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Meet Nadya Zeitlin

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nadya Zeitlin.

Nadya, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I’m a curious choreographer whose favorite question is: “what if?”. I dance, learn, create, just directed my first short dance movie. I mom (as a verb “to mom”). I learned my first floorwork phrase when I was 26. I did ballroom dancing before, but it was contemporary and dance-theatre that took me over. I enrolled into Art Therapy course to upgrade my Psychology degree, and that’s where I found out about these. Coincidentally, a studio, teaching modern and dance-theatre opened in my area few months before. Curious I stepped inside and my journey began.

I was amazed that simple gestures or repeated sequences, often performed in dance-theatre performances, can make people feel so much by connecting with them on levels, deeper than visual and aesthetic, like Ballet. I wanted to learn more, so I traveled to St. Petersburg, Russia to dive into more styles and techniques during the Open Look, huge International dance festival. Teachers from all over the world gathered for a week to share their knowledge, and it was absolutely exhausting and amazing at the same time.

Inspired, we started to create works with other artists in the studio where I worked at the moment. Dancers, actors, writers, poets whirled together and the magic was born. It all happened in my home city Almaty, Kazakhstan.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I stepped onto the dancing path being an adult already. I don’t have the technique, that most people in the room have and that puts extra weight on my shoulders. But I enjoy dancing with every muscle and keep moving and learning as much as I can. Another thing is the risk of injuries. After crossing 30 years mark, I need to spend much more time intensively warming up my body, otherwise, pain can stop the rehearsal. Creating works got even harder when our beloved daughter was born. Happily, my husband is a great supporter, he knows that dancing is my air and I can’t live without it. So he helps a lot.

Please tell us about Nadya Zeitlin.
In 2013, I moved to Atlanta. In the very beginning of my life here, I was lucky to study and perform with gloATL. Hungry for knowledge, I attended a lot of classes and workshops around town and eventually started creating my own works. I performed at the Eyedrum Gallery, Skwhirlhaus, Decatur Arts Festival, etc. My piece opened MAD Festival 2015 (as it has won a 1st place in 24 hrs Dance Competition that year).

In 2017, I curated two multidisciplinary shows. I was very happy with the turnout of these shows and I hope to continue curating events as such.

In my works, I touched upon themes of nostalgia or saudade and conflicts with myself. My first short dance movie called “…and then the dishwasher got broken” (premieres February 2019 at Femmefest) describes struggles women have while juggling their careers and domestic chores (that most of us still have to perform alone).

What’s happening right now? Since September 2018, I choreograph for Russian Solo Theatre’s new production, The Little Prince (premieres May 2019 here in ATL). My recent travel to Lisbon, Portugal for another dance festival got me inspired and full of ideas. I can’t wait to bring them to life!

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
The timing of events that started my dance journey make me feel that everything is in the right place. And all the life experiences made me who I am right now. But if I could, I would tell my adolescent self: hey, be strong, go dance more, learn these jumps and turns, we need a stronger body for your future!!!

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Mangrove Productions, Alan Kimara Dixon, Jacqueline Diaz, Snap2Studios

Getting in touch: VoyageATL is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

  1. CharleAnne Sher

    February 28, 2019 at 5:25 pm

    This was an incredibly interesting interview with Nadya. I am privileged to call her “friend” and respect her passion for dance. She is a fabulous mother to her young daughter. I hope Atlanta will receive her talents with open arms.

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