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Graphics and WebDesign:
Konstanze Winkler
Photos 1 and 2 © Olga Wachruschewa,
the others - Olga Kolendo
We had this feeling for a long time, in the East not only the sun rises, there is also a flood of dance talent unheard of evolving. Latest example: Polina Shandarina from Moscow, who will perform (and teach) this year at the 5th Black Forest Festival. Some of her videos on You Tube literally blew us and we are more than curious to see her live. Polina was so kind as to grant us a video and those of you, who are able to read between the lines, will get the same feeling als we have that something big is going on in Russia. And if Polina is proud oh the dance community in her home country this makes us hope for more talent. But check it out for yourselves!

Interview with Polina Shandarina

by Marcel Bieger

Please tell us about your life, what do you do for a living, how did dance find you and why are you still hooked on dance?
Did you start with Tribal, ITS, Tribal Fusion, also or what made you switch over?

I learned about tribal in 2007. My mother showed me the videodisk “BDSS Live at the Folies Bergere 2005” and I realized that tribal was the very thing I needed! At that time in Russia there was very little information about tribal belly dance, and I tried to find something in the Internet, I tried to practice myself and naturally I wanted to be like Rachel Brice. When the first tribal studios started to appear in Russia I went to one of them and was instantly hooked on ATS. I realized my lack of knowledge and proper technique. ATS gave me all of this and even more, my tribal-vocabulary enriched, my solo performance in the style of tribal fusion changed much, and I started to understand what I wanted from myself in tribal. Well, only later ITS appeared in my life as well. At first I saw the performance of UNMATA in the Internet and dreamed to learn to dance the same way, but afterwards I drew the conclusion that it was much more interesting for me to create my own ITS and dictionary of movements.
How is the Tribal/Tribal Fusion situation in Russia nowadays? (You have performed at Solaris last year, which is held in St. Petersburg, I believe, so you do seem to come around.)

Tribal in Russia is developing at fantastic speed. It seems like there was no tribal in Russia only a short time ago and now – you see and marvel at the skill of Russian dancers. Many of us are completely obsessed with performance technique style, someone cannot live without freedom in dancing and constantly invent something new and creative, in someone's house you can find the whole collections of tribal jewellery and costumes. Someone is madly in love with ATS, others – with Tribal Fusion, and somebody is engaged in both fields. Several years ago there was only one festival in Russia, only in Moscow, now all kinds of fests are organized in many cities across Russia. This cannot but make me happy, because this variety of festivals gives people a choice. Everyone chooses according to one’s taste
For example, I'm always a guest performer at two festivals: “Tribal Café” in Moscow (the organizer is Tribal Mafia) and “Solaris” in St. Petersburg (the organizer is Tiana & Dragonfly Tribe). 

What will you perform in the Black Forest (Good Gracious, we love your YouTube
videos "
Colibri" and "Aura")?

For the LUNAR SHOW I have prepared something special. The dance will be about love ... about love for life and dance. I'll dance in an unusual manner. The dance will be slow and very tender, but at the same time strong and fascinating.

At the SOLAR SHOW I'll show that I love dancing most of all. It will be a fun, fiery dance with a touch of hip-hop. 

Nothing more to say, or it won't be interesting anymore.
What will you teach in Germany?

As you may know I devoted several years to the study of ATS. The influence of this style to the whole world of Tribal is interesting for me. It is considered to be a classic and the basis. I can't imagine tribal fusion or other varieties of tribal without the knowledge of this basis. I often see it's difficult for people to unite ATS and tribal fusion, although it's very much recommended. Some dancers just don't know how to use their ATS-knowledge in tribal fusion properly. My workshop was created specifically to help to make sense of all this.

I'll offer several different modification variants of ATS steps. I'll show how to integrate these movements into your dance so that the whole performance looks harmonious and natural. We will play with speed and order of movement execution, counting and also with layering. And all this will be flavoured with yoga and fun.
Polina, guest at the Black Forest Tribal Fest
I have been dancing as far back as I can remember. First my mother taught me to dance, afterwards she took me to the classical dance studio, and then there was everything on earth: rock-and-roll, hip-hop, folk dance, pop dance, and even a little contact improvisation. Some time ago dancing was just a hobby for me, now it is my precious job. I have no idea how it happened but dance just came into my life one day and never wanted to leave.

At this moment of my life I am teaching tribal four times a week in Moscow studio “Tribal Mafia” and as for days off – they are for performances and workshops. Two years ago I discovered yoga and I already made some progress. Yoga helps me keep fit and stay healthy, also it disciplines greatly. Several times a week I have lessons with my personal yoga trainer, sometimes I do yoga myself and certainly I give some yoga to my students in dance classes.