The topic of creativity as a lifestyle has been brought up many times in our articles. But this time we are going to talk about the most important sides of the Art – about ability to be a guide in a personal transformations and to help people to find themselves. Our interlocutors, Javier and Katerina Che Malaguilla, wonderful dancers and flamenco teachers, have undergone many trials, but exactly the art of Dancing have become the link that connected them together, and proves to all students and audience, how is it – to live by feelings and not to be afraid of being Yourself.


About dances, emotions, partnership, Russian-Spanish mentality and the art of living in a move in our HEADING "CONVERSATIONS AT TEA".

GAYANAT: How did you happen to be in the world of dancing?

Katerina: I’ve been dancing from my childhood. From the very first day of dancing classes it was obvious that this activity would be in my life for a very long time. I have tried many styles and schools: classical, folk, modern, oriental. I even achieved quite a serious level in jazz-modern: I performed a lot, I was awarded many times at Russian and international competitions. But when I was introduced with flamenco, I understood that I fell in love. For some time this love became so strong that I put aside the rest of the things. Now I have come to understanding that it’s very important to use all your knowledge and experience that you had had before. That is why I am trying to mix different styles. Flamenco is a basis in my life. I cant live without it

Javier: My inner sense invited me into dancing. From the age of 13 I practiced modern styles (break dance, jazz, funk), then at the age of I had a knee injury and after that I was forbidden to dance. I fell into depression that lasted 6 years until, at the age of 25, I started practicing percussion (Javier plays many drums: African, Indian and etc.), I accompanied in dancing performances. I have always been interested in multi-ethnicity. Even now I am trying to have cultural exchanges with interesting people from different countries.
Getting back to dances happened at the age of 30 and brought a lot of discoveries. I loved the way how I could express all I wanted (anxieties, inner emotions and accumulated feelings) through dancing. In fact, getting into dancing was a necessity for me and, simultaneously, the beginning of a new life stage.

К: I agree. I also had undergone different situations in life. Dances really helped me to cope with everything that was happening with me. If I don’t dance, I feel badly. It is difficult to bear long periods without dancing, as the whole body is used to constant expression through movements. If it is not happening, then uncontrolled processes start. When once you dance – everything goes away.

GN: So, mostly dancing helps you to express emotions, doesn’t it?  It is kind of a therapy, right?

J: Yes, this is that kind of work that helps you to find some balance. I mean, it helps you to control emotions, impulses and find a balance among them. 

GN:  How did you meet each other? Through dances or there was a different reason?

К. Two Spanish teachers were supposed to arrive to my dance school. One of my friends offered me to invite Javier. But, first time I didnt approve him (is laughing). Once Javier was in Russia, I visited his concert, but I was not impressed so much. But later on, this friend insisted on inviting Javier and I decided to trust him and I gave in.  This is how the story started.

J: Finally, she liked me: as a teacher and as a person (is laughing). 

К: In fact, that time I was married, so we were just friends, we discussed working matters. But then our meeting became so frequent that at some moment we realized that we didn’t want to be apart. 

GN: We were at your concert and we noticed that there was a great energy between both of you (energy of a couple). Being a partner – what does it mean for you?

J: It is the process of complementarity: if one doesn’t manage something, then the other helps. But you should not force – all should be natural. Sometimes we also get angry with each other, but it doesn’t last long, because harmony existing between us weights much more than all the rest.

К: Being a partner for Javier is to feel the partnership at all areas: in body, in conscience, in soul. I remember when Javier was about to leave Russia, suddenly I felt some kind of a very strong connection between us. This connection is difficult to explain, but for the sake of it you can do everything.


GN:  You are Russian and Spanish family, you have different mentalities. Is it easy to find a balance and understanding, for example, in everyday issues? 

