29 March, 2023

From Latin American and Ballroom dance to a dream of owning a perfume company

Thriving Thursdays - Ioana - Thriving Thursdays - Ioana

Originally from Romania, Ioana is no longer afraid of change and has a clear vision of what she wants to achieve and where she wants to go. It all started with her mother seeing a Latin American dance club next to Ioana’s kindergarten. As soon as she saw it, she immediately took five-year-old Ioana to try her first lesson. Years later, after hours of hard work and passion for Latin American and ballroom dancing, Ioana became part of the Czech National Dance Team and until two years ago, when she decided to focus on her business studies within the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, she was a successful dancer. Studying Business, Psychology, English, Spanish, Math, and ESS she is now focusing on her future and a new dream; to start her own perfume company.


"Be patient and never stop believing in yourself."


Ioana shared her story and the challenges she faced:

What brought you to this sport?

When I was little, a new dance club opened next to my kindegarten and my mum signed me up for Latin American and Ballroom dancing. I didn’t enjoy it at first because I had to dance with a partner which I wasn’t comfortable with, but my mum kept pushing me to go and try it again, and later I found a passion for it. The moment I decided I would like to become a professional dancer was when my coach encouraged me to watch the Latin American Romanian championship - and I was completely fascinated by all the older girls competing.

What have been your biggest achievements?

My biggest achievement was here in the Czech Republic when me and my partner became part of the Czech National Dance Team at the Latin American National Championship. The National Team consists of 24 of the best couples for each category. We got the news in January 2021, and I was overwhelmed by the news because I did not expect it! I saw how my determination and passion for this sport really paid off.

Do you still compete?

No, I decided to stop dancing because it was too challenging for me to balance my dance life and my studying. I truly had to think about whether I would like to pursue dancing in the future and become a professional dancer or if I would like to focus on my academic studies. I decided that it’s better for me to study business as I believe that it will bring me more opportunities. I stopped dancing professionally, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to completely stop dancing in the future. I would like to try different types of dancing - maybe at university.

What has been the biggest challenge for you?

The biggest challenge was balancing my school life and my dance life when we were training for important competitions, such as the Latin American National Championship and then international competitions. With a fixed schedule for us to follow, which was a priority, I couldn’t complete my school tasks. That's when I realised, I needed to choose between the two: either fully focus on dancing or on my school life.

“Another challenge was accepting disappointments.”

Going to a competition and not achieving the goal me and my partner set was hard to overcome. However, I think our collaboration was successful and we learnt how to overcome many challenges.

During this period, did the school support you enough?

The teachers were very supportive. Mr Korzcyk advised me to sign a sports contract, which really helped me and the other teachers were understanding.  When I couldn’t complete a task, I would be given an extension to complete it to my highest academic level and whenever I was stressed or overwhelmed with work, I always had the support of teachers, who advised me on what to do and how to mentally prepare for important competitions.

I think the support of the school, plus the support of the people around me, such as my parents and my friends, really motivated me to push through those boundaries and continue overcoming the challenges I experienced in dance.

What was the biggest lesson that you learnt?

I learnt that I cannot avoid change; I cannot avoid disappointments - and I think dance really taught me how to adapt to change. For example, some challenges I didn’t mention were; moving countries, moving dance clubs, and switching dance partners, something which has always been an issue for me. However, experiencing that has really helped me to adapt - to a different school and to a different environment.

What is your next milestone?

“My biggest dream is to start my own perfume company.”

I would like to do well in my final International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme exams (in May 2023), but my next milestone is to study business at the University of Vienna.

Why a perfume company?

My mum works for a perfume company and, since she started working there three years ago, I’ve been completely fascinated by all the perfumes. So, it came to my mind that I would really like to open my own perfume company. I know I need to get experience first - I know I still have a lot to learn, but I think that studying business at university, as well as getting some experience, will really help me in the future to achieve this dream.

Why did you choose to study in Vienna?

I wanted to study in Spain at first. However, my dad took me to different universities as he wanted me to see them in person and I was not convinced by the universities ones I visited in Spain. We then went to Vienna, and I really liked it. I had a trial day at the university, and I just saw that it's the right fit for me. Until the end of my IGCSE, I was learning German. So, I think that deepening my knowledge of German and becoming fluent will really help me.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start dancing and/or pursue a career in dancing?

Be patient and never stop believing in yourself. At the beginning I never thought I would become a professional dancer, especially after I saw how much work was required to become a good dancer and dance competitively. But, having strong support from your family and your school, really helps you to push your boundaries and improve. Ultimately, having a strong support and always believing in yourself will really help you to become a good dancer.