Creating Ballroom Hair & Make-up - Boyko Ivanov

Ballroom Chat: Episode #41March 03, 2021

Boyko Ivanov is a former youth 10-dancer, who started creating hair and make-up looks for ballroom dancers after moving to the United States. 15 years later, the name Boyko & Co. is synonomous with some of the top looks and trends for styling ballroom dancers. Boyko sits down to chat with Samantha about discovering his passion for dance and later hair and make-up. He discussing his pursuit of beauty, and why coping trends is only a short term solution to a long term problem.

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Episode Transcript

Our transcripts are automatically generated from our audio podcast with only small modifications for readability. Since the transcripts are automatically generated from our podcast conversation, they will contain errors.

Samantha: [00:00:00] Back to another episode of Ballroom Chat, the podcast dedicated to sharing the dance journey. I'm your host, Samantha with Love Live Dance. Today I'm joined by Boyko Ivanov. If you are in the dance industry, especially the competitive industry, you already know the name Boyko. It is tied to Boyko and Co. hair and makeup extraordinaire.

I had the opportunity to sit down and chat with him about how he got his start as a ballroom dancer and how luck would have it, he found his passion in the hair and makeup artistry industry. We also talked about finding your inner beauty how to feel confident and powerful on the dance floor, and how to avoid copying trend styles, and find your own statementwhen it comes to your individual look for competitive or performance dance. So please enjoy my conversation with Boyko. Well, thank you Boyko so much for being a guest on today's podcast.

Boyko: [00:01:06] Thank you for having me.

Samantha: [00:01:08] So most people I feel like in the industry,know you, you're intertwined now, I think forever with hair and makeup at a very high level for dance competitions. But something that I actually discovered when I was doing a little bit of research for today's conversation is that you were actually a dancer in 10 dance and a teacher for a number of years before becoming the makeup and hair artist that you are today. So can you talk to me a little bit about how your ballroom dance journey first began?

Boyko: [00:01:41] I'm still a dancer. I just that different way to sometime on the table, sometimes under the table. Depends on the event, you know, like I'm still dancer. I'm kidding. Yes, I do have a dance background andthat's how I become hair stylist in the dance industry, not somewhere elsejust because lots of dancing and as competitive.

So my story startedmany years ago when I was 10, 11. I used to live back in my country. And I will never forget. I mean, like I was this child, which is trying so many different activities, everything possible from TaeKwonDo to basketball, to the piano, whatever you you see any activities, I've been there. And one daythere was a Russian teachers coming to Bulgaria and they was teaching in a studio in the city next to my town, and they decided to open one more club, which is dancing studio in our town. And they did this concert with the couples from the original, the big club and to promote.

So it was for free. And then we went everyone to see it. And I really liked it. I liked the dancing and I went back to home and I asked my parents, can I join the ballroom dancing? And they say no. I'm like, no, you can't. You've been trying so many different things and you're not serious. You're not consistent. You always give up.

Or we spent so much money for different classes. It's forget about it, We are tired already from your trying. So I wasn't a little bit disappointed then. Of course I did it. Every child doing from the mom, I went to the father with the same question and the father say, go ask your mom. And I was like, thinking to myself, I've been there.

It didn't work. Anyway. I give up a little bit. But Fortunately, or unfortunately, I don't know what the right word to say. My mom's friend's daughter wanted to dance, and one of the things they was trying of course, to get more boys, usually ballroom dancing is a little harder from beginning for the boys they her daughter really want to dance, but she didn't have a partner.

So they ask, you know, like my mom, if I want to join it, but, and kind of, was good for me in a way, because I want to join it. And but I really was serious to try. And I said, okay.

I'll dance with her. And so that's how I started. And I danced with her, not long because after a couple of months I was proposed by blonde and skinny and beautiful girl. And I, I broke up with the other one and I, that's how I started my dancing career. And we started dancing together. Then I switched later for a different partner with, which was a little bit longer time, let's say to the end of my dancing career. So like overall, I didn't have many partners. I think one, two, three, the fourth one was the last one.

Samantha: [00:04:39] Okay.

Boyko: [00:04:40] So yeah, that's how it's start at an early age with dance.

Samantha: [00:04:44] And that was amateur 10 dance that you were dancing at the time, or were you specialized in one of the styles

Boyko: [00:04:50] in a Europe? Yes, we in Europe, I always when we start we have to dance 10 dance. And we have a differentlike it's called like a class categories, the way here it is like, for example, you know, like you have a junior, exact same thing kind of, yeah. But then except the age would have a different, like in the Americans have a bronze silver, gold. Yeah. In Europe we have their qualifications, like D, C, B, A. And like a, is the highest class. And then, Am, it's like international club. It's when you compete everywhere in Amateur.

This is an amateur category. Yes. So we started with D, and in D and C class and you have to dance 10-dance.

Samantha: [00:05:32] Okay.

Boyko: [00:05:32] And the competition is for 10-dance. It's like you're doing Latin, you're doing Standard and then whatever, by the results, after the competition depends on the placing and the couples to getting points. And when you collect certain size of points, you're going to the next class, let's say C and after C, when you go to B, in the B already have the choice, qualify to go Latin, Standard or keep it 10-Dance. Myself, when I went to be, I was continue dancing 10-dance and then easily will become A but somehow again, the same point system, but now you're qualified and let's say you can start B in a Latin but become A in a standard.

So already it's like a different qualification. Somehow my standard was gowing faster and better results. But in general I managed to get same a little bit later in Latin, and I've always been thinking I'm Latin dancer, but actually my results always better in Standard. So untill the end I was dancing 10-dance, except because how its here in America, you can do Latin, you can do Standard and you can do 10-dance.

So I've been doing separately and together, and of course the best results I have in 10-dance because I always hear this joke that 10-dancers, you are not really good in this, not really good in that, but you are good in are good in both.

Samantha: [00:06:51] Well right, because I feel like, especially at a very high level dancers are almost encouraged to specialize in one style or the other, and it takes a lot more time and practice and preparation to do both. Yeah. So, so you had your amateur dance career in Bulgaria. At what point then did you come to the United States?

