Dance world is full of various dance stories, from people who dance only for fun to those who seriously train and compete, from dance teachers to choreographers, from festival organizers to dance school owners. Stories diversify depending on the style someone dances and whether they prefer dancing in pairs or dancing by themselves. The dance has so many different shades and every dancer carries his dance story, which is not reflected solely in their dance, but also in their everyday life. But in the end, all dance stories share one great love, love for dance.
In the 7th interview of Dancer's Life Stories, we will get to know the story of Krista. She inspires dancers in Ljubljana to learn dance with African roots.
When did you start to dance, what stages did your dance take you through and what do you do today?
My dance story goes far back. I started dancing seriously in the third grade of elementary school, when my mom took me to Mojca Horvat's training. We used to train jazz or show dance there, we started doing various shows and we went to competitions. I was twice a World Champion with the group, that's the highest we got. It looked like this: I went to school, then immediately to training, then homework, studying and sleeping. I lived like this until the second year of high school.
And then I saw a poster in Ljubljana. Salsateca (at the time called Salsoteca) had organized workshops with Elder Sanchez, a colombian who lives in London and also has his own school Salsateca London. That attracted my interest, latin rhythms always attracted me a lot. I didn't manage to go that year, because we had a World Cup and it overlapped. The next year I saw the poster again and told myself that now it’s time to go. I tried and immediately fell in love with this dance, the rhythms. It was just something else, dancing in pairs, dancing with a man. I was a teenager at the time, something new was happening and my mom wasn't excited when I wanted to go to salsa parties every night. I decided to go for it, because both, show dance and salsa, didn't go together, it overlapped.
Later, they needed new teachers, because Sabina Remškar, Irena Lesjak, Dominika Fernandez and Andreja Šinkovec decided for other paths. I started teaching salsa. I am always looking for new challenges, trying to improve myself and explore. Through Andrea Stewart I learned about reggeaton. The girls asked me, why I wouldn't teach it, so I started. This took quite some time.
Around 2008 we went to Angola with my faculty, to volunteer for a month and a half. I always wanted to go to Africa, but didn't know how to arrange my first visit. This is, after all, a very unknown continent. To which country to go, with whom and how to organize it...? I was young and naive. Through a college of theology, we went to volunteer, work with youth. It was an interesting experience. I learned about kizomba, at that time I didn't know much about it.
And you were in the country of origin...
Yeah, completely unplanned. And then kuduro, it's an afro-urban dance, also from Angola. At the time, I was still working in Salsateca and they were very open to my new ideas. Even now I am grateful to them for supporting me, that they appreciated my opinion and for starting the first kizomba class in Ljubljana. Now all this continues, I am getting older and maybe it's time to calm down a little, to look at what I really want and focus only on what I really feel, where I can improve myself and what I can give to people.
And now you are focusing on...?
Kizomba for ladies and then afro-urban dances as well. I was very grateful to get in contact with Maša Kagao Knez from Studio XXV, who has roots in Burkina Faso. She is the first teacher of African traditional dances and also makes fusion and contemporary afro dances. This was good contact with Africa and those rhythms, so we are still in contact.
You are currenlty very active in dance. What does your daily or weekly routine look like?
When I was younger, or back in the days, I was a little more disciplined. But now I want to come back somehow. It's not easy, it takes a lot of discipline and will. In the morning, when I get up, I try to release whatever has accumulated overnight or the previous day through breathing. I do stretching and check what class I have that day. It's best for me to prepare myself for the day ahead, not the same day, because when you get an idea of what you would like to learn or how to teach it, it's good to sleep through it. Many times the next day something new comes through or you change things. So, I prepare myself for classes, choose the music and sit behind the computer to prepare promotions, because promotion is very important now. I still have a lot to learn in that area, but I'm trying. Then I go either to trainings or classes or to performance, to rehearsal or to exercise.
There are certainly some special moments in the studios and dance floors, some funny and maybe some a little more moving. Do you have moments like this?
There are quite a few. For example, one of the funny or maybe a little dangerous one for me was when I was dancing salsa with teacher Alain Felicite, who came from France to teach in Salsateca. He was quite wild and at one point he lifted me up and put me on his shoulder. He didn't know, that I was quite afraid of these lifts. I wanted to go down so I did one small somersault and grabbed his leg. He was trying to catch me so I wouldn't fall on my head, and I was catching him. Maybe it was funny for the audience, but not for me.
What about a moving moment?
There were quite a few. When we were doing shows for children and youth with Mojca Horvat, I got this love for the stage. When I stopped performing, it died down a little. It has always been my wish to step on the stage again and participate in a performance. Then it came true. I think in 2016, together with the team we did the Momentum show, where contemporary dance connected with afro, Masha Kagao Knez was a choreographer. I also worked with professional dancers, singers and musicians and it was a really great experience.
Another moving moment was at performance “Življenje je vrednota”, where my sister Maruša participated for a while. I had the honor or the opportunity to dance on stage with her. She is twelve years younger, but it all connected on stage, so it was very nice.
To be continued…