“Animals make me feel who I am.”

Dance is an amazing, bright world with no boundaries. And people who devote themselves to this art can be called brave seekers, constantly discovering new horizons of creativity and beauty. Ekaterina Reshetnikova is just such – open to new things, with a light in her eyes, inspiring and loving.

In this interview the talented choreographer of all seasons of the project “TANTS” on TNT Ekaterina Reshetnikova told about the multifaceted universe of dancing, about her favorite animals, and also about why she chooses veganism.

Tell us how your journey into the world of dance began. Have you enjoyed dancing in front of a mirror and making up different movements since childhood?

My mother used to say to me from childhood, “Katya! Stop jumping!” So if you believe your mother, I started dancing with diapers (laughs). For as long as I can remember, I always liked to move, so still living in Novosibirsk, I began to exercise aerobics, and then began to pay attention to the dance. I always came up with something! I always liked the process itself, and I like music very much, which is probably why it all worked out so well.

Many people think that dancing is a natural gift. What do you think?

There are people you look at and think, “Yes, it’s clearly marked by nature itself. It can be physical features that help in dancing, or it can be an amazing musical intuition. But there are times when a person comes to a class without knowing anything, and with his perseverance he achieves success. The main thing – to love to dance! If you do not like dancing, nothing will happen.

Tell us about the peer-to-peer project, in which you take part

This is a project that was created in Chelyabinsk by the “Our Place” foundation. Within the framework of this project, people with disabilities have the opportunity to develop in every possible way in the areas they are interested in. I and several other choreographers from the TANTS project go there and work with the guys: we create dance performances, often go on stage with them. For today I was lucky enough to have already enough wide experience in this activity to which I am sincerely glad.

What is more interesting for you: to dance yourself or to teach others to dance?

I would say that everything depends on the specific life period. I’m chaotic in my art and I can’t predict what I want to do tomorrow. I’ve been teaching since I was 13 years old, and during that time I realized that I really enjoy teaching people. Besides, I can do it, and the main thing is to have patience! A lot of people came to me who could not dance at all, but step by step we managed to come to good results. The main thing is to want to learn to dance, and then everything will work out.

As for the performances on stage – it’s a kind of drug. And there never comes a moment when you say to yourself: “Everything, I will not go on stage again. Maybe I’ll just get bored with a certain form of entering the stage. For example, when I lived in Novosibirsk, I wanted to dance with artists, and then, after a while, I realized that I wanted to do something completely different. You just have to follow your heart and do what you want to do at a particular moment.

What is the coolest thing about staging dance numbers?

Undoubtedly, the rehearsal process. Especially when you work in a team of professionals who can and want to translate ideas into reality. Of course, the performance itself also leaves a very bright impression, but you experience adrenaline for a few minutes on stage, and it ends, and the preparation lasts for weeks. And during this time you get very close to people, you laugh together, cry, rehearse, think, invent… This is a very cool and inspiring moment.

And what else inspires you to create a dance?

First of all, music. I can go in the car, hear a song, and start to imagine, visualize. I can see the whole show in my head! I often take notes for myself, write down some ideas, but some of them never come true.

I am also very inspired by people! Sometimes I look at someone and think, “I really want to work with that person! And then there are ideas and images first, and then I look for all this music.

What is the closest dance direction to your heart?

A direction without direction (smiling). Usually I dance the way I want to dance as I feel. Now everything is very much divided into genres, but when I learned to dance, I did it the way I felt inside (and how I could watch on TV), and I still like it when every movement comes from the soul, from the heart. I think there can be no limits to dancing!

What do you think is the most valuable quality for a dancer?

This is a very difficult question! On the one hand, we can say that this is “musicality”, but if a person is a bummer, it does not help him. On the other hand, it is important to be persistent, but if, as they say, a bear stepped in the ear, it will also be very, very difficult. Still, in my opinion, the most important thing is to love your business. When you love what you do, everything happens naturally and harmoniously, and if you don’t love what you do and are constantly waiting for some result, whether it’s financial or not, it won’t work.

It always helped me that I could clearly assess myself from the outside, and I am not afraid to admit to myself and others that I do not know how to do something. If for some reason I can not dance in some style, I always try to be in the subject, learn, watch the dancers, learn from them. The desire for development is very motivating to move forward and work on themselves. In fact, I even like the fact that I can always discover something new and keep learning.

Is your lifestyle reflected in the dance?

Usually what happens in life is somehow surprisingly transferred to the stage. If you’re happy, then you broadcast this happiness on stage, and if you’re sad, or in life there are some difficulties, it’s a completely different mood in the dance.

If it’s about nutrition, I was a vegan, but I didn’t notice any special differences. Although I had the idea of making a dance related to this theme, for example: a trainer and a tiger, but so far it’s only in the form of a plan. Besides, it can be perceived as some kind of imposition of life principles, which I wouldn’t like. I already have children in my group with whom I work, and everyone knows that I am a vegan. One girl said, “Why did you decide not to drink milk?” She said, “Well, this is for the cow’s children, and I’m not a cow’s child. I thought it was entertaining.

And how did you come to vegetarianism?

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Oh, that was 12 years ago. I had an acquaintance who was fond of Buddhism and often told me that eating meat was very harmful. At that moment, I was very interested in the topic and caught on to the idea, I was interested in testing myself, and I refused to eat meat for 8 months. After that time, another friend of mine invited me to a café and there I had enough sausages and sausage sandwiches again. I felt so bad! When I refused to eat meat, I didn’t feel much different, but when I tried to eat it again, it was so incredibly heavy in my stomach! After that incident, I decided that I would never touch the meat again. This time it was a really conscious decision. By the way, I used to love cheese so much! And then I tried his vegan alternative and realized that I don’t want the real one. So now I’m a vegan and I feel great!

