Till now, we had few interviews with dancers and parents of dancers.
Today, we are presenting you Draga Gligorijevic and her mother Natasa, from Vucje, South Serbia.
Our mission is to promote dancing, also through the support to dancers from small towns and cities just as it is in this case.
P&G: PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF BRIEFLY FOR OUR READERS (YOURSELF AND YOUR CHILD, BASIC INFORMATION AND ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO TELL US AND YOU ARE HAPPY TO SHARE)
Natasa: My name is Natasa Gligorijevic. I hold BSc in Agriculture. I live in Vucje, small settlement in the South of Serbia, That is the environment where deviations from conventional norms of behavior are condemned because they are not understood. I love people, I love honesty. Above all, I love music and dancing. There was music in my house all day.
I am now 46 years old and have many beautiful and ugly situations behind me. Through it all, music helped me. I laugh with music, I cry and mourn with the music. It helps me to experience sadness, anger, rage, disappointments, happiness and joy in a way that these emotions do not remain stuck in the body and brain. Throughout my life, I have learned that when emotions are stuck in any part of the body, they certainly lead to illness. I experienced that myself, when I looked death in the eye giving birth to my first child.
I am the mother of two girls, my older daughter is now 13 years old, she draws well, she writes poems and stories. She has been awarded several times in various competitions for elementary school pupils, and she also has a gift for singing. The younger is a born ballerina, like me. She goes to the fourth grade of elementary school and it bothers her a lot, that her friends tell her that it is stupid and pointless to train ballet, but we are working to change that. She likes to draw and watch cartoons, especially dance movies. Se helps me in the garden and around the house.
I live in the countryside, I nurture my semi-organic garden. My husband is a great support to the children and me.
P&G: YOU ALSO DANCED, PLEASE DESCRIBE US SHORTLY HOW?
Natasa:I was delighted with the group Lokice, which performed with famous Yugoslav pop star signer Zdravko Colic and the dance group of Petar Slaj. That enthusiasm still accompanies and inspires me today; I imagine myself playing in one such group. My desire to dance was not immediately accepted. I was very shy and introvert child. In the sixth grade, I get the opportunity to form a group and invite all the girls from 5th to 8th grade to come to the library to audition. The girls were selected, the group was formed and we practiced three times a week. In 1987, at the festival of modern youth ballet of Serbia in Bela Palanka, our group “Mladost” won the third place. Perfect experience, happiness, joy and energy to keep dancing. It was my youthful dream come true. I learned to hold my body properly, I was in good shape and most importantly for me, I gained faith in myself.
P&G: SINCE WHEN YOUR CHILD DANCE AND WHY? WHO IS HER INSPIRATION IN DANCING?
Natasa: My younger daughter Draga has been dancing since she was 6, with breaks during the winter, because we are 15 kilometers away from the city. It is difficult during winter time, there are no buses, or they are late. My husband then worked in the factory in three shifts and could not provide her lift when she needed it. But we have been overcoming all the challenges!
I believe Draga started to love dancing because of me, as sometimes I just dance at home for no particular reason, I hear the song, I stop what I’m doing, I dance a bit and then move on.
I first noticed that he felt the rhythm at the age of two. Standing in front of the TV, there is a song by a cartoonist and she started making movements. That was the trigger for me to pay attention to that talent. When she plays, she has a different look in her eyes, a different body language. She likes the fact that there are children around her, who love to dance. At the dance, the group accepted her, she made friends, whom she doesnot have ins school, because everyone thinks she is weird because she doesn’t talk about games, famous TickToker influencers or YouTube stars. She is happy, proud and smiling at the dance. At first, she liked shiny costumes, skirts and hairstyles. Later, she finds inspiration in the fact that she is getting better, the coaches praise her all the time. She also exercises at home, between trainings, she has a sense of belonging and that fulfills her. When she plays, it is her world of beauty, love, happiness. I think that’s her inspiration. First, she played jazz ballet for two years, and then she switched to show dance, and she likes that very much.
P&G: HOW DO YOU THING DANCE WAS USEFUL FOR YOUR CHILD AND CHILDREN IN GENERAL? WHAT DOES YOUR CHILD ENJOY THE MOST IN DANCE?
Natasa: Dancing helped Draga a lot in a psychological sense. She raised her self-confidence. She stopped crying every hour, either at home or at school. An example at school, a teacher points out a mistake to her, she cries, her friends won’t hang out with her, she cries.
The dance erased it all. She learned to have her own position, to freely express her opinion or suggestion. She realized that everyone is different and that she should respect that. She created a sense of responsibility for herself and others around her. She is mentally stronger and thus better in school. The healthier one is less likely to catch a cold, because dancing also influenced the strengthening of immunity. She is happy, and the smile I see whenever we go to training is indescribably the most beautiful sight for parents. She is no longer ashamed to proudly say that her group won first place in a competition. She likes the fact that she can express her feelings through movement, because dancing is a bit like acting.
P&G: WHY WOULD YOU RECOMMEND PARENTS TO TAKE THEIR CHILDREN TO DANCING SCHOOL?
Natasa: From my experience and my story, dance is the teacher of life. Dancing is a way of life. Children acquire important life skills at the dance. Self-confidence. The importance of teamwork in the direction of success. The importance of independent work, responsibility, towards oneself and the team. Respect for diversity. Boys learn the importance of gender equality. They strengthen the mental structure, develop cerebral convolutions. The body secretes the hormone of happiness in larger quantities, because when they dance, there is only music, movement, happiness, peace and joy. There is no place for anger, stress, anger, anxiety, violence in dance. They are physically healthy. Their bodies develop properly. The most important thing for me is that dancing has a beneficial effect on psychophysical health. Every parent’s health is the most important thing for every parent.
Photo: Private gallery