"I try not to focus on any medals or such achievements,” he said. “I only try to focus on the dance floor and dance for me and my friends."
Germany’s Erik Machens likes to cover all corners of the dance floor, making eye contact with the audience and conveying just why he does the sport.
“My goal is to have as much fun on the dance floor as possible, and I really really try hard [to do that],” the Para dancer said.
With medals up for grabs and sharing the dance floor with nearly 10 other competitors, “fun” can get lost, the multi-world and European champion explained. But he is confident he can do just in front of the comfort of his home spectators this weekend at the Para Dance Sport Mainhatten Cup from Saturday-Sunday (18-19 June) in Frankfurt.
“It’s not easy on this level, but I try not to focus on any medals or such achievements,” he said. “I only try to focus on the dance floor and dance for me and my friends and that I have a good feeling on the floor. That is my strategy.”
Pressure may be on for many dancers this season with three competitions to go until the 2017 World Championships set for 21-22 October in Malle, Belgium.
At least for Machens, he has one burden off his chest from last season.
“Last season I did my final examinations in my studies [graphic and communications design],” Machens said. “So my head was focused on other things and not on the dance floor. But I think I’m back and I showed the audience in Poland that I’m back and that my colleagues on the dance floor can count on me.”
The 33-year-old is coming off a win in the men’s singles class 2 at the Polish Open in late May, giving him positive momentum heading into the Mainhatten Cup.
“It was a very good start for me because it was my very first competition this year and I was in a good mood and could show my progress in my trainings,” Machens said.
“I’m very optimistic [for this weekend’s competition] because this is my home and I know the venue and I danced there at the last German Championships. I’m very familiar with the venue and the surroundings.”
The difference however between the Mainhatten Cup compared to the Polish Open will be the strong Ukrainian delegate, which includes Ivan Zamiga, the very dancer who dethroned Machens for the men’s singles European Championship title last year in Kosice, Slovakia.
This is where Machens’ strategy on having fun will be tested.
He was cautious not to reveal any potential changes to his dance routine for this season.
“Top secret,” Machens joked.
“I’m not focused on the Ukrainian team,” he continued, “I think they are very strong but I will do my best.”