We met Rolf-Andreas Laubert and Jeannette Seydich two days after they won the Senior Latin competition this year in Blackpool. This is a very new partnership and they were obviously very happy with the results. In the beginning Jeannette did not feel her English was good enough but we did not find it difficult to talk to her. She was such a cheerful person and laughed a lot. It was a pleasure to chat with them. Rolf and Jeannette dance for Germany and are German Senior Latin vice-champions. See their results page.
If I win [...] it is great. But if I don’t, it doesn’t matter, next day I will be back on the floor dancing again.
Let me begin with congratulations on winning this year’s Senior Latin competition. It was fantastic and I am sure you are happy today.
OK, lets’ start with the usual question: how and when did you start dancing?
[Rolf] I started dancing when I was nine in a dance school. I stayed there for, I think, the next ten years. I trained there as a dance teacher so I studied dancing for twenty years now. I danced in all the age categories in Amateur and then I turned Professional. I stopped dancing and had a break for eight years, nearly nine to raise a family. I have a boy and a girl. Now my wife says I am allowed to dance again (laughing). So I searched for a partner and now I am here with Jeannette.
Who was your first partner?
[Rolf] My first partner was a German girl called Sonia, I was nine and she was eight. We danced for nine years together and then she stopped dancing because it was too much. She didn’t want to train so much and I wanted to go higher and higher.
[Jeannette] I started when I was seven years old in a dance school. I started dancing the championships when I was eighteen. Before I only competed in my school. For two years I danced in the Professionals for Austria. When we split up I found another partner for shows. And then I met Rolf.
OK, so how did you meet?
[Rolf] Well, we are teachers too. We had few couples we both trained but we did not know about each other. And one of the couples mentioned to Jeannette that they know somebody really good and they said to me I should call her. So we talked over the phone and agreed to get together for try-out. It was perfect so we started dancing. It was nearly a year ago.
Only one year ago?
Rolf, I understand that you are married and obviously not to Jeannette
[Rolf] That’s right. And my wife is here, sitting over there (Jeannette is laughing!)
And you Jeannette?
[Jeannette] I am single! I am married to the dancesport!! (laughing)
So Rolf, is your wife going with you to the competitions?
[Rolf] Yes, whenever possible. As I said we have children so it is not always possible.
Keeping an eye on you? Or does she like dancing?
[Rolf] (laughing) She likes dancing. She is a dancer.
Tell me what do you like in each other dancing
[Rolf] We have lots of fun dancing together. And that connection between us. It felt good from the first moment, from the first try-out.
OK, what is your partner’s best quality?
[Rolf] She is the first woman in my life who can stand my power (laughing). Other ladies could not stand the power I give. It’s very good.
[Jeannette] I like this connection we have between each other. It is so important for me. It allows me to express myself on the floor. I can perform, I can dance and don’t need to worry. My partner is there for me.
So what about the bad points?
[Jeannette] Now, be careful about that! (laughing)
[Rolf] She is really good
Come on, there are no perfect people. There must be some faults!
[Rolf] Yes, but I will never tell! No really, for me she is a perfect partner so I do what I can. And it works
You are not being honest, I don’t believe it (laughing)
[Rolf] OK, one thing. Sometimes she wants too much, she gets stressed.
[Jeannette] But I am not upset with him, but with myself
So what are Rolf’s faults then?
[Jeannette] I don’t know…
[Rolf] Go on!
Aha, it is a fairy tale about two perfect people… Perhaps we should ask the wife? (Rolf’s wife says: he is too crazy!)
[Jeannette] Yes, he is crazy. He knows no limit. When he plans we must win Blackpool, than we do win Blackpool!
[Rolf] Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t!
What do you like about dancing most?
[Rolf] I love dancing, I love being on the floor all day, being in the dance halls, going to competitions. Just to be there. It is like a playground for me. I can do whatever I want on the dance floor. It is perfect for me.
In the word “dancesport” you have two elements: dance and sport
[Jeannette] That’s right
So which part is more important?
[Rolf] Definitely dance. If I win the championships it is great, of course. But if I don’t, it doesn’t matter, next day I will be back on the floor dancing again. It doesn’t matter whether I am first or sixth or out in the first round. I always try to do my best
Come on, I am sure you like winning
[Rolf] Well, of course it is nice. Everybody likes winning. Of course we always prepare
[Jeannette] We prepare but we don’t fight
[Rolf] The most important thing in dancing is body rhythm. This is working with the body to the music.
[Jeannette] Music is important
Why Latin not Ballroom?
[Rolf] I dance both normally.
