an interview with mia linnik holden and andrei toader

Author Victoria McGregor

02 May 2019

Mia and Andrei are one of our top Sponsored Gold dancers and our only sponsored couple dancing in Youth. Andrei and Mia started dancing together in 2015 as junior and are registered as a couple dancing for England. Originally 10 dance dancers, Mia and Andrei recently made the big decision to focus on Ballroom dancing.

 Andrei moved to the UK at the age of 12, 4 years ago to partner dance with Mia where they have had many successes in their junior career. With Andrei’s home town in Romania, Andrei lives with Mia and her family and is fostered by Mia’s Mum Maxine.

 Now moving to the Youth category and focusing on Ballroom, Mia and Andrei are also now officially in a relationship! It is lovely to see these young dancers blossom into such a beautiful couple, much to the pleasure of their 25,000 Instagram followers made famous by the pair featuring in Baby Ballroom, shown on channel 4 and Netflix.

 Popping into the head office for her dress fitting it was lovely to catch up with Mia, Andrei and Nana, as I talk to them about their dancing career and what the future holds …




How has it been so far moving up to Youth from Junior?

A: It has been really great actually, we have managed to adapt very quickly from Junior. All of our coaches have said that we are quite mature for junior so we look a lot better in youth…

M: A lot taller than all the juniors lol

A: We managed to win the British Junior which was our goal and then moved to Youth straight after

N: It was a nice way to end your Junior career

A: Then we did Youth in May Blackpool…

M: We did both festivals, it was tough but it was really good…

A: We were one mark off the semi and since then with all the big comps such as Disney WDC AL World Championships , Internationals we made the Semi Final and recently we made the U21 WDC European Final.

M: So it has been an amazing year!

A: Our goal now is to make the Finals in the U21


You are travelling around quite a bit on your own now without your Mum Maxine how is that going?

M: We always have someone there with us like coaches to support us. Although I admit it has actually been a bit weird as I always like my Mum there, I can talk to her about anything…

A: But it has been a great experience…

M: Yeh I mean when we are older we are going to be travelling around a lot so it’s good to do it early on.




And now you have stopped competing in Latin?

M: Yeah, it wasn't a decision we took lightly, but for us personally it has been a really positive step as we have been able to focus much more on our Ballroom training and as a result this has reflected in our results. The first competition we did, which we didn't compete in Latin was the British Closed Nationals in November 2018 and it actually didn't go as well as we hoped. Normally all the pressure and nerves for Andrei and myself was on the Latin and not our Ballroom, and this time all that pressure switched to our Ballroom.

A: And we didnt know how to deal with that pressure at that time as we was shocked we felt that way

M: It got to us a little bit and as a result, we was tense and we didn't dance our best... but it was a learning curve and we now know how to control it and have learnt to deal with it a lot better.


Do you miss competing in Latin?

M: Not one bit lol

A: We enjoy to dance Latin at practice and still offer 10 dance at shows and demonstrations but we don't miss competing in Latin. We love to watch it more now.

M: My Mum said she knew when we didn’t want to do it anymore as we both said that when we dance Ballroom we never want the music to stop, but when we dance Latin we just want the music to finish quickly. I do miss the Latin dresses though, I just loved them!





Do you still keep up with your Latin lessons?

A: Oh yes not as much as Ballroom, we have increased our range of coaches with Ballroom and decreased our coaches in Latin, so we can afford more lessons in Ballroom now.

N: They are working really hard and have used the disappointment from nationals as a driver to improve. 

M: All of our coaches have said that is the best thing that ever could have happened to us because sometimes you need the knocks to get your dancing back on track. I think we got just a little complacent.

N: I know when they dance well by the feeling I get...when it moves you and gives you tingles. They have really stepped up their training now and its really starting to show.

M: We are training constantly everyday now and we always go to a gym and train where we also use the hall to practice everyday.

A: Since the nationals we spend about 4 hours in the gym daily training and practicing :)


So how are you balancing your dancing career and training with your school and education?

A: I am in 6th form currently doing my A-levels. I am missing a bit of school as dancing is a priority but I manage to keep on top of things.




Is your school supportive?

