Michael and Nika Foskett are one of our top UK Sponsored Silver couples. They have been dancing together since April 2013 as Youth and now they currently dance in Amateur Ballroom for England. Their most recent successes includes being British National Amateur Ballroom Finalists, International and British Open Amateur Ballroom Quarterfinalists and European Amateur Ballroom Semi finalists.
This year they have had many successful competitions including making the quarterfinal of the International Championships in October 2018, placing 5th in the British Nationals and so far this year competing at the Star Ball, UK Open and Milano Grand Ball 2019.
As well as thriving in their dancing career, Nika has also completed her degree in business management and Micheal is studying for his PHD in mathematics. Here we catch up with the newly wed couple to see how their year has been so far and what they have planned for the future...
How has your year been so far and what do have coming up for the rest of the year?
Michael: For us, 2019 has started very successfully and we already have many amazing memories, including dancing the UK Open, Milano Grand Ball and Eastern US Championships in Boston. One of our goals for this year is to travel and compete more as finally we have much more free time, especially since Nika completed her Business Management degree last year and I am coming towards the end of my PhD in Mathematics. We have lots of trips planned for both our own dancing as well as many student-teacher competitions, specifically going to Rome and Saint Petersburg in March, then Rome again and Sweden in April before the Europeans. We are very busy with training and competitions planned for this year, with the summer looking a little bit quieter as we plan to spend some quality time with both of our families.
Wow a busy year ahead! Tell us more about your history? Where did you both grow up and when did you first meet and become a couple, both on and off the dancefloor?
Michael: I grew up in Dorking, Surrey with my parents running a very successful dance school and that’s exactly how I fell in love with dancing at the age of 5 and have been doing it passionately ever since. Nika grew up in Kyiv, Ukraine and started dancing at 13 in a very big dance club ‘Shans’ where she became a part of a dancing family and since then has loved every minute of Ballroom dancing. We met when we were both searching for a partner in early 2013 and were put in touch by Natalia Biedniagina (Nika’s coach from Ukraine) and Marcus & Karen Hilton who knew each other very well and believed we could be a great match together. We had been dancing together for around a year and a half filled with lots of success before we started our relationship.
Two years later in August 2016 I proposed to Nika in Bournemouth whilst on a short holiday, which Nika says was the most romantic and beautiful thing ever :) We got married on the 9th August 2017 and were lucky enough to have both of our families and close friends together from all over the world to share the most magical and special day of our lives. We still haven’t had a chance to have a honeymoon as we’ve been incredibly busy ever since! We would like to still have a honeymoon soon (maybe on one our wedding anniversaries) and we plan to go to Santorini, Greece as that’s our dream place to visit. We’ve been having the best time together and absolutely loving our married life - we are the best team together and that’s the most important thing for us!
Wow congratulations on your marriage it looked so romantic! So with dancing what dance would you say is your most favourite?
Nika: We both particularly like the Foxtrot as it’s a very beautiful dance which allows you to tell your own story in a very lyrical way. It helps that we also love the music!
What are your highest achievements and what is your most proudest moment in dance?
Michael: Nika and I’s greatest achievements would undoubtedly be being crowned World, British Open and National Youth Ballroom Champions all within a year. Winning both the Worlds and British Open were the highlights in our career so far and will forever remain as very special moments in our hearts. For both of us the British Open Championship in Blackpool is our favourite competition and adding our names to such a spectacular list of former champions was certainly the proudest moment out of all. The venue and competition have so much history and prestige that after winning the title we were full of lots of tears, happiness and indescribable feelings.
So how do you prepare for a major competition and then relax when it is over?
Nika: In the run up to a competition we make sure we have very clear goals and thoughts in order to make sure we can be focused and deliver the best performance possible on the day. We also make sure we support each other and have a very positive attitude. After a competition, the main thing we both catch up on is sleep! Having plenty of sleep is crucial for both of us to feel energised and fresh so we can get back to training.
Nika what would you say is your paricular dress style? Do you have a signature look and what are you inspired by when it comes to designing your dresses?
Nika: I think that everyone is different when it comes to dress styles. Considering my body structure and physique, I have found the style that suits me most is to have a slightly shorter but full skirt that starts from high up on the legs with an accent on the waistline. I also much prefer long sleeves and light floats that accentuate the movement. When it comes to design, my Mum plays a huge role as she has a great eye for the best look. Together, we always consider current fashions as well as competitive trends when designing my dresses. This also helps me choose the colour scheme and over the past few years I think we have definitely found my signature style of dress.
What is it you love about Chrisanne Clover?
