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All Eyes are on Santa Monica’s Svetlana: Retinal Surgeon and Salsa Star

Santa Monica resident Svetlana Pilyugina is a retinal surgeon by day and a Salsa dancer by night. Her passion for dance landed her a role as one of the hand-selected Salsa dancers for the premiere of ROCK WITH YOU -The King of Pop Latin Style show at El Portal Theatre in the NoHo Arts District December 23-January 2, 2011.

“I’m honored to be a dancer in this amazing show,” says Svetlana. “Everyone has had a ‘Michael Jackson experience’ in their life and this show will take you back to those specific memories. It combines his music with Salsa, which puts everyone in a festive mood…perfect for the holidays!”

ROCK WITH YOU – The King of Pop Latin Style is a celebration of music and dance masterpieces made famous by the late, great Michael Jackson, done with a hot Latin beat and re-orchestrated to rhythms such as Salsa, Cha-cha-cha, Merengue, Bachata, Reggaeton and even some Latin Hip Hop. This is not a Michael Jackson impersonation show but rather a unique twist on his music, moves and persona based on Latin rhythms and dance.

ROCK WITH YOU is a high-energy, Broadway style review starring Caribbean-born and New York-trained Seaon Stylist Bristol accompanied by a full cast of dancers, singers and an all-star Salsa and Latin-Jazz band. Guests will be on their feet applauding, dancing and singing along to such Michael Jackson hits as Human Nature, Liberian Girl, Remember the Time, Can You Feel It and many more…all with an irresistible Latin beat.

Q:How long have you lived in Santa Monica? Do you work in Santa Monica too?
A: I moved to Santa Monica in 2009 after completion of my fellowship training in Retinal Surgery and starting my work with the Retinal Consultants of Southern California Medical Group. We are ophthalmology physicians specializing in the treatment of retinal diseases. My private office is located on Santa Monica Boulevard and I perform surgery at St. John’s Hospital.

Q: Why do you like to dance? How has it helped you in your life?
A: Dancing may seem to be an unlikely source of inspiration for medicine and eye surgery, but it has helped me for many years in my difficult, but incredibly rewarding work: it releases my imagination, gives me a boost of positive and creative energy and inspires me to approach my work with renewed strength and passion. It teaches discipline and helps to train precision of movement and focus, both of which are vital to my work, from a different perspective. Most importantly, I believe that in medicine, I can never simply “get by” without giving 100% effort to each of my patients who trusted me with their health. Same is true in dance and performance – there is a constant striving for excellence, which I find so satisfying. Dance is a beautiful art, which brings balance to my life, not to mention– it is a terrific way to stay fit!

Q: Why should Santa Monica residents come see the show?
A: The Santa Monica community has always been culturally diverse and has always had a great appreciation of the beauty of Latin culture and especially Latin rhythms. This show is a wonderful expression of the fusion of musical cultures that will speak to each person in the audience. Besides, everyone has had a “Michael Jackson experience” in their life and this show will take you back to those specific memories. My distinct memory is of me as a 12-year-old girl in Ukraine learning the moves from Michael’s video with my girlfriend for a school dance. I could not have imagined back then that I would get a chance to show them many years later on a theater stage in Los Angeles! So come not only to appreciate your memories, but to experience them in a different light through beautiful Latin culture. The show brings out so many flavors and styles: salsa, bachata, merengue, flamenco, even hip hop and African rhythms. You will hear a great Latin Jazz band and live singing… It promises to be a great evening, full of fun and energy. And it is a chance for you to perfect your own moves – we’re having a free salsa class and open dancing on stage with the cast after the show!

So, come dance with us -doctor’s orders!

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