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Pavel Zhurauliou — Master of Body Movements

Did you know that people have been dancing for at least 15 thousand years? The cave paintings with dancing people prove that. Have you ever wondered what kind of dance it was? What was their dance culture? What type of music did they dance to? Surely cultural studies can tell you about that.

But what about modern dances, whose culture is also very multifaceted and rich? What do you know about them? If you don't want to storm the Internet in search of interesting information, we suggest you read an interview with Pavel Zhurauliou, who knows everything about modern dance, hip-hop, and freestyle culture.

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Pavel, you are a hip-hop dancer. Please tell us what hip-hop dancing is.

Hip-hop is divided into two categories — choreography and freestyle. For about two years, I visited a dance studio and studied choreography with a teacher. That's how my passion for dance was born. Later, I learned about freestyle, and that really interested me. I started watching different videos, adding something to my movements, and experimenting with my style. It helped me to understand that freestyle was what I needed.

What are the differences between choreography and freestyle?

Choreography is a more conservative style. You learn movements, repeat them, exercise, and make your body more docile and able to do more complicated things.

Freestyle is freedom. Its main goal is to deeply feel the music and create your own dance style full of improvisation and a combination of different dance techniques and concepts.

Why did you start dancing?

— About three years ago, I visited a DJ party. There I had an urge to dance, but my insecurity and shyness stopped me. Eventually, my interest in dancing prevailed over my timidity, and I enrolled in a dance studio.
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You said it all started with an invitation to a hip-hop party. Its environment inspired you and sparked your interest in dance. Is it possible to learn to dance hip-hop without the support of the dance community?

— Definitely not. In Hip-hop culture, freestyle involves sharing skills, movements, and style elements. There is such a thing as a jam. Dancers get together in a circle, turn on the music, and show each other what they can. But the main goal is not to show off but to share your style, learn something new, and enjoy the dance. It's a fantastic, inspiring atmosphere that motivates you to develop as a dancer. 

What is inside of the hip-hop community?

It is a broad concept. But above all, I would highlight the dance battles. It is impossible to imagine hip-hop and freestyle without them, and that is a true community. You can't develop your style without other dancers. Battles have also helped to improve myself as a dancer. I’ve already taken part in four battles and won one of them.

Is there a place for freestyle in other dance styles?

—Of course. Freestyle is not only about hip-hop. It can adapt to any music.



What is the most unusual music that you have danced to?

When I was studying with my freestyle trainer, he sometimes put on ambient music. It was challenging to dance to it. When you had danced for two years to an energetic rocking beat, it's not easy to adjust to slow, smooth music, but it was an exciting experience.

Who can learn to dance hip-hop? Only those who have the talent and good physical shape? Or can everyone do it?

The ability to dance doesn’t depend on your complexion. Of course, the better your shape, the greater your endurance, the easier it is to dance. But that is not the main factor. What matters is the desire to learn dancing and the ability to hear the music.

A rookie mistake in many activities is the desire to learn everything at once. Do you agree with that?

Yes, I agree, but there's a catch: dancing is a flexible concept. For someone, dancing means complex pirouettes and movements; for others, it's just jumping in place. It all depends on your perception. There are different ways to acquire dance skills. 

In hip-hop, there are such concepts as groove and bounce: it is a body swing performed throughout the dance so that all the people watching you would like to shake their heads. If you've learned a lot of movements but don't have your groove or bounce, then your dancing isn’t good.

There is an opinion that for a successful dancer, it is essential not to learn the movements but remember the feeling. Is this true?

Yes. Catching the vibe is the foundation. Everyone has a different complexion, inner world, worldview, and favorite music and movements. A dancer must pass the music through the prism of all these components and perform a unique dance.

This is the base from which everyone should start. But on the other hand, you must create something of your own. You can achieve this through hard training. It will not be easy, but over time you feel more confident; you understand your body is ready not just to repeat what but to create something new.

Do you prefer to dance alone or in public?

I prefer to dance in public. It gives me an extra drive. Since childhood, I have been an introvert. Dancing in public helped me to get rid of shyness. When dancing under the gaze of other people, I feel free. When they watch me dancing, it gives me extra confidence and energy. Inexpressible feeling!

Over time, thanks to dancing in public, I have forgotten my fears and no longer strive to dance in front of people. But I haven't stopped loving this activity because it is still inspiring, relaxing, and satisfying.

Every dance is an exploration. I try something new, experimenting and exploring my capabilities. When dancing, I enjoy my fearlessness, my mastery. A sense of freedom wakes up inside.

Dancing with like-minded people is also an incredible experience. We charge each other with additional energy and motivate each other to dance even better, trying to do things we haven’t done before. 

And the understanding that I am a part of a significant culture also fills me with pleasant emotions and feelings. It's very inspiring.

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