Interview with Eric Chi-Lok Wong and Teresa Kit-Yiu Shum
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Interview with Eric Chi-Lok Wong and Teresa Kit-Yiu Shum

Paskelbė ketvirtadienis, 01 Rgp 2019, 09:23 : admin
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We talked to Eric Chi-Lok Wong and Teresa Kit-Yiu Shum from Hong Kong, the winners of Over50 Latin in Blackpool 2019. Eric Chi-Lok does not speak English and his partner kindly translated all the questions and answers from Cantonese to English for us.

Let me start with congratulations for winning this event this year. You must be happy with this result as last year you were 2nd. Petri and Ulla Jarvinen are not so happy I guess...

Teresa Kit-Yiu: Well, they won this title few times before.

Can you please tell me why and when you started dancing?

Eric Chi-Lok: I started around 2000 with Latin. But I was a dancer long time before that. I did backup dancing for various pop music stars and travelled the world with bands. Dance was always a big part of my life.

Oh, wow! But you did not dance competitively?

Eric Chi-Lok: No. I got involved in Latin dancing in 2000, and had few partners but we did not compete internationally. We danced in some local competitions in Hong Kong.

So you are both from Hong Kong?

Teresa Kit-Yiu: Yes

Has it made a difference for you, from dancing perspective, when Hong Kong became part of China?

Eric Chi-Lok: No, not really. However, since we became part of China there is more Chinese influence, more Professional couples from China come to teach. So the dancing market has opened more, not just to the couples and teachers from the West but also from the mainland China. Top teachers from China regularly come to teach.

OK, I see. Do you work in dancing business?

Eric Chi-Lok: No, I am a hair-stylist.

Teresa Kit-Yiu: Yes, it is a good thing he can do my hair before the competition (laughing)!

How did you meet?

Teresa Kit-Yiu: I was an accountant, and then started working in the fashion industry as a brand manager. Not much to do with dancing. As a kid I took some ballet lessons, and did some dancing at the University. I did not come across Latin dancing until 2000 when it became quite popular in Hong Kong. So I met some people who were involved in dancing. And, in 2004, one of them introduced me to him because I wanted to learn Latin.

So he is your first partner?

Teresa Kit-Yiu: Yes, the only partner and teacher, because he was my teacher first. I took private lessons with him because he learned Latin before me. At the time I took lessons with him he was without a partner. I guess he saw a potential in me (laughing). And that's how we started thinking about competing together.

When was your first competition together?

Teresa Kit-Yiu: In 2005, after five months of lessons together. We also started going for lessons to his teachers, we had our first routines set. So we have been dancing together for many years now. Fifteen years.

Is Chi-Lok always quiet or is it because of his English?

Teresa Kit-Yiu: (laughing) No, no! If you were speaking Cantonese he will be talking non-stop about very many things!

I wish I could! (laughing) If you don't mind me saying you started dancing quite late in life...

Teresa Kit-Yiu: Yes, we are in Over50 category now, and I was already forty years old when I started (laughing).

Eric Chi-Lok: I am one year older

So you have both started in Seniors?

Teresa Kit-Yiu: yes

What do you like about dancing?

Eric Chi-Lok: It helps me to stay fit, and it boosts confidence.

You had a big confidence boost yesterday!

Teresa Kit-Yiu: Yes, indeed

What is more important: competing or performance?

Eric Chi-Lok: For me, competition. I love winning, I want to be the first (laughing)

Teresa Kit-Yiu: For me, definitely the art

What do you like about each other?

Eric Chi-Lok: I feel really happy dancing with her. You need a good partner for Latin dancing, and I am lucky to have one (laughing).

Are you saying it could be anybody??

Eric Chi-Lok: No, I am saying that we are very compatible, in both character and dancing. So I feel lucky.

So what are you not happy about?

Eric Chi-Lok: When we practice together there are always some issues, some disagreements and that can lead to arguments. I guess this is not unusual, every couple has some disagreements.

Is this always about dancing though?

Eric Chi-Lok: Well, everyone is different, and a mix of good and not as good points. When you spend so much time together you need to appreciate the good points and accept what is not so good.

Teresa Kit-Yiu: Will I have a chance to say my part (laughing)??

Of course, now your turn.

Teresa Kit-Yiu: What I like about him is that he is a very artistic person. His brain works really fast (laughing). I am one of these people who always follows the book but he is more creative, with lateral thinking. I think we are a good match. I like the fact that I can rely on his instincts.

Is it instinct or knowledge?

Teresa Kit-Yiu: Well, we have the same knowledge, we see the same teachers. Actually, maybe I have a better knowledge because when we have lessons with the Western teachers I do the translation. So perhaps I absorb more, knowledge-wise I am stronger. But instinct-wise... you know, to be able to improvise, to react to a particular situation, it needs some intuition, instinct. And he is better in that. I like that I can rely on him.

What don't you like about him?

Teresa Kit-Yiu: Of course, I don't like when he complains about me when we practise. Apparently it is my fault when there is a connection problem, or posture... Sometimes it is too much! (laughing)

What do you like to eat?

