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June 2023: Yula Vostretsova
Who is Yula Vostretsova in a sentence?
I am passionate about dance and music. Dreamy, friendly, very energetic, optimistic, and creative. A mother of two beautiful children. I enjoy learning new things. I love helping others, and I am fascinated by singing. Some people like my voice. I am very smiley.
Tell us a bit about your work and practice.
I am a professional and independent dancer and choreographer. I am also a teacher of traditional Cuban dances. In 2018, I started teaching dance, and it quickly became one of my passions. I teach three times a week, covering a range of styles from Afro-Cuban to salsa. For me, it is important to spread the message that dance and music can uplift your soul. In 2019, I founded a dance group called Elegancia Cubana, with the aim of keeping traditional Cuban dances alive. We want to show dance enthusiasts that you don’t need a perfect body to dance on stage. We have participated in many events here in Vancouver. We train every Sunday morning and do ballet, contemporary, and Afro dance taught by me, as well as rehearsals for all the choreographies I have created. I love performing, and here in Vancouver, I have had the opportunity to share the stage with amazing musicians like Sal Ferreras, Miguelito Valdez, and Julio Ávila. Also, I had the opportunity to teach and create salsa choreographies at some secondary schools.
How long have you been dancing?
That’s a good question, haha. Well, I’ve been dancing for a total of 32 years, and it’s professionally 18 years. I started in gymnastics when I was four and stayed in that until I was six. Then, I wanted to learn ballet and contemporary dance. At eight years old, my dad taught me how to dance casino (Cuban salsa). At 12 years old, I joined an amateur dance group, and at 14 years old, I auditioned for the performing arts school for musical shows, more popular called Varieties School. This school is located in Playa, Havana, Cuba. There, I studied everything from ballet and runway modeling to flamenco and tango. I was lucky enough to be accepted in 2001 and studied there for four years.
How does dance fit into your life currently?
Perfectly. I was born dancing haha. I dance and sing anywhere! Many times, I put on my headphones, play my favorite songs, and dance or sing on my way to classes or rehearsals. Many people look at me like I’m crazy haha. I dance when I cook, at train stations, wherever there’s music! I am also very fortunate to have the support of my husband, who always takes care of the kids when I teach or perform on weekends. Also my whole family love dancing.
How would you describe dance’s impact on your life?
Enormously. For me, dancing is my life. It makes me feel alive and healthy. Also, through dance, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting wonderful people. Teaching has become a mission for me. I’ve realized over these past five years that there are many people, especially women, who lack confidence and self-esteem. That’s where my mission starts, spreading the message that it’s never too late to dance, that it’s not impossible to learn something new. Loving yourself and accepting yourself just as you are. Dance gives you this possibility or opportunity. And I enjoy seeing the results and changes in each of my students in my classes immensely.
What three core values drive your engagement with dance?
Mission and to keep building my community
Do you have a particular practice that you carry out each day, or have you implemented new practices as a way of adapting to the current climate?
At least four days a week, every morning, I do a lot of stretching. Sometimes I take ballet classes, other times I dedicate myself to preparing my dance routines for my classes of the week, including new music. I applied two weeks ago for a professional aerial dance and acrobatics course and I hope to receive good news soon. That’s how I always am, in constant learning.
What would you say are the most significant benefits for you in being a Dance Centre member?
Being part of The Dance Centre has brought me many benefits. Before becoming a member of The Dance Centre, I struggled a lot to be able to teach my classes. I spent a few years going from place to place without having a fixed place to teach. Not to mention the cost and distance since I don’t drive. It all became chaos, but it never took away my desire to move forward. Thanks to The Dance Centre for giving me the opportunity to become a member. Now, I can continue teaching and creating in beautiful and spacious studios. Also, having monthly newsletters, and important information about members of the community has truly helped me a lot to be updated with all the upcoming opportunities or performances.
Interested in becoming a Dance Centre Member? Learn more here.
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Photos by Rodrigo Muñoz