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NPR Arts & Life

Russian Dancer Learns The Meaning Of 'Fun'

Standing front stage at the Knight Theater, Tatiana Kasakova counts off for the other dancers.

She choreographed all of the dances for tonight's show, Ballroom. The concert features members of Metropolitan Ballroom in Charlotte dancing alongside the Charlotte Symphony.

"I think it's just never been done in Charlotte," says Kazakova. "So most of the time when people imagine classical music they think of ballet. And it's true, but ballroom dancing was developed from classical dances. It just kind of went a little bit beyond, and I think Charlotte needs a little shake, and passion."

Throughout the night there will be one to four couples on stage. They will dance a Waltz to Strauss, Samba to Bach and a swing to Sing, Sing, Sing.

Tatiana started ballroom dancing like many Russian children - by force.

"I am from Russia and in Russia it's not that the kids decide what they want to be, it is the parents that decide," Kazakova says. "So if your mom wants you to be a violin player you're going to be, no matter what you want. My mom liked ballroom dancing so they brought me to the studio when I was six and basically you have no choice. Thank god I liked it."

"It's really serious," she says. "We don't have a word 'fun' translated in Russian. It's like no fun. Really,  I was trying to figure out what fun, the same word we don't have in Russian. You dance, you dance serious and you work as hard as you can every single practice."

Tatiana was one of those serious dancers. She won several national championships in Ukraine.

Seven years ago she moved to the States. Now she's a part-owner and instructor at Metropolitan Ballroom in Charlotte.

"It's very fun, really good," says Kazakova, "I started to like the word fun, to have some fun in my life, not only work."