К: Language barrier is, I think, the only problem we have. I don’t know how to explain everything in Spanish. I can understand, but sometimes it is very tough to find correct words that might express the meaning accurately. First there were many complicated situations and micro-conflicts, now, of course, we are used to each other and it’s easier to understand each other by intuition. Generally, our secret is in studying two mentalities and  we carefully select the best in our cultures in conflict regulation. We consult with each other, discuss common variants and we try to find common points. 

J: Russian mentality differs from Spanish and I am not used to this weather, to this mood and reactions. At first, it seemed to me that all is bad, but gradually my attitude started changing. Of course, now I am speaking about Moscow, not the whole Russia: it is said that Moscow is not equal to Russia, these are different stories. I see that we all are different and it’s interesting to study. There’s never a dull moment (is smiling)! For us it's interesting to be together, no matter if these are family matters of busyness. All the rest is solvable.

GN:  To your mind, how does the dance of 21st century look like?

J: It is the expression of the soul through rhythmic images of the body. Original meaning of the dance still exists. Only technique evolved, styles were added, all was mixed, but the meaning is the same. We can name (nominally) two groups that are in a dance: those, who use choreography and those, who are choreographers.

К: Now, in 21st century we have lost connection with our bodies. It is even obvious when you look at people that go to dances. Progress, mobile phones, computers – kids have stopped playing normal games. We are always in stress, we are in a hurry, we are getting further from our bodies. Originally dance was a body language: people used to express their emotions that they couldn’t express through other ways. I think that the purpose of dances is to help people to come to themselves, to return to the full feeling of their bodies. 

GN:  How can be flamenco described? What energies do live in this dance?

К: Flamenco has deep roots from India. Particularly Indians were gathering its cultural lines from all over the world. Then Gypsies brought the dance to Spain that was full of Morescos and Jewish. In Spain this dance got its development. Energy of Indian Goddess Kaly, Gypsy freedom, Spanish folk, unhurried lifestyle and Spanish passion – all this was mixed in a one dance. Main purpose of flamenco is improvisation and self-expression; much later these show and visual pictures appeared. Initially dance was an expression of emotions, feelings of a dancer, irrespective of sex and age. In the respect of energy it can be imagined as a transformation from lower black energies into light and kind through the heart. 

J: Flamenco is a lifestyle where great mix of energies is living. For me this is a rhythm, which I am always in, even in a cooking process or teeth-cleaning.






GN: Why is flamenco perceived by many people as a “female” dance? There is a lack of men in many other types of dances. How do you think, what is the reasoning behind it?

К: That’s true that flamenco is associated with female images, although there is Cortes and others. This is strange. There are many men in Irish dances. According to the main point of the dance, flamenco for a man is the expression of masculinity, for a woman it is the expression of feminity. Here are no limitations. The only matter is if a person is ready to express his/her emotions in public – to do this you need to have a certain level of courage. We don’t have this problem in Barcelona. A lot of men dance flamenco and other styles there. It’s absolutely normal for them. 

GN: What could you recommend for those people who are about to get into dancing, but they are not brave enough yet to do it? 

J: If you feel that you need to dance, there is no any reason for postponing it. For example, I feel that I must dance and I can’t help not doing it. It seems to me, that you should listen to yourself, to trust your body. Be guided by your feeling, don’t build walls, be yourself.

К: Indeed, the most important thing is to be yourself. The concept of “being yourself” is more noted and elaborated in flamenco than in other dances, to my mind. But the meaning is the same everywhere. If we analyze other styles that I practiced, there are similarities: the necessity to interact with the earth, with the nature, with the body and other basic human matters. I think that everyone should dance. It is necessity of our body. If people think that they can’t dance, it means that they are blocked a lot and these blockings should be removed. Dancing gives you relaxing and concentration. Dancing is a lifestyle. At my school I give tasks that should be done during the day – while eating, cleaning and etc. these monotonous movements gain a new meaning: you start liking the process more and more, you become more conscientious towards your life. And then everything transforms.

our video from the performance «InfucionFlamenca»:

© GAYANAT project, 2014