BERLINO -Eldon Pulak was born in Saskatoon, Canada and first started dancing at the age of six at a local Ukrainian dance school. Dancing very soon became a passion of his, and among the many other extra-curricular activities he pursued such as hockey and music, dance is what eventually became his focus. Pulak trained at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School of Canada and then went on to dance with the Alberta Ballet in Calgary. Broadening the scope of his dance involvement, Pulak pursued exploration into contemporary dance as well. He danced with the Saskatchewan Contemporary Ballet in Saskatoon and with Jose Navas/Compagnie Flak in Montréal. He has worked with many esteemed Canadian choreographers such as Shaun Hounsel of Les Grands Ballets Canadiens and Jordan Morris of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet of Canada. He was also a guest soloist dancer for Her Royal Highness: The Queen of England, upon her visit to Canada for the province of Saskatchewan’s Centennial year celebration.
When did you come in contact with dance for the first time?
My first contract was with the Alberta Ballet in Calgary. This was in 1999 and I was 19 years old at the time. It was first year after my studies at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School, and I was an apprentice with the company. For me it was both an exciting and nervous experience. I found it intimidating to be such talented dancers and artists at first, but then eventually as I became more comfortable in the environment it was the ability of being around them that pushed me to develop and grow both technically and artistically.
What is it that prompted you to pursue this passion and to make it such an important part of your life?
I really feel that I’ve had a passion for dance since a very early age, essentially from when I began at the age of six. I remember how much I enjoyed listening to traditional Ukrainian music, which I still do today. It gave me so much energy and propelled me to move. I also really enjoyed to perform for people, whether it be at someone’s house or even at my school for my teachers and classmates. I was really keen to dance!
What are the most beautiful experiences and the greatest satisfaction that dancing has given to you?
I suppose I had the realization that I could actually pursue dance as a career when I was around 16 years old. I started training in ballet more intensely and auditioned for professional ballet programs. Some schools thought I was too old to start formal ballet training and didn’t accept me, but a few did apparently see some potential in me and accepted me into their programs. I feel that dance has allowed for me to travel and meet so many beautiful and interesting people. Dance has provided me with a diverse palette of life experience. From regular training and taking class to the excitement of opening night performances and premieres, I get great satisfaction from the whole process of what dance entails. I feel it’s a privilege that I have the opportunity to spend time in the studio: working, creating and rehearsing. So many interesting things happen there. During the moments of creation when you arrive at a point of clarity within the work, or an altogether new perspective, it is these sorts of moments that are really quite special and satisfying.
Why did you move to Berlin?
I moved to Berlin because of an instinctual feeling I had inside me. Having visited the city a couple times while on vacation, I felt the city had a special vibe to it. It felt open, inclusive, and potentially a good place for me to be. Prior to moving I Berlin I had only lived in Canada. I had visited Europe and parts of Asia while on tour with dance companies, but had not yet lived outside of my home country. I felt it would be a good life experience for me to live in another country and experience another culture. Berlin was appealing to me and so I essentially packed up a few of my belongings and made the move without knowing anyone here. I really had no expectations of Berlin other than knowing that I was potentially in for a very interesting ride!
Can you tell me something about your last work “The Wetting Party”?
“The Wetting Party” is my first full-length production, which I’m still currently creating. My dancers Sofia Pintzou and Marion Sparber are very much involved in this process. Original live music will be played my my friend and colleague, Rona Geffen. I prefer not to explain too much about what the piece is about, as I feel this would take away the essence of experiencing it. I will say though that it looks at how three individuals come together in a regular manner to experience something sacred and also potentially self-destructive with one another in a compulsive way.
What about your future in the dance?
I’m not entirely sure about my future with dance. I suppose I have never really known this throughout my career, but rather just explored what felt right in the moment. If it felt right and worked out then I went in that direction. I’ve enjoyed the process of creating “The Wetting Party” very much and would like to continue with more of this type of work. It has challenged me on so many levels which go beyond being a dancer and choreographer. It has tested my patience, my courage and my faith in being true to an inner vision and allowing it to manifest. It has provided me with the experience to go deeper and find what dance and performance can be for me.