After Rehearsal. Natalia Guslistaya. Residence Column

Natalia Guslistaya is called a rising star from Russia, who is successfully working her way into the Hollywood world. She was the favorite student of Martin Landau and Sally Kirkland and her dancing talents melted hearts of Sofia Golovkina, Director of the Bolshoi Ballet Academy, and Gailene Stock, Director of Royal Ballet School. In recent years, she played roles in ten feature films and was granted membership of the all-star Actor’s Studio run by great Al Pacino. She is not only a very gifted actress and dancer, but also a determined workaholic with an iron will. What makes Natalia unique is the multitude of her talents: a soloist in classic and modern ballet, a professional dancer who with equal ease performs salsa, flamenco, capoera, jazz and hip-hop and a choreographer whose work record includes shows for Black Eyed Peas, Kylie Minogue, Roberto Cavalli and an after party for Sex in the City film team.

What does the home mean for you?

Natalia Guslistaya: My home is the place I return to for relaxation and restitution of my strength. Only there I can thoroughly analyze my roles, study various production elements, dream and meditate. I like silence, but sometimes I need to get a bit noisy: I would turn music to the max and dance. Our home is a reflection of our soul, it is a living organism whose life is closely intertwined with that of its owner. Everyone has their own home where they live by their own rules. Your house has to fit you like a tailor-made dress. For example, in my house I need mirrors to wake me up and remind me to keep my back straight. What is essential is a good, stress-resistant flour and a piano that I can play whenever I feel like it.

What a house of your dream is like?

N.G.: I would like to live by the ocean, far away from urban noise and bustle, where I could walk along the beaches with my dog, think, dream, smile to the sun and bask in the breeze. And inside of my dwelling, I would like to have pillars, stone statues, bright and juicy colors, exotic plants and animals. A house of my dream will be designed in the Egyptian style, maybe even, in the style of Cleopatra.

Natasha, you are so vigorous, what is the source of your incredible energy?

N.G.: I have a healthy lifestyle, I do not drink alcohol, do not smoke and do not do drugs. I always know where I am heading for and what is my goal, it makes my life much easier. I always try to do the right things and get a good result. I’ve always aspired to something higher and it worked. As a child, I wanted to be admitted to the Bolshoi Ballet Academy but they refused to accept me. I promised to my parents and, what is most essential, to myself that I would be Golovkina’s best student and I kept working in the class till I dropped but I made it. I became their best student. It was Ms Golovkina who gave me that desire to be not just a brilliant ballet dancer but to develop a strong and determined personality. I was enchanted by the magic of ballet and by that possibility to express myself in dance, but my curiosity and craving for knowledge pushed me to learn more about dancing culture and styles. This is why I summoned up all my courage and went to London to study contemporary dance. Afterwards I decided to go to Hollywood and though no one believed that I would succeed on my own, I tried and made it. So, when someone asks me where I draw my strength from, I always respond that I have a goal and I’m just working to reach it. I believe in my forces, I am not afraid of hard work, always ready to move forward and learn new things.

Are you financially independent?

N.G.: Yes, I am.

What qualities do you need to be a success?

N.G.: You have to be a hard worker. Whatever talent you have, it is a God-given gift, and you get the rest through very hard labor. I’ve lived through hard times when I was alone, with no one to lean on, worked till my legs ached and that continued for quite a while, not just a day or a month. This tremendous self-cultivation took years of my childhood and youth. I learned to be a professional in everything I did, in dancing, choreography, language and even my accent.

What makes you happy?

N.G.: I enjoy the company of talented and interesting people, I like to work with them on our joint projects, I like to spend nights creating and inventing new things.

What, in your opinion, is your greatest achievement?

N.G.: I am proud that I had enough courage to move to LA on my own, managed to get roles in ten Hollywood feature films and joined the most prestigious Hollywood Actors’ Studio led by Al Pacino himself. Hollywood taught me never to give up. Keep moving and you’ll reach your goal. My motto is “Learn, listen and be patient.”

Do you have any heroes, your role models in the artistic world?

N.G.: I am absolutely fascinated by Mikhail Baryshnikov. He is incredible, a man with an indomitable will-to-win spirit. He has much experimented with his own body and dance styles always drawing inspiration in the classical Russian ballet. Baryshnikov is a virtuoso with an amazing spinning technique, movement coordination and musicality. His teacher was A.I. Pushkin, who had once been Rudolf Nuriev’s tutor.

What are your plans for the future? Are they connected with Russia?

N.G.: I am now back to Russia. I plan to open my own dance school that will combine theater and ballet techniques with multimedia video and audio tools. I hope that Russian film directors will offer me roles in their films. I want to lead an interesting life full of work.