Boyko: [00:07:14] Actually, its so funny, I already stopped competing when I was 21 in Bulgaria and I came to America when I was 25, 4 years later. And the reason we stopped dancing was first of all, I was in University studying completely different things than dancing, because my plan always been to study in that we have a sport Academy in Bulgaria, which is have a, a specialized different sport.

And one of them was. Ballroom dancing, but the year where I supposed to get in, they updated and they didn't have a ballroom specialist. So, and they announced this like in March and I supposed to get in there in a June, July, something like that. And I remember it already. I was qualified to get in anyway with, because of the titles of every thing and you also I was easy to get in. And here I go I ended up with you know, like the situation that there is no ballroom dancing and of course I'm not getting there with box or running or something else. Becuase obviously I have zero ability.

And we also have a distinct, in our country if you don't get into university or you have to go to the army. For me, it was like a moment you have to really act. So I had like two or three months to get ready to study something, to go to the, any university, to be able to not go to that army. Because once I get to the Army, I have to totally quit dancing and competing and everything.

So I was fortunate to get to the law university. I was study completely different from ballroom dancing. And I actually put it two specialty, I had a public administration and law. So I got into college and the university, and I was very fortunate to get in and prepare so fast. It would that high level but in a couple of months, I realized that for me, it's completely impossible to be able to handle the university and the dancing career, because I just put it too many things on my shoulder on. And as well, my partner needed surgery at that time, which stop us a little bit too. Took a break. And after this break, we actually never went back to the floor. For good or bad life is changing and you never know what's going to go, but I did study for a couple of more years at the same time I already had my studio and with my partner who was running studio and we had kids.

And so we were teaching them, traveling with them on the competition, which was a little bit easier. And when I turned 24, some that age, I had already friends moving from Bulgaria to the United States and they, they say, why don't come to try to see here, you know, life and everything. So I was like, why don't, I mean, like just like that over my type with my mind.

And I went to apply for a visa, which is one of my funniest story, which I went for a visa and because wasn't able to get that easy visa to come to the United States. So I applied a student visa to come for a summer to work here for three months, like a student work. And so. I went to the interview and I didn't speak English in the interview. Like I have a zero English and I was thinking I'm gonna learn English, you know, two, three months until the interview. Then the past couple of weeks, they say, I have a couple of weeks, I'm going to learn English. Then they call me and they say your interview's tomorrow. Like, Oh, I have to learn English by tomorrow, great.

Was a funny story, but somehow I, this is one of my going back in time, it's the moments when I'm realizing. That is a thing in life, which meant need to be. And I believe was for me, meant to be, to come to United States because I really, really, for that night, I study answer of couple of questions, which is potenial question. Doesn't mean, they're going to ask me this question, but potentially questions when asking in the interview. And they, they, they asked me one of them. The other one I didn't understand. And the third one I guessed what can be and here they go, they give me a visa on the base of completely no English and completely lie of everything.

So it's like, Oh, that's fine. So I actually even didn't understand if they give me visa or not until the next day when I got my passport with visa, because I just didn't understand English, but they say they don't give you the passport back that's mean you got visa. And I, he say, thank you. And I say, thank you. And I left. And I was like, nobody's following me with my passport, but maybe I have visa, but I did wait to the next day to figure out that I really have a visa. So it was a funny story.

So that's how I moved to the United States in 2005 with and I started first, teaching here. Teaching obviously a big word. That's how I say didn't speak English. And I was invited by studio here, which took me, but when they find out I don't speak English, I wasn't able to, to do that for a couple of months until my first job was actually doing working Lenique company for dresses and I was doing stoning there. And same time I find studio in Chinatown and In New York where English wasn't the most important thing, because owner didn't speak English as well.

So was very easy to communicate. She say body language, body language, cha-cha-cha three o'clock, five ladies, group class.

Samantha: [00:12:47] Sure

Boyko: [00:12:47] So she gave me a chance because, herself didn't speak English and then base the bit between people and I started and picking up slowly. Until a year later that I met again in the life things happening that I met the person, her name is Patricia West, and she is owner of a big studio in orange County, 2005, '06. This was the biggest studio in California. She give me this idea, because I guess I say something like I do like to do hair and make-up or something like that. I don't know in what language and how I say to her, but I guess she get it.

Samantha: [00:13:26] Sure

Boyko: [00:13:26] So she ask our mutual friend who met me with her, and she say do you want to ask your friend Boyko to come to do a hair and makeup and to Emerald was 2006. And for me, this was LA and was it interesting. You know, like my first association was the Hollywood. Yeah. Okay. I'm going to Hollywood. Not much competition, not much things, but that's how I ended to be on the first competition. And yeah, then it's a lot of more stories.

Samantha: [00:14:02] That's amazing. And that's, that's an incredible partnership to kind of stumble into and especially to then immediately be asked to go to Emerald. I mean, that's a massive competition. Was it as big as, at the time that you went or was it still growing into the Emerald that we think of now?

Boyko: [00:14:17] I think is exactly the same and I honestly didn't know what I was going and what I'm doing. So you know, this is the best thing when you do things and you have no idea what you're doing. Same, like with your interview, I decided I preferred to go this way less, you know, more real the things that are happening. And that's how I went in there with zero idea what they're going to do. But I ended after this competition. I mean, like she booked over, of course, only her studios. But they will see, not like I'm that time for me to have a 10 appointments a day was like a super busy day. Not now.

Samantha: [00:14:53] Right

Boyko: [00:14:53] But then actually now actually let me correct myself after COVID 19, it's again very busy day. Now we're starting everything from beginning, but let's put this way in after this competition. I feel I'd like to do that. It was fun. Discovering new styles like American rhythm or American Smooth. I never see this in my life before that. Then I was a little bit confused and I can believe it now, years later, I can say, this is a really incredible style switch.

