The face of our new catalogue cover Stefanie Bossen and partner Ben Taylor have recently moved from Amateur Ballroom to Professional. The pair have been dancing together since 2008 and are registered as a couple dancing for England.
Ben and Stefanie have recently enjoyed the fantastic news of their engagement and in between wedding planning and teaching, managed to take the time out of their hectic schedule to be part of our catalogue campaign photoshoot at our London Studio on the hottest day of year!
Talking to Ben behind the scenes at the photoshoot while Stefanie was busy in front of the camera, it was lovely to catch up with the couple who have been with us since before the merge at Crystal Clover, and was interesting to find out how the process has been for the duo moving from Amateur to Professional …
‘Since turning professional we have been the busiest we have ever been! Teaching has just exploded and we are now judging many competition events. It has become quite the challenge balancing training and competitions, as well as building lectures and teaching, we almost need a 9 day week lol. But we love it and we couldn’t be happier in the way our life has changed moving to Professional.
So how does competing in Professional differ to competing in the Amateur Ballroom?
Professional Ballroom is definitely the hardest category. The level of knowledge and experience from other competitors both nationally and internationally are awe inspiring. The professional competitors move across the floor so much powerfully with their experience and mechanics of their own movement.
For us at the moment our main focus is the rising stars and our aim is to be a finalist at the Pro Rising Stars at the Internationals.
How do you train differently now to when you were in Amateur?
We now practice a lot smarter and we have a practice plan, before when we were Amateur we just went into practice. Our time is very different as we now host practice nights. Our time management is really hard but by hosting practice nights they have really helped with our training. As Professionals our time is balanced by improving our own dancing as well as teaching others.
We have a fantastic team of teachers and studios that help build our dancing structure. Most of our teachers are based in London and the main studios we go to are Starlight and Dance Options. They all have their own style of musicality and flare that helps shape us into creating the best performance.
What do you do in your spare time?
We enjoy being at home and relaxing, we also love to go to the cinema – recently we watched Aladdin :) A quiet meal out and Steph likes to read, while I catch up on YouTube videos and gaming haha.
How did you find the photoshoot?
It has been a real experience and it is so great to see how this all works behind the scenes. Back when Stefanie did photoshoots for Crystal Clover I was never really around to see what happened I just left Stefanie to it, but this shoot the photographer is amazing at what he does, and is really good with direction. I think with the photographer having his own background in dance has really helped with this photoshoot. Everyone has just bonded and got on really well and it is so fantastic to be a part of it.
What do you think of the Buttercream catalogue dress?
It is absolutely gorgeous. This dress wasn’t made for Stefanie but it fits her like a glove, it is like it was made for her. I just love the colour of the underskirts it adds a stunning pop of colour in movement. I cannot always visualise colours and designs together, but seeing this dress on Stefanie today has opened up design ideas in my mind that I think would really suit Stef’s style. For example, the sugar pink and aqua underskirts I wouldn’t imagine would go so well with Buttercream! It makes me think of what else we could do with multi coloured skirt effects.
What colours are you and Stefanie drawn to when it comes to having a new Ballroom dress?
We tend to go for more feminine colours such as light pinks and pastel shades, we love the paler tones such as sugar pink to white, and Stef loves the new Ice blue > colour.
We tend not to go for darker colours because of our height. Lighter shades look more delicate and darker colours can make the male look less dominant. There is a definite shift in the design process of how colours and fabrics suit a couple that helps with the height and frame of each couple. One couple can look amazing in a particular colour or style, that might not have the same effect on another couple. We really have to think about what works best for us as a partnership to enhance our performance, help us stand out on the dancefloor and get noticed.
What are Stefanie’s key looks to her Ballroom dresses?
Stef loves to have stretch net on her arms which is a key look to all her dresses. Reason being? Stef has very pale skin and it is not easy to tan her so covered arms means less tanning! It can take several layers and attempts to get the right tan!
Stefanie’s skirts are also not quite so full, more of a sleek look because we are a similar height. When the skirt has a lot of volume the eye can be distracted. We go for a sleeker look as it makes me look more dominant lol. The number of the couple is on the man's back therefore the eye is mainly focused on the back/torso area where we want to keep the focus.
For a lady who has a height difference with her partner she can get away with having a fuller skirt.
What is it about Chrisanne Clover that you love?
First impressions count for everything and not only is it about your overall look and appearance, but also the brand you are wearing on the tail suit, and we are so proud to be sponsored by the biggest brand in the dance industry that we really do wear this badge with pride.
Every Chrisanne Clover dress is unique, there are no 2 dresses the same, and every Chrisanne Clover made to measure dress is unique to that individual. The quality of a Chrisanne Clover dress is out of this world, no other craftsmanship can beat a Chrisanne Clover dress. The quality of the dressmaking is outstanding and the fit of Stefanies dresses are always perfect! With Stef not having to worry about the fit of the dress on the day makes her feel great, which in turn reflects in her overall performance.
Our teachers always say that Chrisanne Clover have always been renowned for the quality and unique designs of their embellishment, and with the dresses embellished only in Swarovski® crystals, the shine on the floor is that much more brilliant and stand out.
Since turning Professional me and Stefanie have judged a lot of competitions and in the earlier rounds there is not much time to check the whole room. For example for a 1.20 minute track with 20 couples on the dancefloor, that leaves 5 seconds per couple. Not only is it the posture and look that is a priority, but a girl in a Chrisanne Clover dress will definitely stand out from the crowd.
Do you have an inspirational quote?
Practice like you have never won, perform like you never lost.
Do you have any advise to young dancers reading this?
There is a quote made by Hillary Clinton that I always refer back to …
Any feedback you get take seriously not personally.
Watch the behind the scenes video of catalogue photoshoot here >
Watch our designer Phoebe Ratcliff-Reid talk about the catalogue dress here >
Read more about the dress in our blog here >
Watch Ben and Stefanie dance here >