At the same time, I started to think about other issues related to the ethical way of life: leather things, fur coats, cosmetics, which are tested on animals, and learning more and more, I only strengthened my decision. I gradually distributed my favorite sneakers without any regrets. I once read in your paper that you had to switch to veganism smoothly. And then I calmed down a little and accepted the fact that now it is difficult to know for sure about all the tricks of the producers and do not rush sharply into all the heavy stuff.

How does your family relate to the type of food you choose?

Stories like: “Katya, at least sometimes you have to eat meat” are left behind (laughs). Dad never told me what to eat, never heard from him: “Where will you get protein?” Moreover, he enjoys eating any vegan food! We traveled with my mother in Europe, and veganism is very developed there, she went to various “green” cafes together with me. A couple of times she couldn’t believe she had eaten a vegan cake called Napoleon, it tasted so good! (laughs). In general, my family supports me. The only thing I ask my mother not to hug me if she is wearing fur.

You work with popular performers. Does your example inspire them to switch to veganism?

As I said earlier, I try not to impose my lifestyle. I have acquaintances who have gone virulently vegan (on a wave of inspiration), but I think it won’t last long. Mostly, I inspire my environment to create less garbage: I give everyone reusable cups of coffee, eco bags for food and so on. I have a rule: You can’t come to my house with plastic bags! And I always tell the store clerks not to wrap anything in these plastic bags – I weigh each fruit and vegetable separately.

Judging by your social networks, you like animals very much! Tell us about your pets

I have two dogs. I’ve always dreamed of it! The first dog named Bouillon, Jack sat down, I took inspiration from the movie “The Mask”, and the second, Kira, took from the orphanage. To be honest, I spoiled Bouillon, because it’s my first dog, and I did not know how to behave properly, only with the kinologist he becomes silky, but not with me. I fell in love with Kira from the photos from the installation shelter. I’d like to share that when she was first brought to my house, I felt like I made a mistake, as if I betrayed my first dog and I didn’t know how to love two dogs at once. I thought I would never be able to love Kira like Boulou, but I was told a great phrase, “Don’t love Kira like Bouillon, love Kira like Kira”, now I can’t imagine life without my girl! I also have two cats and a cat – but they are not only mine, but also my girlfriends, and live with her.

Do you feel “in your place”?

95 percent. I feel that I am doing what I love very much, but there is something else I would like to dedicate myself to, but for some reason or other, I can’t do it yet. I dream of working closely with animals! Help them, take care of them. I want me to have a place far away from Moscow, where my friends and acquaintances would go, turn off their phones and just be able to play, play and enjoy with animals!

When I’m around animals, I completely turn off the internal dialogue. I am in the present moment, contemplating inside myself such warmth and love for them that I cannot tell with words. I come home, and they wait for me, jump, lick, lick, wag my tail… It’s an amazing feeling.

So, we can say, to be with animals for you is a kind of meditation?

I had experience when I tried to sit down consciously and start meditating. I can’t do that, so I’ll say yes. Animals help me to relax, to feel who I am.

And what else helps me to relax?

I fall asleep to the sounds of nature! It helps me to fall asleep quickly and feel deep relaxation. Recently, I woke up in the morning, and in the audio recordings with the sounds of nature there was a part where there was a heavy tropical downpour and a thunderstorm. So I didn’t want to get up! I lay there and it was simple.

Is consciousness for you…?

Fashionable word now! It is difficult to find a clear answer to this question. But I can say for sure that I eat consciously. And it’s not even that I’m a vegan, so my diet can be considered conscious, it’s that I know why I do it. I know how I feel and why this is important to me. Before, when I was told that meat was bad, I refused it unconsciously, but now I understand the meaning of that refusal.

My animals help me to be more conscious because I feel responsible for them. I realize that if I don’t feed them, go for a walk with them, no one will do it for me. That’s why they came to my house when I was ready for it, when I thought of everything.

I am also trying to be conscious of my consumption of resources. And I’m not in a hurry trying to become a person who walks barefoot and sits in a lotus position in one day. I try to gradually change myself and my lifestyle.

What do you think a person needs to feel happy?

Want to be happy! Many people put equality between financial well-being and happiness, and often I hear “well, it is easier for her/him to eat, think about nothing”, but for me to be happy is a deeper feeling, which is not conditioned by anything. You just have to decide for yourself: “I will be happy”. Some people come to visit, and they have at home an atmosphere of joy and love, everyone smiles at each other, and there is no hint of aggression or anger. And you look at it and rejoice!

I also believe that in order to be harmonious, you have to stop clinginging to material goods, as they have not made anyone happy yet. Of course, it doesn’t mean that you have to give up on them, but you don’t have to get attached to them and worry about them. I had a case when my dog Kira went to my parquet ‘little by little’. I remember crying for a week, trying to clean up the stain! Now I think, and that I have this parquet, I do not remember where the stain was at all. It’s embarrassing to remember, yes, I was very attached to things! Now I knock out the wedge with a wedge – I give them out, and those that my heart is looking at, and the bitten furniture and broken dishes don’t take me out of balance anymore. I try to live in the present and less worry about trifles.

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