We had the good fortune of connecting with Uliana Maslovskaya and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Uliana, how do you think about risk?
We take risks every day. Risk can be as simple as trying a new recipe, choosing a new hobby or complex like, changing a career or moving to a new City. Sometimes risk rewards by allowing you to move forward faster, but other times not. Nobody wants to go backwards but many times the safe (or risk averse) decisions causes a mundane result. One of the hardest things to do is to let go of your comfort zone. But life itself is a movement , if there is nothing happing, change should occur and in order to make this change we have to take a risk. Perhaps many risks. Sure, taking risks is sometimes anxiety-inducing but it is necessary in order to grow and live life. In my life taking a risk to move to another country has brought me to where I am right now and that is by far my best decision I’ve ever made in my life resulting in better opportunities in my personal career and meeting the love of my life.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
The knowledge I’ve acquired from a handful of excellent and influential coaches and mentors, both in Russia and in the US, has been invaluable in my quest to compete professionally in ballroom dance. Also, the experience gained early during my journey to become a professional athlete (acrobatics) in Russia has no doubt informed the way I approach the unique challenges of ballroom dance. Sometimes life offers a shortcut but I found there to be relatively few shortcuts if you’re serious about being a great dancer. If my goal was to dance professionally, I would be a little circumspect of someone who merely signs up for a couple of courses, gets their certification and decides to open a dance school. It takes a little but of suffering and years of dedication in order to teach others at a high level. It also helps to be curious and to explore a bit before helping others craft their skill. Each of us is unique and there is no one template that works for everyone. During my career to date, there has been lots of challenges. Sometimes the biggest frustration is not understanding why you won or lost a particular competition. There were times when I thought I should give up. I’m a perfectionist at heart and as a competitive dancer I always thought that there can only be one pursuit and that is to be 1st. However, over the years I’ve started to appreciate the beauty of improvement. 4th to 3rd is just as beautiful as 2nd to 1st. The world is not a fair place. Hard work and talent does not always get the job done. Sometimes pure luck, timing or a particular judging panel has an outsized influence. My dance partner and I both came to the realization that we lost the most important thing that we should have kept at the forefront. Joy. No amount of beautiful dresses, fancy shoes, impressive competitive floor or any of the other bling brings joy. We just simply burned out…and that is when a much needed revaluation happened. What is all this about? The lesson I’ve learned is, first, never underestimate yourself. Believe in yourself. Compare yourself to yourself yesterday but not to someone else. If all the variables do not go your way it doesn’t mean you’re a loser and it does not mean your results equals justice. I always remind my students to enjoy the process, keep balance between expectations and reality, and never lose the joy of dance. My goal is to do the best I can for every student, whether my role is to be a rock to keep you balanced on the floor or that of a psychologist to make you feel better and help you to believe in yourself. Whether you want to do it as a hobby, lifestyle or to compete professionally, I am here to support your ambition. Here are some common questions I often answer: What do I teach? Ballroom dance. And no, Argenting Tango is not a ballroom dance. We do have ballroom Tango, very elegant and beautiful too. Basically what you see on DWTS but all systemized in syllabuses so you don’t need to be scared if it looks tricky to you at first. Do you need a partner? No, no partner is necessary. I can make you routines where you can enjoy dancing ballroom without a partner or I can accompany you being your partner. Do you work with wedding couples? Absolutely. I have a long list of wedding couples who enjoyed their first dance choreography done by me. I can do it fast and as minimum as 5 lessons. Who do you teach? I teach everyone, beginner to advanced student. I also coach competitive couples.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Houston is a very diverse city with lots of things to do. I think the best thing to do is to go on Cultural map Houston and pull off the calendar of events. There they list all activities possible by dates you can do so you won’t miss out on anything from local fairs to theater, symphony or ballet performances or any other fancy event that you might be interested in. Houston also has the biggest amount of restaurants you can ever imagine, any cuisine, size and atmosphere you want. By far my favorite place where my husband and I keep coming back is French restaurant Etoile in uptown. Check it out!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Of course, without love and support of my family I would not be where I am today and who I am today. They always encouraged and supported me through ups and downs. I would like to give shoutout to all of them and to all my coaches. I am thankful to all my coaches throughout my journey who helped me to refine my skills and establish a unique “me”. My first ever coach in tumbling who made me a Champion and a Master of Sport (highest designation which basically equates to international champion who has made valuable contributions to the sport) when I was only 10 years old. He who established that core qualities that are so important in life – hardwork, patience, focus, dedication; my first dance coaches who taught me to actually move and dance somewhat when I couldn’t at all; my youth and early adult coaches who polished and perfected my dance skills pushing me to rich higher highs and helped me to get serious Champion titles and my second Master of Sport (thats a big deal and not easy in Russia!); my adult coaches when I switched to a Professional category, that is when a deeper realization and research of myself as a dancer happened. Particular shoutout to Shirley Ballas who systematized my knowledge and brought the best out of me as a dancer.
Dancecake Haute Couture ballroom dresses and practice clothes, Dancesport photography