Get to know SAG actress, dancer, choreographer, and professionally trained Kung Fu fighter, Tetiana Gaidar!

Tetiana Gaidar

Image Credit: Tony Duran

Tetiana Gaidar can do it all and she’s not afraid to follow her dreams.

The Ukrainian dancer is best known for being a choreographer for So You Think You Can Dance Ukraine but she’s also a model who achieved her Master’s Sport title in Kung Fu. Today, HOLR is sitting down to chat with Tetiana about how she got her start, her accomplishments to date, and- most recently- how she worked with Keanu Reeves to train him further in tactical training for his upcoming role in John Wick 4.

Keep reading to check out our full conversation with Tetiana Gaidar below!

Tetiana Gaidar

Image Credit: Tony Duran

Talk to us about your journey in the industry- how did you get started?

It’s weird and it’s kind of like a movie. When I was 10 years old, I saw X-Files with my mom and dad. It was our favorite show as a family, and I fell in love with David Duchovny. I said, “Mom I will be a CIA Agent, I will be a spy, I will come to America!” My mom looked at me like I was crazy and my dad brushed me off. They kind of shut me down because my entire family is scientists and physics. For me to have a dream to be a spy that’s kind of crazy to them.

So my mom and dad told me “No” and told me I was going to be a scientist like them. However, I was always watching X-Files with subtitles because I was obsessed. Later, my mom told me I should be a ballet dancer-  because that was her dream! I told her “No” because I thought there was no money in dancing.

I still wanted to be a spy. As we were talking and walking home from school, my mom was like “Oh yeah you want to be a spy?” and she dragged me into a martial arts studio. “Here is your spy thing!” She then signed me up for martial arts and I was so happy! That’s how I started to do kung-fu. I fell in love with it.

After school, I entered university to be a scientist like my family wanted. The day before the first day my boyfriend died- he drowned right in front of my mom. My mom carried a lot of guilt for this because she thought it was her fault and that she was supposed to save him. My first year of university was the darkest part of my life. I learned my lesson to appreciate people and the time we have.

It was hard for me to study and I felt like I matured and grew up so fast. My friend then came to me and told me there was a new hip-hop school from America coming to Ukraine. She then asked me to go to a dance class with her. I didn’t know what it was but I agreed and I started dancing- I found therapy in it. I could tell a story without talking to anyone. I started dancing so much, copying Britney Spears and her moves- I was so obsessed with learning. In a couple of months, my dance teacher told me I was talented and asked me to start working with him. I was asked to help choreograph routines. Within a year I was a choreographer and a dancer. I ended up participating in So You Think You Can Dance Season 2. 

I helped with choreographing hip-hop routines and I was working as a choreographer and a dancer. I met so many choreographers from America- my dream of getting close to America was coming true and I was starting to learn more of the language. I was told I looked like Penelope Cruz and Demi Moore.

So You Think You Can Dance was just starting to blossom in Ukraine and I was trying to open my visa to come to America but it was a hard process! After so long I got a visa to go to Philadelphia and I thought to myself to change my ticket back home to Ukraine to go to Los Angeles, instead. With some help, I was able to do so and I came to Los Angeles! I learned how to drive a car and was so excited at the time because I was on a mission- it was so inspiring for me!

This is one of the biggest lessons I learned- other people thought I wasn’t going to make it. Here I am and I’m making it. If you believe you can do something, just go for it!

What are some of your favorite projects you’ve worked on to date?

I was super excited to work with Jamie Foxx on Day Shift! Right after that, I booked Bosch: Legacy- I was given the opportunity to prove myself as an actress. It was a fun time in my life because my dream was coming true. I was so inspired and so grateful.

Tetiana Gaidar

Image Credit: Tony Duran

Talk to us about your experience on So You Think You Can Dance Ukraine. 

When I came on the show doing the hip-hop routine, people in Ukraine weren’t ready for it. The judges were like “wow” because it was something so new and refreshing. I love the show and I love my people and they love me back. Being on TV in Ukraine I was introduced to what it was like to be famous.

I love going and training people and doing workshops all over Ukraine. Going to Poland and Europe helped me become a great teacher being able to help and train people from all over. It was a wonderful experience being able to tell stories through dance. I started dancing very late so my story was inspiring to people.

I miss it!

Tetiana Gaidar

Image Credit: Tony Duran

We hear you’re a professionally trained Kung Fu fighter! Tell us about working with Keanu Reeves in regard to training him further in tactical training for his role in John Wick 4.

I registered for Instagram and I saw Keanu Reeves doing tactical training and in Ukraine, I saw John Wick. I thought it was so beautiful and the message was so strong. I love how Keanu incorporated martial arts and weapons- it was a beautiful dance. I thought that was so cool.

I wanted to be an action actress and tell a story in movies. I got inspired and dreamed about working with him. I was training and assisting one day and Keanu came- he is one of the sweetest most humble people. He is interested in YOU. He wants to know your life and where you’re from. When he’s training he’s so focused- he wants to do better. He’s giving 100% f himself in the training. I told him how he inspired me to become an action actor.

John Wick 4 is going to be amazing- you won’t believe it! I highly suggest you go see it. Keanu took his training next level. The franchise is next level and there are shocking moments. You will love the action!

What’s next for you?

After I booked Bosch: Legacy, I started working on my own short film. I just finished post-production on my own short film about a dancer/assassin from Ukraine. I learned a lot by putting up my own project and what it takes to create your own project. Hopefully, in the future, I will be able to produce more of my own stuff. I am grateful for my director friends who gave me a shot and advised me and believed in me.

Meanwhile, I keep auditioning and there are a few projects for me on hold. Fingers crossed! What’s next is pursuing my dream- hopefully one day I will be able to book my own franchise or a movie with a really good message that inspires other people.

Published by HOLR Magazine.