Nika: One of the main things that we both love about Chrisanne Clover is the team spirit and family that they have created amongst their team members and dancers. We have been a part of this great team as a sponsored couple for a few years now and we have always felt very valued, loved and appreciated by everyone we have worked with, and this support is of course invaluable in helping our dancing career!
Are there any particular Chrisanne Clover couture dresses that you love?
Nika: There are so many gorgeous and unique dresses currently on your website! If I had to pick one, it would be BDD502NN worn by Joanne at the UK Open this year. It has all the elements of dresses that I love to wear, and white is always an elegant colour for a ballroom dress, especially for big occasions!
Are there any dancewear pieces that you have your eye on?
Nika: I love the ‘Revolution’ ballroom practice dress in the new arrivals section. It is simple and sophisticated and I really like all the detail around the neckline.
What would you say is your favourite Chrisanne Clover colour?
Nika: My current favourite colour is ‘Sugar Pink’ which is why it is the colour of my current ballroom dress. This colour looks striking but at the same time elegant on the floor and I have received so many positive comments about it!
Who would you say is your most respected dancing opponent and dancing idols?
Michael: At the moment the standard of the Amateur Ballroom field in which we compete is extremely strong with so many talented couples vying for high placings. We respect all our competitors and of course are motivated by looking at those who are currently ahead of us. For me, growing up I was always inspired by watching Christopher Hawkins and now have many idols for different reasons. For example, Luca Baricchi & Loraine Barry and Marcus & Karen Hilton.
Nika: Another couple who we both love to watch and learn from was Mirko Gozzoli & Alessia Betti.
Who are your main dance coaches?
Nika: The main coaches throughout our career has been Michael’s parents, John & Linda Foskett. They see us in every practice and competition and provide the constant support and advice necessary for us to grow and develop as dancers. Our other key ballroom teachers are Marcus & Karen Hilton, who have taught Michael since he was a young Junior!
What do you do in your spare time to relax?
Michael: When not dancing, I spend most of my remaining time working on my PhD in mathematics. Doing both at high levels takes pretty much all of my time, but we both like to relax by watching TV series with our small dog, Lola.
What food do you love the most? Any favourite restaurants or cuisine?
Nika: Of course for me, it has to be Ukrainian food and I think I have succeeded in making Michael love it too! When at home, I love to cook and try new things from a variety of cuisines, though our go-to favourite restaurant has to be Wagamama!
What is your favourite music? What songs/artists do you have on your playlist?
Nika: I grew up in a family where music was always a part of our everyday lives. My parents, brother and I all play the piano and my brother is also a very talented drummer and music producer. Because of this I grew up listening to a lot of jazz and blues music.
Michael: Even though I started dancing at 5, I was around Ballroom and Latin music from the day I was born and so dancing music always has a special place in my heart. Otherwise, we both listen to all kinds of music, including all eras and styles.
What would your career be if it wasn’t dancing?
Nika: I have always had both academic and artistic sides of my personality, so would have been very happy to run my own business based around something creative, for example a family-run restaurant.
Michael: I too have always balanced an academic and creative life and from a young age was very interested in science, particularly maths and physics. As I have grown up I have found that I love teaching, both dancing and science, as there is something very special about sharing your passion and helping someone else experience the beauty and enjoyment such areas have to offer.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?
Nika: At the moment our aim in our dancing is to get to the top of the amateur category, both nationally and internationally, the ultimate goal being to again win the British Open, this time as amateurs. On the personal side, we would love to have started a family together and I see us being professional ballroom dancers and teachers in our successful family-run dance school. Of course, we also wish that we are able to spend lots of quality time with all of our family and have plenty of health and happiness.
Tell us an interesting fact about yourselves?
Michael: I like challenging myself to learn new (but sometimes not very useful) skills. For example, I can solve a rubiks cube, recite the number pi to 100 decimal places and like card magic.
Nika: At the age of 5 I started learning to sail, competing with my Dad in national regattas and received my sailing licence at the age of 10.
Do you have an Inspirational Quote?
Nika: I live my life by these quotes: “Always believe in yourself”, “Whatever happens in life, happens for a reason”.
Do you have any advice to young dancers reading this?
Michael: My advice is of course to work hard and invest time in the fundamental skills but also to trust your emotions and instincts and to allow your passion and love for dancing to be expressed in your performances on the competition floor.
Nika: Firstly, I would say you should listen to your teachers, parents and friends, try to take all advice into account, as that is exactly how you can grow and develop your dancing as fast as possible. Secondly, you should also try to maintain and show your uniqueness, even when perhaps you are feeling overwhelmed with information or struggling to make a change, as this is what makes you special.
Watch Michel and Nina dance HERE >
Facebook page: Michael and Nika.