Now getting into Europe, into Russia, into Asia. But it's like beautiful. And one of the most developing style right now, and interesting to watch, I mean, like I'm really enjoying watching, especially American Smooth. And I think it's a very interesting style combination for people who danec 10-dance, for example, like really, really good and beautiful style.

Yeah. It was an interesting experience that experiment for me, or experience or everything like was overwhelming for me at that time, because coming from small country to New York, after a couple of months, making to LA and Everything to me was like such a big thing. So the question is, is it was a big Emerald? For me, was huge.

I believe was already a big competition at that time I honestly, this is going to be celebration for me in, couple months, 15 years since the first Emerald I attend.

Samantha: [00:16:23] Congratulations.

Boyko: [00:16:24] And 15 years in the business. Yeah. It's it's again big number, getting, I'm just thinking myself, I'm not getting older, just the numbers, you know, like it's changing, but let's say I'm getting more experience.

Samantha: [00:16:37] Yeah, absolutely. What was what was the initial difference or challenge coming from European competitions, which we in the States kind of associate with either mixed amateur or professional level competition there's not a Pro-Am division nearly as large, especially 10 years or 15 years ago, to doing hair and makeup for not only youth competitors, not only amateur competitors, not only professional competitors, but also that pro am older division?

Boyko: [00:17:10] So it was actually a very interesting experience. First of all, let's put it this way. I didn't do hair and make-up before that in Europe, professionally as what I become here. I used to do for my partner or for my students. So, already to do that as job that you getting paid was a big transmission for me. Number one.

Second, pro-am, what is this pro-am? I wasn't able even to understand that the time, I mean, like, what is this? I mean like ladies in their sixties, or I have a client in their eighties dancing with 20 years old. I mean, for me it was everything doesn't make sense, but right now I can say this is one of the most beautiful and smart things and inspiring things to see that because dancing to kids it's normal.

I mean, like they go from the school, they sign their Mom and Papa there. It's normal. Things are really, really changing. I'm impressed, you know, like for everything, but what I learned and I experienced doing this. And honestly, right now

First of all my question, Okay.if we don't count the amateur and the kids where they was working for free, back in my country and at this experiment, not even as a job, my first real clients was pro-am people. And I was fortunate a couple months, a year, took me to get some professional. Yes. I do have a professionals on the first event and when you're not my first professional girl, at this Emerald was Yuki Haraguchi.

Andshe's dancing now and I'm, you know, like it's always was, I am. What was it going back in time and thinking, what is the biggest achievement for you? Let's say during all these years and for me. Some people are thinking that they work with the world champions. Yes, it is a hundred percent did because I set trends.

I said trends. Yes, this is also achievement. For sure. I'm proud of that. But the biggest achievement is that I have this first client still today during this years. And And Yuki's sweet girl, even I remember the last year, Emerald didn't happen, but before that she gave me a little card, which is saying, I will have, I will choose you again, if I have to. Something like the appreciation and this special person, which is the first one to staying with you for that many years.

Yes, everyone have a choice. Absolutely I believe it. I'm giving, for example, her, because she was the first first, but each person who come to me during this years and staying with me it's this is what really make you feel like, yes, I'm doing something right. You know, like I didn't lose it yet, you know? So these kinds of things, but yeah. Interesting journey, definitely long with many thousand changes and learning.

How I say I wasn't prepared for what they going to do. I didn't have idea what I'm doing. I didn't know many, many things. Like I would say from the pro-am. I didn't know what this Americans Smooth. I didn't know nothing. Honestly I did. And I jumped in the water with the idea that I'm going to Hollywood.

That's what's in my mind, the LA, you know. Hollywood sign. Stars. I was imagining they're walking everywhere and I going to meet everyone. No, no, I just was a completely different thing. So it was the reality, but I found something. I found my passion. I find something that I love without to understand something what I have it in me without know.

That's how I say I was studying for the lawyer. I used to be a dancer in high school. I used to study chemistry. So it's like completely different things. And here, yes, I did have experience or my partner and my students. I did have experience in a hair salon. I cannot say even I been working there. I was just assisting or, the right word I can use. I was cleaning

Samantha: [00:21:35] Okay

Boyko: [00:21:36] the salon and I was watching, how the other people at work. And that was interesting. Again. This is what's for maybe for a year, I have this experience and not like regular job I was doing just because I met the friend who owned the salon and she lost her assistant. So I was helping her, but like even not job, like wasn't the given of officially saying I'm working there. I was just like, wherever I want to go. I go. And when I go, I help a, if I can help, I clean whatever, if I want to go, I go, you know, like, so. I even cannot say I have experience some of that, but definitely I did have a, always this passion about beauty.

Not only for hair and makeup, but in general beauty. And even today, I love, I love beautiful things. I love beautiful people. I love creating not only hairstyles. I like, for example, even the decoration of apartment, you know, I really enjoy to do that. I like organizing beautiful events. This is also something I have it. I like even styling, you know, to style dressing myself or somebody else. I used to do the dress for my partner. So even now, for example, when I work with some of the girls on the base of the hair, for example, I want to give them idea what I would like to see on the costume, not design their costume, but like give a direction. I'd say I would like to do this hair, but for this hair, I want you to let's say ruffle skirt, or, or colors or something, you know?

So. I always been, I guess, inside of me, I have this creativity about beauty and a different levels and differentstyles, but hair is the things what bring me out of, you know, like and specifies, me now as Boyko.

Samantha: [00:23:22] Yeah. Yeah. So I want to talk a little bit more about that idea of I don't want to necessarily necessarily say loyalty, but, returning to the same vendors and the same people year after year after year after year. You mentioned that Yuki coming back year after year after year is like your, your pride and kind of mark of accomplishment. We've mentioned on the podcast with previous guests that for dancers, when we find a shoe that we like, we always buy that same shoe. Or if we find a dressmaker that is able to style the dress to fit our body properly, we want to go back.