[Jeannette] But I don’t dance Ballroom
[Rolf] Jeannette did not dance Ballroom so we decided to concentrate on Latin.
[Jeannette] I never had a chance to do Ballroom. My partners were only Latin dancers.
[Rolf] I did all 10 dances from the beginning
Can you tell me what each Latin dance means to you, how do you interpret them? In one word
[Rolf] Cha Cha is a game between a man and a woman
[Jeannette] Samba is all about body rhythm to me
[Rolf] Samba is Brazilian parade
[Jeannette] Rumba is feeling and emotions
[Rolf] Paso Doble – purity
[Jeannette] Paso Doble is shapes for me. Jive is party for me (laughing). It is our best dance.
So is Jive your favourite dance?
[Jeannette] It is special
[Rolf] I don't know. I like all the dances but maybe my body and mind remembers the time of my childhood. My parents always liked Rock & Roll, Elvis Presley and I always heard this music, since I was a little child. It played all the time and they danced around the table. My parents liked to party and still do (laughing).
How often do you practise?
[Rolf] Not as often as we would like. We live in different towns. She lives in Bochum and I am in Herford. It is about 130 km between us. We normally practise four times a week.
[Jeannette] We travel a lot.
Do you meet somewhere in the middle?
[Rolf] No, one day she comes to me. And another day I go to her.
So 130km one way and after practise you go back 130km again?
So your wife, Rolf, must be very understanding
[Rolf] Yes, she is. (Rolf’s wife adds: it is very difficult) We have to plan everything because Jeannette also has another job.
[Jeannette] I am a nurse
So you are not just a dance teacher?
[Jeannette] I am a nurse in Dialysis station and also teach dancing.
This is hard work!
[Jeannette] Yes it is, but better than in the hospital.
[Rolf] So every week we have to plan carefully.
[Jeannette] So we find time for practise. If I was working in a hospital that would be impossible.
[Rolf] It works somehow.
How are your children?
[Rolf] My son is seven and started school last year and my little girl is one and a half.
Oh I see, immediately when your daughter was born you decided you want to go back dancing!
[Rolf] It wasn’t like this! My wife said to me: if you want to dance, it is now or never. She said that she would stay home for a year or two with the baby and I have a chance to dance. She finished her studies and would take time off to be with the baby. After a year or two she would go to work, we will see.
Is your son into dancing?
[Rolf] No, he likes football.
Several couples we interviewed, men started with football and then moved into dancing. So you never know.
[Rolf] No, you never know
You just won Blackpool, what are your plans for the future?
[Rolf] We have the German national championships in two weeks’ time. We are preparing for this. Jeannette will stay in Blackpool for two more days and then, in Germany, we will start our preparation for the championships.
By the way, congratulations to Germany! Four couples in the Senior Latin final. It was funny when Markus Hilton compared it to football game between Bayern and Borussia – German teams fighting on British territory.
[Rolf] I think it was a first time ever, four German couples in the final.
And first two places went to Germany.
[Rolf] We will see how we are going to be placed at the national championships. It will be our first time (Rolf and Jeannette were placed 2nd behind Andreas Hoffman and Isabel Krüger who they won with in Blackpool)
Do you travel a lot for competitions as well?
[Rolf] Yes, we want to. We went to Helsinki ion February. It was the second competition we did. We really just started competing, three months ago.
I see, you have practiced last year and only recently started competing.
[Rolf] We will start serious planning after the nationals. At the moment, we just focus on that. We have some tournaments we want to go to but we will think about it later.
Tell me a little how you prepare for competitions. Do you follow any special diet?
[Rolf] Not at all. I like meat. I like everything really. We eat like everybody else.
[Jeannette] I eat normal food. I eat during the day and try not to eat anymore in the evening.
[Rolf] We go to the gym and exercise.
[Jeannette] Yes, we do keep fit
How do you find time for it between travelling and jobs and dancing?
[Jeannette] One hour maybe (laughing)
[Rolf] We don't have much time but when you like what you do you use every minute to do it.
You mentioned that you were a Professional before?
[Rolf] Yes, both of us
Why did you come back to dance in Seniors?
[Rolf] I had a long break from dancing. Eight years. I took time off to spend with my family. My little boy was born and it was the most important thing to me. But when I could come back I did that. I did not want to start in a group of people who are in their early twenties. I believe that the body and movements change between 30-35 or at least looks different. So we enjoy to be on the floor with dancers who are our age.
Thank you very much! See you in German Open in August. Good luck at the nationals!
All photos taken by Peter Suba