a hobby. I had no idea that it would become such a prominent part of my life, and that I would ever be good enough to compete at Worlds,” said Jonczyk.
Jonczyk began her dancing career at the age of four. She started taking classes for ballet, tap, modern, and jazz dance, but after two years of feeling restricted by the limitations of these genres, she began ballroom dancing. Jonczyk’s peers describe her as energetic and outgoing, but also recognize her passion and dedication in every aspect of her dance career.
Florence Grenon ’19, a friend of Jonczyk, said, “I see her personality every day. She’s a rambunctious girl, but seeing her dance — it’s a different side of her… She’s very passionate and happy about what she does.”
Now, Jonczyk dances for three hours on weekdays and up to eight hours on weekends, a schedule necessary to prepare for competitions, but leaving little room for other activities including schoolwork.
“It’s become such a big part of my life that I can’t imagine not doing it, even though Andover is a really hard place… Obviously the curriculum is very hard, but [my dancing] is something I have to keep separate from the school, which at times is very difficult. I’ve managed it for the past two years, so I hope to keep it going,” Jonczyk said.