I think hair and makeup is kind of that final touch that brings the whole package together and really great hair and makeup can make such a huge difference to, not only how we view the dancer on the floor, how judges and other dancers look at that person, but also to the dancer that's wearing that hair and makeup. It can be that like shield or that like piece of armor that just brings it all together to be like, okay, I'm ready to step out on the dance floor. So when you're working with a new client for the first time, what kind of consultation process do you go through? How do you create either a look or a signature look for a dancer to make sure that that client walks out of your out of the chair and is like, yes, I am ready to take on the day?

Boyko: [00:24:48] Okay. So this is very good. I have a very controversial opinion about all of that. Let's say, let's say, because you say many things, which may take my thought different ways, but let's concentrate now over to the first time client. Yeah.

Samantha: [00:25:05] Yes.

Boyko: [00:25:06] And they see this every time for me. It's this, during the years I got this experience. And find my way to deal with the situation. Because when people come for the first time they expecting, here I am the guru, and sort of assume she;s going to turn into Yulia Zagoruychenko for example. But working with Yulia Zagoruychenko, Yuki Haraguchi, Katusha Demidova, or Dasha with this all top dancer, it's wasn't the first time. Yes, definitely, the first time we clicked so they continued coming. But wasn't created this divas from one time. So people sometime expecting the name, Boyko connected with this top dancers to do that magic.

And these expectations sometimes can really kill it, creativity or whatever, you know, because then you feel the pressure or somebody, I have a different situation and somebody is like very happy to see me, somebody's very respectful when sit first time, you know, like, I can see the fear for me. And I'm like I'm not that scary. You know, maybe the name make this, you know, like. But I'm a human being and I'm very happy to be here or the other things is their curiousity is like, checking me, you know, is he is that good? I mean, like what they say.

So these first meeting is always very interesting. So I find my way because I have a, I say I'm a human being. I have to react in the moment and I have to deliver because how I say, the name is there. So I have to work to keep up with this name. So I have to make sure that this client has come and taken time. So I have a saying, phrase, for the first time people when they meet them, no matter their first ever competition or they're top dancers, if their first time coming to me, to get, because I always say communication is one of the most important things, especially in the creativity or imagination.

I can compare these to the movie and book. Yeah. When you read the book, you're using your imagination and your vision about words. When you're watching same story on the movie and it's not matching your imagination. You're like, Oh, you're so disappointed. Why you're so disappointed? You shouldn't be because the movie is the imagination of somebody else who created and put it a vision for you.

So it's the same with, kind of, you know, with me when they come, I want to get it. And read it as much I can their imagination, their vision. But to be able to get that, we have to communicate. So I start always with the same sentence. What do you like? And actually my question is more what you don't like. So I stay away from that. Yeah. So from there I'm starting every first time appointment and then I'm letting people talk. And I can see already after the first sentence, these people, with the answer, they have an opinion, they have a vision, or they have a zero vision. So, from is the point where I can get over them with the next question.

So I can minimalize them to not, because sometimes people can get lost, you know, in the question and start to say, oh, I want Yulia's this part, but then I want Katusha's this part. And then I see the curls of this one, and actually let me show you from Instagram, this picture, and then, but I don't like this picture. And so I'm trying to keep them, you know, to get as much as possible because also the, part of my work is time timing. And I have a, between 20 and 30 minutes appointment time. Most of the time, let's say it's 20 minutes. So I was trying to be in this frame of 20 minutes. So if I, I have to keep it in control the first two, three minutes to start the direction, the next in a during, already starting preparing the idea of style in the next three, four minutes to clarify the ideas I can deliver in 20 minutes, something what is, somewhere there. And you're comfortable with that. And you're going to, how you say, this is the final touch. That, Hm. One of the most important things for a woman, I always say, but I have a controversialopinion about that. Yes. I know how important is, and I know this is going to change the world and you can die if your eyelashes is not right.

But at the same time, I always say to my clients, they shouldn't think this way. Because somewhere people are dying from sickness or they have nothing to eat or, you know, like, and their eyelashes will not change the world. Will not save no-one. The elephants in Africa still is going to die. So that's what they say, have a very controversial. So I'm trying to give it to people also in this appointment time, this feeling about how important is to feel beautiful and, and 99% working with the people. We have so much beauty in our industry that people don't realize, you know, like, because if you go to regular other conventional, just sit on the airport and look around, just you understand how beautiful is the dance world.

I mean, like almost every woman, every man, is in shape. If any, if he's not in the perfect shape. It's not like a regular people, you know, and also we have this opportunity to live in a fantasy life, you know, like to dress up, to do hair, make-up, beautiful sparkly, dresses, dancing with Prince charming.

Even special, now in the covid time coming back to work after all of these timing that people die. People get sick, people lost someone, and we're still back to this beautiful things, you know? Like, so we're fortunate in so many ways. I'm trying to give this to the people, this feeling that yes, it's important, your eyelash, but not the most important.

It's a feeling what I going to give you on the floor to feel like a queen, but if your lip color is not pinkish enough, It's fine. It's touchable, it's washable. Everything is changeable. It's it's all good. It's not a tattoo. It's not a plastic surgery. We can fix it. And you know, like we can work together, but again, on the end of the day, beauty, I can give you the final touch, but, you are inside. You have to project your sex appeal. You have to project your beauty. So we can work together. And I'm trying with the communication as much as I can. So I'm a person, even now, because see, I talk a lot. I like to talk a lot with the people and I love to listen to them because I'm also talking myself, doesn't solve you know, problems or giving directions. So I'm, I like to listen also to people. So I'm giving chance to people to tell me their story, their imagination, their fantasy even. So we can some somewhere there, match what they see and my creativity and make a something together.

Samantha: [00:32:26] Yeah. So I want to touch on something that you mentioned because I. I, I feel like there are these two conflicting ideas in the ballroom community, which is the first, it is a beautiful sport. Dresses, the athleticism, people are fit, the hair is perfect, the makeup is perfect. We all tan, the dress is created in such a way. The suits are tailored in such a way to create this image of, you know, Cinderella and Prince Charming.

