We sat down with Sasha Kucheriavyi, a professional dancer from the Ukraine who additionally transcends his personal expertise via coaching. Sasha has dazzled audiences across Eastern Europe and the Middle-East using his extensive knowledge of multiple dance styles, including jive and samba. Also having appeared on “So You Think You Can Dance Ukraine,” Sasha is ready for any challenge ahead of him.
Hi Sasha! Your aspirations to perform at the highest level in the United States is an important goal in your life right now. Where do you see yourself five or ten years down the road from now once you have achieved this goal?
Sasha: Like any other dancer, I always want and strive for performances at the highest level, and of course, performances in the US will be an integral part of my life! Once I have achieved this, I would like to continue to work in the US, by teaching people, both youth and adults, the wonderful skill of dance.
Are there any specific dance performances in the US that you would like to become a part of?
Sasha: Not specifically, but if I have the opportunity, I’ll happily take part in absolutely all the competitions and showcases that I can attend and participate in. Also, I know that in the USA there is the same TV show as in Ukraine, “So You Think You Can Dance.” So of course I would like to try my hand at this TV project and become a part of the best dancers in the US, and also learn from good choreographers in the process.
What draws you to particular performances over others? Is it the music, the specific expressions in a given dance style, etc?
Sasha: Well, I prefer to give my preference to the Latin American program, samba, cha-cha-cha, and jive. As soon as I hear the music of these dances, I always want to dance. Even when I just go shopping, and I hear similar rhythms, I can’t stand still, and people often look at me in stores! And if I’m speaking of my opinion as a spectator and about watching performances on stage, of course all the numbers that take place are very exciting… but again, not in the role of a dancer.
You have mentioned that the time taken to choreograph a dance routine can vary greatly, what was the most difficult dance routine you have worked on?
Sasha: The most difficult work and production for me to choreograph, was probably the preparation for my choreographic number for the television show So You Think You Can Dance.
What was so difficult about it?
Sasha: Well, firstly, I didn’t want to limit the choreography to just one dance. I tried to combine two dances into one. Using a little inside knowledge, and knowing that one of the members of the jury liked the dance of samba, the choice was obvious. The first dance I choreographed was a samba. And after that, I added my favorite dance, the jive. And secondly, the time constraints pressed on me heavily. I was thinking about the choreography constantly, and changed certain steps around, almost 3 days until casting. But with all that said, it obviously turned out okay in the end.
How do you initially begin to teach dance to a novice or beginner? What are those early coaching sessions like for you?
Sasha: Now the first thing I pay attention to are obvious traits of physique, including natural posture, weight placement, and coordination while doing normal activities such as walking. The physical condition of the student is necessary for me to know because I must teach accordingly. After that, I can start teaching the basic movements of various dances.
Could you potentially train and coach dancers not only for live performances, but for TV shows like “So You Think You Can Dance” as well given your experience on a similar show?
Sasha: Being that these dancers are on a similar level as me, and already possess their own individual character, it would require a vast amount of time and attention. But yes, I certainly wouldn’t mind trying myself in such a role as teaching dancers for live shows.
Would you like to get back into the show business side of dance at some point? It is impressive you made the Top 50 on Ukraine’s “So You Think You Can Dance.”
Sasha: Yes, why not. Perhaps someday I’ll have this opportunity! But for now, I have plans to teach people to dance, and perform in competitions and showcases myself.
Right now, what shows are you currently performing as a Soloist? What type of venues are you in?
Sasha: In our dance company there are 3 big shows, all of which I am the Lead Soloist for: Dances of the World, Broadway, and Dirty Dancing. We dance in the best luxury hotels in Turkey and United Arab Emirates, in such cities as Dubai, Antalya, Belek, Kemer, and Alanya.
Finally, do you have a favorite dance move?
Sasha: I really love jive… a dance in which you can really tear yourself away! And my favorite movement are the flicks and kicks.
by Giorgio Chang