Teresa Kit-Yiu: Chinese food (laughing). Cantonese, Sichuan, all Chinese foods. But, because of the dancing, we have to stay healthy and fit we have to watch what we eat. You know, in China the staple food is rice. Lots of it. So we stay away from rice and eat steamed fish and vegetables. Chinese cooking is famous for steam cooking things like prawn or fish, with very little oil, and that's healthy and fresh.

Eric Chi-Lok: Definitely steamed seafood.

Teresa Kit-Yiu: Now that you mentioned it, my favourite is Peking duck. I try to stay away from fried foods so I forgot about it (laughing).

Who is talking care of organising tickets, hotels?

Teresa Kit-Yiu: Definitely me. I am the manager in this team. I book lessons, select competitions we go to, organise the travel.

Each dance has a different character, each needs a different interpretation. What is the difference, for instance, between Cha Cha and Rumba?

Eric Chi-Lok: Cha Cha is fast and Rumba is slow (laughing). Simple.

Teresa Kit-Yiu: For me Cha Cha is fun and playful, Samba is carnival dance, I always imagine dancing on the table with fruits on my head (laughing). Some people day that Rumba is about passion but for me is more about seduction. It is about teasing. Paso Doble is his favourite dance because it is about male dominance (laughing).

What do you do in your free time?

Eric Chi-Lok: Watching dance videos (laughing) on YouTube.

Come on, for fun?

Teresa Kit-Yiu: He likes just watching YouTube. Only dancing. I like gym, I want to keep fit. I used to play golf but it means taking the whole day off... and it means too much sun, so I rather take time to practise dance.

Do you read books, do you go to the cinema sometimes?

Teresa Kit-Yiu: Yes, sometimes

Eric Chi-Lok: For me, it is only hair and dancing (laughing).

Teresa Kit-Yiu: There are not many interesting things to do in Hong Kong because it is a city... It is not like in England where you can take a car and travel spend the weekend on the beach or go and spend a day in the countryside... Actually, when people in Hong Kong have time they go to another country, even for a short break for shopping or to relax.

Where to?

Teresa Kit-Yiu: Thailand or Japan. Because in Hong Kong you cannot do much other than shopping, eating and maybe a cinema from time to time.

How do you see your future in dancing? Teaching maybe?

Eric Chi-Lok: I will still do hairdressing, dancing is mostly for fun for me. I do it because I really like it.

Teresa Kit-Yiu: I already retired from my day job so I am a full-time dancer.

Have you retired so early?

Teresa Kit-Yiu: Yes, I love dancing so I took early retirement to be able to spend time on practising, dancing. Dancing is now my life. There are no jobs which will give me enough time for my dancing (laughing). For money, you know, you can always invest on stock market. So there is always some source of income which gives me enough to enable me to dance.

Dancing is expensive. How do you fund your dancing?

Eric Chi-Lok: I have other income, I am a hair-stylist and one of the owners of the salon. I manage.

Teresa Kit-Yiu: He's got enough money. I never asked where from (laughing). I have some income from properties which I rent out, some investment in stock market...

You are dancing together for fifteen years now, yet you don't know much about each other (laughing)

Teresa Kit-Yiu: I only realised that now (laughing)! Maybe because most of the time we spend together is dance practice. Even when we have a dinner together, after lessons, we talk about dancing.

Don't you talk about your private lives?

Teresa Kit-Yiu: Very little.

Do you have families, children?

Teresa Kit-Yiu: We are not together in private life. We tried to avoid that (laughing). Seriously, we have families and our respective life partners support us to do what we want.

When will you be back to Europe again?

Teresa Kit-Yiu: We have not thought about that yet. Coming to Europe for us is very expensive and requires a lot of energy because of the time difference. So we are not always in our best shape. Sometimes it is lack of sleep at night or there is something with the weather, or food.

What is the time difference between Hong Kong and Europe?

Teresa Kit-Yiu: It is eight hours but the flight is thirteen hours. It affect you, you need to adjust. So every time we come here we are not in our best shape.

Did you dance any other competition in Europe or was it just Blackpool?

Teresa Kit-Yiu: Only Blackpool, so far. All the top couples come here, right? I always felt there is something magical about the Wintergardens, the dance floor, the place. There is something very unique with the music.

Do you have any other interest or hobbies outside of dancing?

Eric Chi-Lok: Not really, no.

Teresa Kit-Yiu: I like practising calligraphy. Not the Chinese one, but the Western one. I always felt it was something special in being able to write beautifully (laughing)

Wow, it is something unusual!

Teresa Kit-Yiu: I always thought that in the past life I must have been British, not Chinese, because I love all the things about royalty, all the tapestries, décor. I love to collect vintage pieces.

Who designs your dresses?

Teresa Kit-Yiu: We have somebody in Hong Kong. The one I am wearing this time is from our teacher, Viktorija Horeva. We actually always took her advice of what we should be wearing, what looks best on us. It is important especially for the big competitions.

OK, thank you for meeting with us. Hope to see you soon on the dance floor.