But at the same time, all of us in the industry are trying to push towards love yourself, respect yourself, find your inner beauty. You are your own Queen. You are your own King, you know, especially within Pro-Am. Most of my clients are Pro-Am students. They have lived experience, they have had children or they've had hip replacements, or, you know, they aren't that cookie cutter image of what a ballroom dancer should be.

So are we being hypocritical when we are pushing for an aesthetic look, but also trying to encourage people to love themselves at whatever size, shape, style they are in? And how do you see the intersection between those two coming together?

Boyko: [00:33:58] So this is the define agehood. I really like your question because let's start it from this way. When I worked with these people, how they, every age, every shape, again, we have a still, very good base. It's not the worst. 90% nothing is 100%. But yes. So that's the secret what I was talking about, communication with these people. And for example, yeah, you got person. Let's say, what is most popular hairstyle for ballroom dancing?

Middle part, sleek, low bun. Did everyone on every age and every shape look like this? Good like this? No. Do we have to push the people? Like, say for example, sometimes I'm just dying, laughing when the teacher sended, the student and he's sending a picture of, let's say how I say using these big names Yulia or Katusha, and want her to look like that.

And I'm looking at this person, and first of all, she got a different type of hair. Second, her face is different shape. Third, her body is different shape. Fourth, did she really, did you really teach her to dance like Yulia Zagoruychenko? No. It is, this person is going to feel comfortable in this hairstyle? No. So, and then I can see the fear in the eyes, you know, and I, I don't like slick hair. I don't, you know, like, yes, I, honey, I totally understand. And I know, and we don't have to, the idea is, like, that's why I'm asking the question. What you don't like it. Don't tell me what your teachers say. Don't tell me what you see on Instagram, because also sometime there is a different problem.

We seeing pictures of somebody and we are even forget about it. We decide that we're going to look like that. No, no, we can't, you know. I have myself this experience. I bleached my hair blonde. And I was thinking that I look like Chris Brown, but in reality, I look like a German gay porn star. So it was really, I mean, like, honestly. Again, I'm seeing a picture and I'm thinking, no, I'm not, but I realize this couple of days later.

So I don't want to people to realize this couple of days later. So that's why it's my point of communication. We have to find what, how we love ourselves. And if the client come to me the first time, mostly we're talking about the first time is the most interesting communication. And then it's a lady in a certain, a little bit older division and she doesn't feel comfortable without her bangs, yeah. Or with w without slick hair. So. Yes. Maybe the first time I will not create for her the best ballroom style. Of course I will not let her go out of my room looking like she's going to her prom or she is going to completely different to her wedding, you know, because she feel comfortable, but I'll try to make something between the ballroom.

Maybe not completely ballroom, but still to have a proper look. But far away from what her teacher, for example, or far away from what Yulia look, but I want her with a little bit bangs with a little bit extra volume. Something maybe is not perfectly there, but it's still in this frame of ballroom dancer, until this person.

And also the experience. I mean, like, I'm sure you are a teacher and, you see the first lesson, the second lesson, 20th lesson, 50th lesson, the first competition, the sixth competition. We started accepting things, or we are getting ability to do things which wasn't able to do the first time. So same with the, the look, you know, I have a clients which come the first time and say, no, no, tanning, no eyelashes. No, this, no that, and then it's coming already, fifth, the sixth, or 20th competition. And here you go, there is like, she's coming with feather eyelashes already. And I'm like, okay, stop, stop, honey. You know, and remember the time you didn't want anything. Now you have too much, you know, like, so, but they are growing in the look the way they grow as dancers same as with the kids from the first competition to the amateurs.

Even for example, with kids its a little bit different experience. Then its the mothers and the mother's imagination. This is a different subject. Also you have to control sometime because it's out of control usually. And also I believe everything has to be the secret in life in general. Not only ballroom dancing, it's about I'd find out after many years, it's to find the balance between what you have or what you can have it or what you don't have it. So I will give you an example balance as dancer. Yeah. If you're ultra talented, but you're lazy, doesn't make you great dancer. You have to have a balance, everything and the right amount, because if you have a, even super, super hardworking, but like zero talent will not make it. Same with the look, you go on the floor and if you look perfection, you really look perfection, your step your dress, tanning, everything is so good, but then you really cannot dance. It's a such a disappointment. Same is opposite. If you're a great dancer, but you come on the floor and you're a mess, same disappointment.

So you have to find the balance of different stage of your life, whatever it is, you know, how it says, focusing on the dancing, it can look like a life, career, everything. Where are you, what you needed for that? Don't rush to get it from the top. Let's say the most expensive dress when you're barely walking cha-cha-cha. You know? Or you are out of music.

But when you are really good dancer, don't expect people to forgive you, if you didn't tan. You have a spots on your legs. People is going to point and say, you're a great dancer, but honey, use the sponge and make it tanning. Go watch yourself. So you have to find the balance on a differentpoint of your career as dancer or whatever in life. And see what is the best for you at this point? Same with how you say the students the amateurs, the teachers, and everyone. We have to see what is on this point. What, what stage, where, where do we can push it? You know, like what is the next things to develop? It's going to be, our look is going to be our technique. Going to be our partnership, you know, and I like this forever developing.

I remember the first time I did for Yuki's hair and I remember today, even today. My people asking me my clients, usually they love to ask me how you get here, who teach you?I'm like, my answer is always same. Honey. I'm still learning on you now, you know, have a seat because they have to continue practicing and the new things are coming down on you because I don't know how to do that.

You know, you may be going to inspire me or now we're going to see something I would try, but I go to practice right now and I going to continue to develop right now on you. Is, does nobody teach me. Okay. The experience is one thing, but every new step. How I can know is going to work, but no, if I don't try it, so,

Samantha: [00:42:16] yeah,

Boyko: [00:42:17] it's interesting in general.

Samantha: [00:42:19] I love that idea of forever being a student, because I think it, it just opens up the door to so many new experiences and so much creativity and just, it keeps you open to new information.