M: I am home schooled now as i had some issues with bullying and lack of support. I was initially home schooled about 12 months ago because of bullying but i then decided i didn't want the bullies to think they had won so i went back to school to try again. I was back at school for 5 months but just found there was no support - my previous coursework for my GCSEs had been deleted as I had left so i had to try and re-complete all of that, plus they didn't understand my dancing commitments. We really tried to make it work by looking at dropping some subjects and concentrating just on Maths, English and Science but they wouldn't allow me to do that. Eventually, i became so stressed and upset - it was a horrible time and I felt really sad - so my mum made the decision to home school again.


So even though they saw you on the TV Show Baby Ballroom and know the reason why you miss school you were still getting into trouble?

M: They thought i was a great dancer but saw it as a 'hobby' not as my future career. They would only allow me 10 authorised days off a year for dancing which is not enough.

 N: They said if Mia had any more time off from Jan 2019 - July 2019 they would fine Maxine and Mias dad £120 each plus threatened court action. This wasn't an option obviously and Mia was also quite sad and stressed so it didn't make sense to continue when we could home school her and take it at her own pace, concentrating on main subjects.


So home schooling is working out a lot better for you now?

M: yes i am a lot happier. I am sad it didn't work and that they didn't acknowledge my dancing level and try and support me with it, but overall I am much more relaxed now. I am concentrating on Maths, English and Science and I have also been learning other skills like cleaning and ironing our dance clothes, sewing, managing finances etc so I can do all of these things when we are at competitions on our own.

 N: We did meet with the headteacher many times and ask if we could reduce subjects like PE and RE etc and just concentrate on core subjects but this wasn't allowed.

 M: They eventually allowed me to drop PE but that was the only subject they allowed.


But you both go to the same school?

A: Yes, they don't seem to have put same pressures on me as they did Mia. I am unsure why.

 M: I was named Student of the year in 2017 for my ability to balance my studies and dance along with my behaviour so I am unsure - maybe because GCSEs were near and they felt I should be concentrating more on these and relaxing on my dancing.


What would be your advice to your young followers who are in school and want a career in dance?

M: Follow your dreams. Dancing is my life it is all I have ever wanted to do and all I will ever do. With the help of a good supportive network of family and coaches they will help see you follow your dreams. Everything will be ok.

A: Along the way a lot of people will disagree with you and hate, these are the ones who are jealous of what you do and you just need to ignore it and continue following your dreams.




Andrei do you miss home?

A: Yeh, but at the same time I see my family every 6 weeks, either they come over here or I will go over there. I see my family a lot. My dad lives in another town and I think I see him more now than I would if I was back home. I phone and face time every day so we are always in touch.

N: Andrei has a wonderful family and fantastic parents.

M: I get on really well with his family and his little sister

A: Yeh we are going away on holiday together

M: We are all going to Turkey soon :)

N: They treat her like a daughter and we treat him like a son. They are a match made in heaven!...


N: Tell Vicki about your special news from August!

A: oh yeh well we have been in a relationship since August

M: lol yeh he asked the question!

A: We always get asked if we are a couple and Mia is constantly getting messages on Instagram asking if we are, so we can now officially say yes we are lol




Wow congratulations! How are you finding it moving from friendship to relationship?

M: We were already like a couple as we have always been really close. So really nothing has changed as we never argue.

N: That is the honest truth they never fall out!

M: Actually I think it has improved our dancing because I feel we have become closer and it has become a lot easier to do everything now.

A: A lot of people have said that when you get into a relationship with your partner it improves your dancing as you no longer have to act. It is a lot easier, a lot more natural now we are couple.


Do you think it is a love that has grown over time or was it love at first sight?

M: I think we always liked each other, but we were scared of telling anyone at first. We were both 12 when we first met and I think we have definitely grown closer over the years and that has now brought us together.

A: We always put dancing separate to our relationship, so when we go dancing the focus is purely on the dance. We don’t let our relationship interfere with our dancing.

M: When he asked me I said yeh I would love to be your girlfriend but we have to be really sensible :)


So how did you ask Mia to be your girlfriend?

M: He actually asked me on our holiday in Italy. We were just talking and then he asked me if I wanted to be his girlfriend :)



And what do your families think of your relationship?

