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Photos ©: Published with kindly permission of Naya Grigoreva
Graphics/WebDesign: Konstanze Winkler
Only a few weeks ago Naya Grigoreva wrote to us. She organizes a tribal festival in her home town Odessa, Ukraine sited at the Black Sea. She wants to make her festival more popular in the whole of Europe. We became curious and wanted to know more… and in the end we ad a complete interview, which we present here:

Interview with Naya Grigoreva

by Marcel Bieger

When did you start dancing, which styles did you train, and do you have a regular job/day job or are you a professional dancer? 

I started to practice Oriental Belly Dance when I was 15. After two years, I stopped. I had heard about Tribal but it was still something new and unknown for Ukraine and Odessa. But, when I was 19 I found a local studio where a lady gave Tribal Fusion classes. Before that, I saw only videos of Tribal Fusion. For me it was something incredible to watch. So, I started to take these classes. Since then, I have been practicing Tribal Belly Dance, it‘s 7 years by now.

I have also studied other dance styles such as contemporary, dance hall, modern and Bharatanatyam. This has helped me, as I blend them into my Tribal performances. For almost 6 years, I also practice yoga. It helps to keep me youthful, a good body shape, and strong muscles. Recently, I found a new passion that inspires me almost as much as Tribal: Aerial dance! 

Yes, I could have chosen a normal job in an office, but I decided to focus my life on my Art. Tribal is my one and only love. I have a part-time job, though it helps me materially, and I still have a lot of time for students and myself. I work as a DJ on different events in Odessa restaurants.

Where and when did you meet Tribal Fusion and why did you stick to it?

I first heard about Tribal Belly Dance from my first teacher of Oriental Belly Dance. She told us that Tribal dancers dance to unusual music and their outfits were very specific with a lot of metal pieces. She told me that Tribal was not for me and I had to keep dancing Oriental Belly Dance. But I decided otherwise. Like most of us, we saw Tribal Belly Dance on internet. The videos of Rachel Brice, Zoe Jakes, and all the famed Tribal Dancers, were so impressive and inspirational. I remember having a visceral emotional response upon watching them. I wanted to start to cry from it’s greatness. This is how much I love Tribal.

How is the Tribal situation in the South of the Ukraine? Do you have connections to the communities in neighboring countries?

Odessa is the biggest city in the south of Ukraine. Including my 'Black Sea Tribe' Studio, we have 3 other Tribal studios here. I know a lot of dancers from abroad and I would love to know more from Europe. It is important for me to make stronger connections with European Dancers.

How would you describe your own Tribal Fusion style and how did it develop?

I have practiced with different Tribal Dancers from Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Poland, Slovenia, and USA. My style is more soft and floating. I like to add some juicy movements to make it more interesting. I try to bring love and joy to everyone who watches my Art, when I am on stage. I also express this in my teaching with my Students. I enjoy adding some burlesque to my performances. I constantly try something new (mood, music, ideas, feelings) to make my performances look different every time.

Who was the first to have the idea of making your own Tribal Festival in Odessa? And how did this idea proceed?

The Lady, who made the first big festival with other teachers from abroad is Vika Om. She is a wonderful Tribal Belly Dancer from Odessa. Now, we are partners in making Tribal BURN Festival 2017. This is her 4th tribal festival in Odessa that she (co)organizes. In the past, two other studios in Odessa made a festival each with dancers from abroad. After attending workshops with Manca Pavli from Slovenia, I knew I wanted to create my own Tribal Festival in Odessa. Last year, Manca was our special guest teacher and performer at our first Tribal Burn Festival 2016
Tribal Burn Festival starts for the second time this year. What will be new? What will be different from the first one? What will be the highlights of this year’s Tribal Burn?

We are very excited! From Brazil, our guest teacher and performer of Tribal Burn Festival 2017 is Joline Andrade. She is a unique teacher for our area and for the ladies, who are coming from Europe as well. I have created a unique opportunity for attendees to study with one of the greatest. I hope to improve the level of Tribal dancers in Ukraine and our ladies who come from abroad.

As mentioned, this year I collaborate with Vika Om. She is leading the outdoor Tribal BURN Show that will be in the city center, on the main square of Odessa, in the historical part. The main idea is to make Tribal more popular and to share our art and passion with the public and those who love Tribal Dance.

After the Festival is over, why would it be worth staying a little longer in Odessa?

I love my city and I want it to be known all over the world that it is really a charming place. It is a city with a soul. Odessa is known as capital of humor. What will you see if you come to Odessa? You will see beautiful ladies and handsome guys. You will view amazing architecture of the 19th and 20th Century. You can dine in a luxurious restaurant or sip coffee in a cozy cafe. We have a very active night life and many activities on the Black Sea in the day. Do you know? The Black Sea has many amazing Beaches! All post soviet countries call Odessa "Odessa-Mama". So, imagine how you feel when you come to your own mother’s home... It is warm and inviting. This is how Odessa greets her guests - with an open heart. I think you already want to come, yes?

What are your future plans? Maybe even come to Germany?

My future plans are to keep working on myself, visit more tribal festivals as a participant, and to be inspired by all the Tribal Goddesses all over the world. I want to study with more (different) Tribal teachers. My main goal is to study with Zoe Jakes and Rachel Brice. Life goes on and dreams come true. I am strict, focused, and confident in my plans.

Tribal Burn Festival on facebook ...
Naya on facebook ...
Joline Andrade