How do you balance, wanting to seek out your own creativity and express yourself through hair and also the norms and the expectations that we're setting every single year in the industry? Because we are we to expand a little bit on that. We've spoken in the past about the idea of dancers looking at routines and technique and styling on the top six of the podium, and then trying to copy that or trying to replicate that and not necessarily wanting to step out on their own and say, okay, this is my personal style. We were all kind of funneling into this is what's winning. So that's how we're training and that's how we're teaching. And it becomes very much a copy of a copy of a copy at certain points. So I imagine it's very similar with the hair.

You know, everyone has the Instagram up and they can search through hashtag ballroom hair and see what was on the podium for the last five years. How do you balance kind of that expectation of what's winning and what works for you, what works for your client and what allows you to find creativity and artistry on the day?

Boyko: [00:43:46] So the secret what is winning, it's not about the hair and makeup or, you know, like the dress. Okay. That's my experience. The people, who got there and they are champions for a reason. Not because today you see them eating pizza and doesn't mean eating pizza is going to bring you to the hair place. Not because today her ponytail it's the longer than other people and that's is a champion because she has a longer ponytail.

So this is even not a subject for me, but it is a trend. It is fact that every beginning dancer it's copying somebody. This is okay, we're talking about again, controversial conversation. Yes. Older beginners, all the pro-am, all the amateurs are looking to the top girls and they're how we, people in the industry dressmakers or hair and make-up, shoemaker or whatever people who are creating this image because beginners or growing up growing people are not seeing what is inside.

They don't see how much they practice. They don't see these things. They see the final problem. They see that she points with her finger his nose. You know, so, but until she got to this finger where they see it, actually, they didn't see how she worked with her core and the, where she stepped and where is her balance. Yeah. So people don't see. So we are first of all, naturally, we are copying the packaging of movement, of look, of whatever is it. Yeah. This is the easiest to copy and that's how we growing and Our stylist or seeing a work of some coaches. This is the short cut to the fact to the sum result. Yeah.

So if we put it a clean nice look, hair and make-up, light, Dasha, for example. Yeah. And do we have a point in his nose and then we have a seven good position during our routines, is going to bring us forward. Yes, will, to a certain point in our career, or their career, that the package. We are all bias judges of package, audio judges that bias audience is biased.

Yeah. So we all have this minute and a half, even myself to go to work the competition. And it's the first impression. Look, movement, like lines, everything, but then we have a chance to see these couples or dancers many times. And if there is no development of the, these whatever look or this dancing, we are already seeing that we bought the package, but we opened the box and inside is empty.

So we have to keep developing and feeling up. Same is with the look. People like to copy, but then in a time I will give you. Actually let's get example Dasha Sushko. Girl, which is right on that moment of her career to become the next world champion. Not yet, covid is not helping at all, but let's say she's the next world champion. I have the opportunity to work with Yulia Zagoruychenko from the last competition of her. When she dance for the last time with her ex-partner Max Kozhevnikov, this was the last competition of them together. And they, the first competition they become United state champion. Shortly after they split, and she started dancing with Ricardo Cocchi. That's how she started her career. As she was discovered was fortunate, immediately got to the second place in the world and making impossible things to beat the current champions. And there was a game back and forth and everything and, and to achieve 10 Time world champions. So I'd been with her from all of this career.

Yeah. So let's say with her was a little bit kind of product, which is almost on the edge to be champion. Yeah. Like she was immediately second. So I get into it with her in all, like she's the top, she's the face of it, but Dasha's the other girl, which I started working when she United, she come to United Statedancing with Val Chmerkovskiy. Amateur girl. I noticed her on this Blackpool when I was with Yulia already and I was working there and they was already supposed to be like a top couple in United state and they didn't make it even 24 in Amateur at this competition.

So the different between Yulia and Dasha is like, one of them already was a champion, close to be a champion, vice-champion and champion. So already whatever I do there is I know it's something material to be copied. It's a trend, which is gonna, you know, like be, and Dasha is opposite. She's the amateur girl, similar time and she wants to be. She want to be champions. She want to be a big girl. She want to, she want to make it the semifinals she want to make in a final, you know, and I will never forget that Dasha was coming to me and saying, I want to bun like Karina.

I want to be, see this shape. It's a little bit bigger. It's a little bit smaller and I'll never forget this conversation with her when we talk about I was like, I'm tired, ready to listen. I want to like this or like that. Listen to me, one day people will want to be Dasha. And you're growing, you know? And because she already was getting in the finals and then she started dancing with Di Filippo, but she'll always be the very, like a straight mind, you know, like she held her idea and this is her idea and like, no flexibility. If I compare her to Yulia, which I was able like a canvas to paint on it, Dasha was always very, you know, like I want a middle part and whatever.

So there come one time this event was the team match in Blackpool. And I was working with all American girls and we decided to create a look. Which, for example, we're going to have something similar because it's a team we have to have something, not same style to not be like everybody copy, but like detail, which we're going to do in a four different hairstyles.

And I decided it's going to be twists this twist. And I say, for example, Yulia is going to be twists with ponytail. Katusha is going to be twists with high bump, Anastasia is going to be twist with low bun because its's standard, they have to be in the bun. So for Dasha, I say no choice, she had to be with the twist. And I cannot create nothing different because there's kind of, you know, like certain things you have to do. So it loose hair twist. She was like, no loose hair. I don't know, blah, blah, blah. I was like, listen, you have no choice. That's the style leftover for you. You're going to do it. And. In a way I convinced her and here go the style.

Then after that, the next, after the competition, after this show or whatever, team match, she said, I feel so feminine and different with loose hair. I never danced with loose hair before that. It's like, it's, I feel sexy. And actually, this is one of the, the very how to say is like her signature, the sex appeal. Because every dancer will have a different power, a different abilities, differentthings about them. So Dasha is one of her biggest plus, which you, she have it and nobody teach her. She has a sex appeal. So here you go. We'll let it the hair down. And she felt it this is even more than before. So this has become one of the most copied style, which. Even going back in the career, I have done same things for Yulia, but people didn't notice on her. And you know, she bring it, she make it one of the, I mean, like how I say one of the most copied style in my work done. So yeah, it's very interesting to see the dancers and how this is, you know, like what can bring out of them, the style copy, creating themselves from be copy of somebody else.