M: They are all happy for us and supportive - they all just said we need to ensure we keep our emotions outside of our dancing.

A: I think it is everyone’s dream to find a dance partner they can dance with and be in a relationship with.

M: It is also really hard in a dancing partnership to have a relationship with someone outside of the dancing world. They don’t always understand the nature of the career where you travel together, share rooms and hold hands on the dance floor.


 You have a little business of your own Mia?

M: Yeh, Mial Beauty! Its actually going really well. I offer Make Up for competitions and I also do make up for formation teams. It was a big step to take because I have so much going on with my dancing but it has really helped as I put any profit back into our dancing. This is an expensive profession and I like the fact that sometimes I might be able to help my family with costs. I have actually also sponsored a few little dancers - i have always appreciated having support off such wonderful companies like Chrisanne Clover and even though it is a small amount, I really wanted to help other dancers on their path to success.

  N: A huge part of the success they have both had is Andrei - is so easy to work with. He has come over and we have had not one bit of trouble off him, he is the most amazing young man.

M: Most boys when they come to the UK get really home sick and go back home. We have known so many partnerships that have split up because of it. Andrei has never had a moment like that.




Do you see the UK as your home now?

A:  Yeh I have the best of both worlds, a lovely home here and a lovely home in Romania…

M: Even my little sister says she sees Andrei as a brother. She always says ‘I hope he’s coming back!’ lol


Does the whole Brexit issue bother you?

N: When Brexit started happening before Mia and Andrei were in a relationship Maxine said to Andrei ‘well I will either have to adopt you, or you will have to marry Mia’. Andrei said he would go for the adoption lol!

A: it doesn't worry me too much - I have lived and studied in the UK for 4 years now and was privately fostered by Maxine until I was 16. I have applied for settlement Status and will eventually look at applying for UK citizenship.

M: He has been in education all this time and has passed his GCSE’s here


Mia now you have moved to Youth do you think your colour palette in your couture dresses have changed much?

M: I think I will be sticking to bold colours for Youth. I experimented with pastel shades in Junior which didn’t really stand out on the floor as much as I thought they would have. I do really like black though black will always be my favourite, everyone knows me for my black dresses. But it is nice to have a pop of colour now and again.




What is your favourite Chrisanne Clover dress that you have worn?

M: Every new dress i get is my favourite one! Every time i think, OMG, that it amazing. So at the moment, its my new cobalt dress.


What are your plans for the future?

 M: Continuing to work super hard in lessons, practice, camps and competitions. We have also started to offer some competitive workshops - this is not coaching or teaching but information on competition behaviour, presentation on and off the floor, dresses, make up, hair looks etc. We provide these to dance schools, dance parents and pupils and talk to pupils about how to behave, present themselves on and off the floor including social media, and all the niggly things like cutting off straps on dance shoes ! All of this is all part of the performance - learning how to present yourself.


What do you both do in your spare time?

A: Watch films, go for a meal, phone my brother…

M: We play with my little 8 year old sister, she loves playing cards so we play games with her a lot. She did give dancing a go but has now ‘retired’ after 2 competitions lol. She said she liked dancing with the boys but hated the practice. She is very academic and has a reading age of a 12 year old.

We love shopping too. I love shopping in Selfridges and the make up shops :)




What is the most recent film or boxset you have watched?

M: Vampire diaries on Netflix! We watch this every night :)


So with all the make up that you have if you could only have one piece of make-up what would it be?

M: probably a good mascara... or an eye brow pencil... or foundation lol


Where do you see yourselves in 5 years time?

M: Hopefully training and competing all around the world. We really want to compete in Russia and the Asian tour.

A: We will be competing in Amateurs by then hopefully and it will be amazing to do shows in Asia and do the Asian tour. It is only Amateur and Pro’s for the Asian tour so we can’t do this yet, this is something we are really looking forward to doing when we move into Amateur.



We wish Mia and Andrei the best of luck for the Blackpool Dance Festival and great success in their new career in Youth!



Shop Mia's collection of couture dresses HERE >

Read more about Mia's Junior couture fashion history HERE >

Watch them dance on YouTube HERE >


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