Competing With The Best: Cathrin Hissnauer On Top Performance.

Text: Kerstin Lange       Photography: Helmut Römhild


To really relax I go to my parents' place in Glinde. Whenever possible I come to the family home to find peace and to rest.

Cathrin, aged 22, started dancing 12 years ago. This is her typical day:
At least 3 hours training in the morning with her partner, Stanislaw (Stas) Herman, in the town of Braunschweig.
Then, In the afternoon, she turns into a trainer

herself training dancers in the town of Peine.
And training well goes on into the evening when she moves to Wolfsburg or Hildesheim to instruct dancers in the local sports clubs.
What about the weekends? Training again and on top of that: Competitions.


Cathrin Hissnauer

Cathrin Hissnauer, S-level, 4th on the German ranking list.

Ambition? Keen on success? You bet!

Cathrin is one of Germany's top competition dancers. She is 4th on the German ranking list.

“Weekend workshops in Italy, that's the best: The lovely food, the brilliant weather.

But the most important thing is to meet other dancers, to spend time together.

Training, watching, being judged: This is the way to find out how good one really is, this the way to move forward, to improve.”


“There are so many things to do,

too many to put into one day. Personal fitness training to improve strength and endurance, dancing, getting the sufficient amount of sleep  — something is always neglected. Unfortunately that is also true for healthy and sensible nutrition,” Cathrin has to admit.

But don't dancers — like any other athelete — need vitamins, minerals and protein?
“During competitions there is a lot of stress, a lot of excitement and we have our powerdrinks and powerbars. If things don't go so well there is icecream to fight frustration.”

A Question Of Money.

Cathrin needs at least 10 pairs of dancing shoes per year. The gentlemen come cheaper, they only need about 5 pairs.

A gown for Cathrin costs 2000 Euro, the gentleman's tailcoat from 1.500 up to 2.000 Euro.
Training sessions and weekend workshops tailored for the needs of top dancers are expensive. The cost of travelling in Germany and abroad adds to the already large bill.

Sponsoring plays an important role in every athlete's life.
But whereas soccer and tennis attract sponsors almost automatically, competition dancers face real problems: Only few sponsors provide money for this sport.

More media coverage would certainly alter things but also here competition dancing doesn't rank very high.

Next step: Professional.

There is only one thing in Cathrin's life: Dancing. Which leaves no other option than to aim at becoming a professional.

The professional dancers form a very special league, where income ranges from the almost pathetic prize money of 1500,-- Euros in German competitions to the 'Tokio Assignments': Training the kids of Japanese millionaires during the day and performing on parties in the evening, being paid handsomely for the services.

Main prerequisite: Being one of the top performers in competition dancing.

Cathrin and Stas, while belonging to Germany's top ten, still have to face a strong challenge:
“It is only 3 years we are together, dancing. But other partners, for example brothers and sisters, have been dancing for 8 or even 10 years. It gives them a big advantage and it simply takes time for us to close this gap.
But time is the issue: Beyond the mid-twenties it no longer makes sense to become a professional.”

Asis Khadjeh-Nouri,

coaching Germany's young competition dancers for the DTV is also the trainer of Cathrin and Stas. And if it comes to closing gaps, to pushing dancers forward, he certainly is first choice — as are the legendary Werner Führer and internationally acknowledged Fabio Selmi. With trainers like them, what can go wrong?

Nevertheless Cathrin prefers a self-critical approach:

“Even after 12 years of dancing it remains difficult to make progress regardless of how much effort we put into our training.”

And what next? But of course: On November 1 Stuttgart will see the German Ballroom S-Level Championship .
Cathrin und Stas will be there. And without doubt it will be one more step forward for the two, one more success in row of many.

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Aktualisiert: 16.10.2008