To find what they are. And right now, for example, Dasha's next champion, I was chatting actually actually with her yesterday, as we missing the competition. We're missing our creativity. And Yulia is retired. She is the new face of a Latin American. Until, we go back every, everyone to the competition.

Yeah. I hope everything is going to stay this way and will not change. And I say, Dasha, I'm so excited. As everybody knows that, I worked with many of the top dancers, but like, Yulia and Katusha used to be the faces of my company, the girls next both my side and you know, my muse, my, my canvas for creating.

So when Yulia decided to retire and they step out, I talked to Dasha and I say, do your mind if you become the face of the company and I have a, some new product and I would like it to be in, she was a very happy of course and everything. So I do have in my mind, so many, for example, during given quarantine time, inspiration and ideas, I just cannot wait to put it on her.

And that's what I was telling her yesterday. I should be her say, I hope to see you soon. And I hope we are going to have a competition soon because in America we're kind of lucky that we have already running something. In Europe is still nothing, you know, and I don't want to be negative, but I'm not seeing Blackpool this year though. And I am praying for International, but if I have to be realistic, I, I think most really what I'm seeing maybe is going to be UK in January next year. So this is again, I will love. love. love, to get earlier for best dancer to be able to perform, because I know how is to live without inspiration without motivation and competition and shows it. That's what these moving us performers to perform, what we can do. So, yeah, I was telling her yesterday that I have so many ideas of the new Dasha, but same time to keep it, that Dasha, you know, her style because they work with her 10 years I do know what she's comfortable and how I can bring out of her comfort zone. And develop a new personality for her.

And work with her trust goes, how I say it's communication between me and her is not just on my decision. I decided sit down. You're going to be blonde today. No, she have to feel it. So I know her. So that's what it's like things, I think it's a normal process. Most common they have course obviously have exception is like, we're first trying to copy something until we'll find ourself and we become a trend setter.

And that is the people who are mostly become trend setter of course, when, once you have bigger in the ranking, you are more, you know, more people following you in these kind of things. But I can tell you a little, there is always exception and I can give you an example of the photo-shoot I did it two years ago in England. And this was because how is they always been Katusha and Yulia next to me. But I do work with way more top girls. And I decide in how I say I can also be inspired from different things. And I decided to do this photo shoot for Blackpool magazine, which I call celebration of beauty. And for me, the inspiration was couple of things. One was Game of Thrones.

Samantha: [00:56:18] Okay.

Boyko: [00:56:18] Beauty, power of the beauty. Because I do believe is a very powerful thing, because if we know how to use our beauty, we can be really, really powerful because first things, when, wherever we go and we don't know, and people don't ask us what we see, seen, how we look, what we are projecting. So beauty can really take us if we know. So I, this, the other sentence, I would say beauty is a very dangerous power. And if you know how to use it, You really can make it even in the dance floor, like in general. So I, my idea of this was like a beauty, power, also the secret dinner of the Jesus with, you know, the, with the 12 Apostolos, you know, like, so I have this, you know, like every artist, mix of different things.

Which I got for inspiration and I created this photo shoot, which I put it, how I go. I call celebration of beauty, like seize the beauty. The idea was to be a table with all these beauty and celebrate the beauty. And I have a very interesting experience about it because when I work with people, I work one-on-one. Me and you, just two of us. So it's about you. But after you leave, it's coming the next question, but you are not seeing, it's not anymore about you. So you seeing you're leaving with the impression that you are the one. And I am switching immediately without even, I don't feel like cheap to the next person, the next person, I'm just moving on and creating the next, probably the next creation.

You know, next inspiration is the next project for me. So sometime people are thinking we have a favorite. No, I don't. Everyone have a different influence to me and to act. And when I go to support the girls, I, I. I feel every single day inside of my heart. And when they are doing well, or they're not doing well, I have the happiness or saddness for everyone.

It's not like I have, because I like, yes, some of the people bring from me more creativity and I create more different things. The other people, not. That doesn't mean the one who I create more on them or do different styles. It's more favorite now. It's not my favorite. Just this person somehow bring the different sides of me. So I put all these girls together and it was very interesting to see this Game of Thrones to put all this beauty around and create this picture, I didn't know what I'm getting into. But when I put them together was a little overwhelming to me because there wasn't a one-on-one and then the size of the crown of this one was bigger then the other one. And why her crown is bigger than mine? You know, like, so it's very interesting, but definitely it's a good to see that the product is top girls or whatever this beauty is.

And when I choose, I choose of course top girls, but I choose some of the girl, one of the girls. Maybe people doesn't know her as ranking. She's not that bad in ranking. She's in the top 12, 24 somewhere there. But for me, she always been fashion icon, you know? So she isn't been always outstanding as look, she'd bring from me and she'd bring from different designers, helping her.

She give us different energies. She is outstanding. As look, maybe she's not the best point foot. Whatever. No, she's not the top top girl, but she's definitely statement. So that's what back to your question about coping and creating? We have to find every person I has to, even myself as artist I have to find who I am because there is a many other vendors like me and they have a there.

So also to keeping up myself then this with the time do not become copious. Somebody else. I already know what is my style and I'm trying to develop, but keeping myself to be Boyko. But everything needs the inspiration, everything needs development, and this better how to develop yourself, not only as dancer, stylist, whatever you are. So I do have my team and what I want from them is I don't teach them what to do. I let them do their creativity and I'm trying to see in all of them, what kind of balance and what they envision, they have it. And just to put my signature there, but do not take away from what they w they can do it. I don't want to show them. This is what I did it, do it. No. Do what you like it. But I would like, let's say for example, to have a this image and keep it clean or whatever that, or so things about me, which I created as a brand and my name put it, but do not kill them, do not stop them of their creativity because every person, every dancer, every human being have something inside, which can offer and do not be copied if we are able to let it go. Until of course, the other option is, we are trying to be copy of someone, but no matter what we are coming out of our shell early or late, so the earlier we come out, better.

