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The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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Campus Spotlight Student Profile: Yelizaveta Kotlyarova

Ezra Margono/The StatesmanSenior marine vertabrate biology major Yelizaveta Kotlyarova’s hips shake as she practices the samba, her reflection guiding her motions.   Her eyes are trained on the mirror.  She needs to keep the beat, one two three, one two three.  She needs to pick up the pace, keeping her hips shaking, arms swaying and feet gliding, all while keeping rhythm.

Kotlyarova is practicing for the Closed Body, Safe Heart performance she is a part of for her DAN 400 class, Performance Dance Ensemble.  The piece she is working on speaks out against a massacre of homeless children in Brazil.

Her part in the performance, titled “It Happened,” is that of a Fate.  The Fates know the destiny of the children, but they cannot change what happens.

Her practice with her fellow Fates is much more intense than the samba.  She must master the moves, as well as perform in sync with the other girls.  She dances silently, smoothly.  Put all five girls together to music, and it looks like they could be performing for an audience.  It is passionate even in the dance studio.

Kotlyarova explained that when she rehearses, she thinks of how her hard work pays off.  When she performs, she “wants to embody the character and give them [the audience] a good experience.”  With performance art, she said, “You’re there in the moment.”

Her other piece, choreographed by sophomore sociology major Luke Fontana features her as a murder victim.  She was choked to death, and her movements, which she learned and executed in the span of approximately two hours, reflected the way her character died.

Her arms were forced to the side by a violent force, and she gripped her throat.  She took one step forward and extended her arm, trying to escape.  Fontana taught the five girls approximately one minute’s worth of dance, and they did a final run to the song “Tore My Heart” by OONA.  Yelizaveta had achieved near perfection.

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