DANCEWORKS: Can you tell us about your home in Chisinau, Republic of Moldova. How did you spend your early dancing days?
ZHENYA: I was born in the Republic of Moldova which at the time was part of the Soviet Union. I started dancing at the age of 6 when my mother put me into competitive ballroom class at school. I kept training and competing until I was 15. After Grade 10, I joined a commercial dance company and started to learn other styles of dance: modern, contemporary, hip-hop and jazz.
DANCEWORKS: In addition to your work as a professional dancer and with Throwdown Collective, you co-founded The School of Cadence Ballet. Can you tell us about the school?
ZHENYA: In 2011, I started The School of Cadence Ballet (which is now an international ballet school with students from overseas), with Courtnae Bowman. Since it’s a very small enterprise I have to do a multitude of jobs: co-artistic director, accountant, receptionist, repair man, photographer, videographer, graphic and sound designer, teacher, choreographer, and outside eye.
DANCEWORKS: Can you tell us about Throwdown Collective’s creative and rehearsal process for Various Concert? What are some of the challenges and triumphs in working with a collective?
ZHENYA: After the completion of three successful outdoor commissions with large props, we were itching to get into the studio and start working on a stage piece to explore movement ideas. The challenge of working in a collective model without an obvious hierarchical structure, is finding a common ground and the ability to merge individual visions and artistic instincts through extensive communication and practice. The resulting work represents the amalgamation of our artistic visions.
DANCEWORKS: Thank you, Zhenya.
DanceWorks presents Throwdown Collective at the Harbourfront Centre Theatre on February 9-11 at 8pm. Click here to purchase tickets.