In the heat of the Latin beat, a fragile Jewish girl from Ukraine adds more spice to the NYC Salsa scene. Anya Katsevman has been passionate about dance all her life and when she talks about salsa her big hazel eyes light up the room! Born in Kyiv, Ukraine, she moved to New York City with her family and began her dance training at the age of ten. Dance seemed so natural to Anya because her older brother Eugene was already in the middle of a successful ballroom dancing career. Eugene Katsevman and his dance partner Maria Manusova possess endless titles and accomplishments in the dance world.
Did your brother facilitate your career as a dancer?
I am lucky to have such a great role model! I started my career as a ballroom dancer, just like Eugene, and he was my toughest critic. I always had to be better than all the other students. Having such an accomplished dancer in the family motivated me even more. Since I made a switch to Salsa in 2007, I have felt more independent in a way, but I am grateful for everything he has taught me.
Anya has won numerous national and intentional ballroom and salsa dance competitions, as well as being a two-time salsa champion of the world, and toured with the “Burn the Floor” and “Dancing with The Stars” shows.
Her current dance partner is Luis Santiago and they are planning to conquer many more dance floors.
Anya, your resume is quite impressive: you performed for the U.S. President, Barack Obama, starred in a documentary film La Epoca, as well as numerous other showcases, taught at the United Nations and many other venues.
I am more of a teacher, than a dancer or performer. I am passionate about sharing my experience and helping others improve. I have been teaching since I was 14 and will continue doing so up to the point when I know that today I danced better than yesterday. My teaching expertise ranges from training professional competitors to social dancers of all ages. I currently reside in New York City and teach private lessons at my residence or the student’s residence, studios in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and Bronx, as well as the New Jersey and Philadelphia area. For those who don’t have regular access to a dance studio and salsa events I created Salsa Dance DVDs.
Salsa is a social activity. Most people who take it up do so to get out more and to meet new people. Almost no salsa lesson just “ends” at the dance studio. Dancers of all levels and ages take lessons. Some do it to learn new skills, some do it to expand their network and meet new people. It often revolves around clubbing, where people continue to socialize and dance.
As Lion Feuchtwanger once said: “A talented person is talented in everything.” Do you agree?
I like to be creative in many ways. My dream is to be a stylist and remain in the performing arts. People ask me who designed my costume and did my makeup all time! It’s very rewarding when you realize that my designs are as memorable as my performances. I have designed costumes for many renowned dancers in the industry and proudly call myself a “designer specializing in original costumes.”
What does being in love mean to you?
For me being in love means having a constant source of inspiration. Regardless of the object of affection, for me being in love always results in feeling inspired, creative and excited.
What’s unique about salsa dance is that it is still in the process of development as a dance genre, and because there are no specific guidelines for moves and techniques, it gives dancers more room for creativity while complicating things at the same time. Also, there is a very interesting social component to this dynamic Latin dance rhythm. It’s a great opportunity to meet new people, get toned muscles, improve your balance, or spice up your love life.
Photo Vital Agibalow, Franklin Liranzo.
To subscribe or purchase the magazine http://inlovemag.com/subscribe/