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Meet Diana Bedenko of Energia Entertainment

Today we’d like to introduce you to Diana Bedenko.

Diana, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
My early education was in the arts, music and theater. I grew up in the former USSR and was trained in a strict, rigorous academic environment, which informed my adherence to a high standard of artistic practice. When the ethnic war broke out in my native region our family found refuge in the US. I received my degree in fine arts from San Diego State University.

Since then I worked as an educator, administrator, cultural programmer, board member in various non-profits, community organizer, volunteer, production assistant, hair and makeup artist, designer, model, photographer, writer, world traveler, finding inspiration in everything that surrounded me, expanding my creative tools. I exhibited my work in numerous solo and group exhibitions. My paintings have been collected internationally and are currently reproduced all over the world via the efforts of the art publishing company with which I am affiliated.

In recent years I was drawn back to performing. Through my infatuation with Brazilian music, I started playing percussion, eventually turning into a dancer. I trained with passion and perseverance, became a choreographer, samba instructor, gathered a team of like-minded collaborators, and started producing Brazilian entertainment in San Diego.

Since then I have been curating merged visual and performing arts showcases, combining all of my interests, experimenting and following my curiosity.

Has it been a smooth road?
There is no such thing as a smooth road for a creative individual. Let me count the perils! Feeling like a black sheep, a weirdo, for having multiple artistic abilities, with my curious mind being pulled in many directions, distracted, while I was supposed to know exactly who I was supposed to be when I grew up.

The inability to find employment with the 5-year Liberal Arts degree. Working odd jobs to make ends meet, or maintaining a soul-crushing 9 to 5 “stable’ work while the artist inside was desperate to break free. Dropping from physical exhaustion in the constant freelance hustle to support my artistic practice. Dealing with external and internal criticisms for defying societal norms of “success”.

Questioning my own worth, feeling depressed and guilty for experiencing the so-called “artist block”. Inability to monetize the fruits of my artistic labor. And speaking of labor, being a woman and having to choose between starting a family or pursuing an unconventional career in the arts. Yielding to a domineering partner while putting my own goals on hold. Working on a show 7 days a week for 6 months to find most seats in the audience empty because of my aversion to business, marketing, technology and social media. Losing in competitions.

Maneuvering interpersonal relationships in complex circles of collaborators. Struggling to manage time effectively while being a hopeless dreamer, a space cadet with my head in the clouds. Learning to confidently ask for help, for a higher rate for my services, learning to say NO, learning to say YES, to let go and trust my own judgment. Needless to say, the challenges contributed to my growth, self-discovery and brought me closer to my Purpose in life.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Energia Entertainment story. Tell us more about the business.
Energia Entertainment produces Carnaval shows for public and private events. We specialize in Brazilian samba, bringing gorgeous professional dancers in spectacular costumes on stage, sometimes accompanied by live musicians. I am proud to be the artistic director, to train the dancers, sometimes designing and creating our costumes, and performing with my team. We won Second Place in the National Samba Competition in 2016 and definitely going after the First Place this year.

To keep myself on my toes, I teach samba classes 3-4 times a week in my extended Energia ‘Academy’, empowering women of all competency levels, to get into their bodies, and elevate themselves through this very spiritual art form. Samba is rare in San Diego, and it gives us tremendous satisfaction to introduce it to our audiences, with polished professional choreography, authentic freestyle movement, getting everybody up on their feet, screaming with excitement and genuine joy.

Another very unique component of Energia is our annual All Gentlemen Dance & Variety Showcase. Identifying a dire need in sophisticated entertainment for bachelorettes, we started producing romantic, sensual and glamorous Ladies Nights for women of all ages.

Calling it the ‘anti-Chippendale movement’ we curate exquisite male performers of various dance genres, in a theatrical, imaginative, burlesque-inspired atmosphere. These Ladies Nights (for women and by women) are spiced up with artisan vendors, art exhibitions, fashion shows, and all the fun things after a girl’s heart.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
With women taking on leaders’ roles and gaining more influence of our world, my idea with the new outlook on entertainment for women will certainly be met with enthusiasm and commercial success.

We will eventually change the industry from male-dominated sphere to a female-controlled entity, where we create exciting realms of sensory fulfillment, on our own terms. By sheer intuition and soul searching I found myself in the business of female empowerment and I am convinced it is the future.

With the world’s rapid technological development, people are competing more and more with machines in just about every industry. I believe human creativity will be an exceedingly precious commodity, and I am in the business of that.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Shadowcatcher Imagery, Robert Stone Nadel Photography

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