Samantha: [01:01:52] I love that. I love that. I appreciate the fact that you brought up your team and I know we're running a little bit over But I do want to just briefly talk about the fact that it's not just Boyko behind Boyko & Co. There is a team of make-up and hair artists. And I appreciate the fact that you are encouraging their creativity and you want each of your team members to kind of find their own style and their own voice and kind of take control of that. How then do you see the brand Boyko & Co. Through all of those different creative lenses? Is there, is it the quality of the product? Is it the the interaction with the client that's, that's the branding? How do you kind of see the consistency across all of your stylists?

Boyko: [01:02:38] So go back to what I say before that. Yes. First of all, let's verify, Boyko, I am the face. That's all. I'm the first who start that. But Boyko is, been forgetting long time ago because now it's Boyko & Co. And Co. It's way bigger than Boyko. I still can maintain my face on the front, but all that is because of the people who is next to me, which I'm very, very fortunate to have the right people.

And I do appreciate every single person of that and personality and creativity and every influence, they have it. From my assistant who is far away, from being creative to communication with the clients to the, every stylist who have a different plusses and minuses. AndI just, you know, like I was how I say better lucky to have these people and inspire each other and moving forward and support each other because I have we, we, as human beings, we have a certain ability.

We can always grow. We can continue growing, but we can, we catch up with the speed of growing and The changes of the world because the world is changing very fast. Now everything is, I mean, like even watching kids, how they are growing up, everything is completely different. So every of my stylists is a very important part of the image of Boyko.

And how is that? I'm very thankful about that. What is making Boyko & Co special? Going back to the before, balance. I'm trying how I say I find the balance is a secret of many things in life, and I'm trying to balance it. How we say with we have a creativity. To stay loyal to what we can do, you know, like we can provide. Timing, very important when clients, they have to rely on us, the timing, because if we are not on time, they cannot be on time, they cannot, you know, like and stress free. The other things, what I always try to create in the room where I work with people and people with my team, when the clients come is the place where they can have a fun. We going to laugh, we're going to create.

And then they're going to go to the, because preforming it's stress. When you go and expose yourself on the floor, you're stressed for sure. I am stressed sometime, but this is nobody's business. So I'm trying always to keep myself calm and smile and make a joke, even if the most stress inside some and it's happening to me as well so I just don't show it.

So that's what the other things, I always try to want my team to have it stress free. And of course we have to keep up the quality and we're working hard on it. Even the worst things we do, the worst things because we're human beings sometime, maybe we're not producing the 100 percent, but we always have to be the worst have to be in a certain good quality. You know, maybe it's not the top top quality, but cannot be bad. Have to be still decent, have to look right. Have to look clean. So we are trying these things, you know, like I'm trying myself and I'm trying, and I can see all my team is trying, which is maybe this is part of the Boyko & Co. Signature when people can rely on these things.

Samantha: [01:06:10] Excellent. Excellent. Well, competitions have, like you mentioned have started back up in the United States. I was looking at your website earlier and it looks like you're you have six competitions in the month of March. There's only four weekends in the month of March. So you guys are super busy, which is excellent.

Boyko: [01:06:27] Yeah,

Samantha: [01:06:27] hopefully that continues.

Boyko: [01:06:29] I mean, like, it's not like before we are coming back. We are unfortunately we cannot plan the year as we did before, because I used to plan the year from December already. Now we have a new way of doing the things we have you know, like planning two months in advance. The way we used to do booking with, we have the year planned, but we'll open the booking two months in advance.

So now that's what we do. We just open the booking to the, what we think is possibly possible. An organizer doesn't know. But I am very thankful slowly. We're going back and people are feeling more comfortable and they're coming out from home and this stress would have been in us in all of us. So people are coming out and we're trying, this is the other things now with the new things, what we'll have to do inmy team to make sure people, when they arrive to appointment, they feel safe as much, we can bring as much as possible safe because safety as we are doing something, which is actually the, one of the most dangerous in a way to get the virus or something like that. So we are trying to provide as possible. I cannot say it is, you know, that's guaranteeing you cannot like, but we are doing our best to provide as much as possible, safe the environment for the situation. And after every competition this last year, I have a one goal. If, it's because obviously we have experienced to deliver a good hair and makeup and confidence, whatever, and all of it. My new goal for the last year is if one of my clients. Each of my clients, leave the chair and can get home and tell their friends that they felt safe. And they was able to dance and they made what they love.

And this other person is home locked still and is afraid to go out, go back to the dance studio and take a one lesson only and feel back like a normal person that's mean I did my job well, so we have a different things now, and I hope all the industry we're going to work towards this because I know what is to be afraid. And I wish every teacher, every organizer, every vendor, to make sure that we, we, people who are going out, we can show that it's, we will be okay. Yes. The virus is there. We just have to adapt to the situation and we have to make the best of it and do what we love because dancing is giving us happiness.

Get me dancing is bringing us to our fantasy world and we need a fantasy more than ever right now.

Samantha: [01:09:06] Definitely. Definitely. Well, thank you so much Boyko for being a guest on today's episode. Anything that you want to leave our listeners with before we end the episode today,

Boyko: [01:09:17] One tip guys, keep dancing. How I say this is our fantasy world. Let's live in a fantasy and be happy. Okay.

Samantha: [01:09:25] Excellent. Well, thank you so much.

Boyko: [01:09:27] Thank you for having me guys.

Samantha: [01:09:30] Thank you again to Boyko for being a guest on today's podcast. If you would like to follow along with the hair and makeup creations of Boyko and co, or if you want to sign up to set an appointment of your own for an upcoming event, you can do so using the links in the description box below. As always I'm Samantha, I'm your host with Love Live Dance. You can find all of the podcast versions of these episodes at ballroomchat.com and you can follow us across social media at Ballroom Chat.

As always stay safe, stay positive, and we hope to see dancing very soon.