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Meet Andrey Moraru of Room 21 Balancing

In the Photo: Andrey Moraru and Jaakko Tenhunen. The co-founders of Room 21 Balancing.

 

Andrey, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
My passion in life is self-expression. I am an entertainer, athlete, artist and just your ordinary neighbor. I believe deep down we all have something unique to express and just need the right medium to let it out and hopefully inspire others. My “job” is to perform live in front of people and getting them to feel something, anything other than indifference toward what they’re experiencing. Sometimes it’s a small group of a dozen or so people. Other times it can be as many as 6,000+ people or even millions like during the live broadcast I performed at for NBC.

Since the early age, I became interested in the arts. It showed me that self-expression comes in countless forms and mediums. My mother helped to spark my curiosity even further by gradually introducing me to the great books from the collection of the world’s classic literature and I loved getting lost in the stories of characters’ transformation, epic mind labyrinths and wonder/danger-filled journeys.

Someone’s mind, spilled out like a colorful paint throughout the pages, painted pictures of the kind of life and opportunities I could not previously imagine. It helped me learn that the variety of languages we are using to talk to each other, could also be used to create/manifest just about anything we can dream of. If we can imagine it, we can phrase it, and if we can phrase it and communicate it clearly, we can make it happen.

Because I also loved nature and being outdoors a lot, I wasted no time exploring my surroundings during all four seasons of the year, be it trees, lakes or hills. Those playful explorations into what the body can do in any given environment changed my entire life.

All things unusual were becoming my new normal and it felt natural to attempt various acrobatic feats or learn how to stretch and bend my body in most unusual ways on a daily basis.

That’s when the Circus or Cirque (French word for Circus) started emerging on my path no matter where I looked. After attending the big top a couple of times and leaving awestruck, I began attending the local Circus Studio. It wasn’t long before I chose to pursue hand balance. The otherworldly displays of equilibrium, focus and symmetry in the body during intricate inversions, have left strong impressions in my developing mind when I watched it done by a visiting hand balancer one day.

Physicality and imagination came together and once I committed to a journey into the world of Cirque, there was no coming back. Without the humble and empowering practice of hand balance and without the encouragement and help from my family, I would have been in a completely different place in life today.

I was born in Moldova, only a few short years before the disastrous collapse of the Soviet Union, of which we were part of at the time. This humanitarian catastrophe affected millions of people of Slavic descent and served us with one of the greatest challenges to overcome and a valuable lesson about the inevitability of change. The birth of anything new is preceded by the crisis of some sort and the dire social situation in my homeland pushed me to seek a very different kind of life.

In times of great social upheaval, learning to balance my body was the subconscious expression of my inner wish to find balance in everything else around me. My own mind included. It still stands true especially today, because of all of the disbalance we observe around the world. My hope is that more and more people set out to find their personal balance, and in turn stabilize those who are around them!

Has it been a smooth road?
I’ve faced a great deal of challenges along the way but without them, I probably wouldn’t be able to appreciate the position I’m in today! Coming from Eastern Europe, I had to overcome many immigrational barriers in order to relocate geographically and continue my explorations into art, performance and balance training in a more suitable environment. I knew that becoming an international circus performer was a grand goal and that many who try, never reach it. Despite any of that though, pursuing this challenging route gave me an immense sense of purpose.

There were also some of the obvious physical obstacles encountered in any type of body practice. Like at 12, 13, 14 y.o. I was growing taller very fast while my strength was increasing at a much slower pace. It is generally easier to succeed at hand balance for people with shorter, stockier proportions. The two teachers I’ve had during both, my beginner’s training in Moldova and during the advanced training years at a professional Circus School in Kiev, Ukraine, never allowed me to accept that my height would stop me from mastering this discipline. Their names are Alexander Craciun and Vitold Kuvshinov.

But, my increasing height wasn’t the only obstacle. As a student, I had little money and felt hungry most of the time. Not having enough food to replenish the resources my body spent during the multiple hours of training each day, was perhaps some of the most difficult realities I’ve had to face for a while.

There was and still is one other challenge that never goes away and it is the performing aspect of hand balance and artistry of performance in general. It is truly an endless work in progress. While the development of physical body and the skills of controlling it eventually hit the wall due to gravitational and/or biological limitations, the ways of expressing an idea or a feeling, truly have no limitations! It isn’t like a knob we can turn up or down. It’s the stuff of mind that can never be fully measured or controlled but rather only tapped into at various times. Creativity.

However, I think any artist that loves their craft is secretly looking for challenges to overcome in order to continue pushing the envelope further.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Room 21 Balancing – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
‘Room 21 Balancing’ is a joint effort between myself and a friend/training partner/fellow artist Jaakko Tenhunen. While traveling to exotic locations across the world, we created an online balancing tutorial covering 3 different levels of hand-balancing training. It’s called ‘Room 21’ after an actual training space in the old building of the Kiev Circus School, reserved for hand balancers and contortionists. That’s where we trained for hours on end alongside several other great hand balancers.

During our travels, we filmed over 180-tutorial videos and wrote 120-pages of information supplementing the exercises and concepts in the tutorial. We wanted to have our voices out there, representing this discipline by sharing what we’ve learned from the combined personal experience of over 30 years of practicing and performing hand-balance.

Many of the exercises, drills and ideas that guide the step-by-step training process, came from the discoveries we’ve made during the years of daily grind and sweat of training sessions, trying to figure out how to overcome specific body limitations and develop the control to achieve particular inversions, presses and transitions.

What we are proud of as a company is the fact that we are helping to enhance and change lives of those people who like ourselves once before, are looking to find purpose and direction through this unusual discipline. By simply giving balance practitioners the necessary tools and ideas that allow them to get past some of the roadblocks in their training, I believe we enable personal victories and breakthroughs.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
Where do I start??? I love Los Angeles for the cultural diversity and access to all sorts of artistic gems. You can find many people who think alike and accomplish common goals.

I lived in Little Tokyo, Arts District area of Downtown for over 3 years and loved all the murals and graffiti on the walls of nearly every street corner. There’s so many good restaurants, shops, museums, gyms and other activities that a person from any country in the world will find something they like. And in terms of outdoors, being able to get to the ocean, deserts, mountains or the forest whenever I please, is a luxury.

What I find less appealing is the air pollution and a sense of overpopulation. Although it’s understandable as to why so many people choose to come to this city every year.

There are not many places in the world that offer as much as Los Angeles can in so many different ways.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
@mikkoharma, @sergheymoraru, @ivanbelaustegui

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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