We had the fantastic pleasure to speak to Pola Rubis, one-half of body art/dance/visual art duo Neosutras. Along with her husband and collaborator Lamont Goode, the duo is blazing a trail to celebrate wellness, presence, intimacy, and personal freedom within the web3 space.
This interview took place while Pola and Lamont were on retreat away from their busy lives in Los Angeles and right after the debut of their metaverse opening, Neosutras Art Wellness, hosted by Spatial.
MP: Can you tell me about your background as a dancer and artist?
PR: I’m originally from Siberia in Novosibirsk. There was not so much to do there, but I was always interested in dance, doing something with my body.
When I was a teenager, one of the biggest dance companies in Moscow opened a school in our city, which was a dream come true. I sold a family winter fur, and my mother washed the floors in the school so I could attend for two months because we had no money. The money from the fur could have fed my family for six months, but it went to one month of tuition. My mother encouraged me, though, saying that if I never try, I’ll never know.
After those two months, I did well enough to earn a scholarship to study there. I trained 12 hours a day for five years and became a soloist in the company. I also acquired a lot of injuries, so I started to study Pilates and yoga while traveling Europe and the US, dancing and taking master classes.
Then I joined a big dance company in Moscow, dancing on some of the biggest stages with some of the biggest artists in Russia for two years until I injured my back. For six months, I was bedridden, and that was when I started to study photography. My family is filled with photographers. My father is a legendary photographer who created color photography in Siberia — before that, there was only black and white in Siberia.
I continued dancing for the next ten years but stayed focused on photography. That’s where I started my first company, Pola Rubis Productions, in Moscow. I did visual branding for Russian TV channels, record labels, and musicians.
But I faced more health issues and moved to Bali. I’ve been through ups and downs with my health issues. It’s connected to mental health. You will get ill when you’re doing things your heart isn’t connected to. The body follows the heart. So that’s how I moved to Indonesia. I gave up everything in Moscow, including my show, “The Rules of Success with Pola Rubis.”
Bali was where my spiritual journey started. I discovered this primal feeling and authentic connection with a place and with people. I discovered real happiness living in Bali. I ended up in L.A. because I missed my flight back to Bali, and then I stayed! But that’s another story.
I’m a big believer that what we plan with our minds isn’t our higher purpose. We cannot plan ahead. I learn this more and more every day: trust the process.
MP: What’s your process for creating new works?
PR: My art and our art is the observation of daily life. I take inspiration from my experiences. I tap into the essence of my experience, then I close my eyes and start to receive downloads of how I can express this state for others to feel what I feel. I want to immerse others in this state.
Right now, I’m eager to share love and only the states that can benefit and inspire people to grow spiritually, physically, and mentally. I feel a responsibility as an artist to put out powerful content. Art can create a powerful impression on people. They take that impression home and do something with it. That’s why I’m very conscious about what I’m putting out there.
That’s why we have a lot of nudity in our artistry. Because nakedness is our primal state, which has been shamed through the centuries. We’ve been put in many social boxes, and shame around the body is something we need to unbox right now.
MP: Can you give me a concrete example of bringing an observation from real life into artistic form?
PR: Our most recent piece on MakersPlace is called “Integration.” It’s one of many pieces that are nude and totally immersed in nature. Talking about experience in life: we want our audience to feel how beautiful it would be to just be yourself and feel free, with no rules, no boxes. In connection with the earth, with nature, with each other. And that’s what we translate into our work. Not that we’re supposed to walk naked on the streets all the time, but that we should have a choice and feel comfortable in our skin, not shamed.
MP: How did Neosutras come about?
PR: The first Neosutras piece is called “Convergence.” This was the first video my husband Lamont [Goode] and I did together. It’s based on a movement form we created using both of our 20+ years of movement study. I studied dance, Pilates, and yoga; Lamont is a breakdancer and acrobat. We fused these disciplines and created this piece. Lamont posted it on Facebook, and it quickly went viral. We had about 10 million views and 70,000 comments in a couple of months. The comments weren’t just “Oh, dope!” People were baring their hearts. We were crying every day reading all of the comments.
We understood that we’d tapped into something that touches people’s hearts. It was just dancing. But we started to be more conscious of what we do and why the piece provoked this ripple effect of heart opening. And that’s how we started Neosutras. Neo, meaning new, and sutras, which in Hindi means knowledge or philosophy. New knowledge.
The previous knowledge, like yoga and kama sutra, they’ve been around for centuries. And now, through combined life experiences and a study of the old knowledge, we can open to something new. Once we started Neosutras, spirituality was no longer secondary; it became the primary thing.
That was a significant step to our becoming known. We’ve had people reach out to us from all over the globe to collaborate, like Vini Vici, who featured Neosutras in his video “Moyoni.”
MP: Was “Convergence” released before you got into NFTs?
PR: Yes, I don’t remember the date. It was in 2018 or 2019. Firmly web 2.0.
MP: Can you tell about the Neosutras book?
PR: During the pandemic, we really felt the power of isolation. For me, it wasn’t actually a problem. I like being a hermit and having fun by myself. But I saw a lot of struggles. A lot of people broke up because being stuck at home, they found they had to face their problems. They had no way to run away from it.
Lamont and I had our own struggles. I had surgery and an ectopic pregnancy. I almost died, and I was saved. This kickstarted a lot of shifts in me. We started to analyze our life, the essence of our relationship, and that’s how we created the practice of Neosutras.
The book contains 50 asanas, though we’ve created so many more. It provides spiritual and physical guidance to teach people how to feel together in a very gentle, safe way. The aim is to find a way of communicating, not just verbally, but with your bodies. It’s an education that society doesn’t teach, to feel both intimate and playful.
Different places on the body respond differently to sensations, and body position affects that. One position may feel wounding while another is incredibly soothing. This is how couples can begin to heal each other.
MP: How has web3 affected the way you approach your work?
PR: This space is so speedy. Things change so quickly. It’s crazy. There’s so much burnout, and everything can be about sales, flipping, and getting rich. But what’s missing, honestly, is spirituality.
Humans weren’t born to digest this amount of information so quickly, so we’re losing presence. We are bringing a different energy to the space, combining art and wellness, so that people are inspired to repattern. No one needs to rush or run or follow the trends. This is a beautiful opportunity to be who we are and help people sink back into their hearts.
I don’t think a few pieces or a couple of talks will cause some wave of enlightenment. But drop by drop, piece by piece, through consistency, we will continue to have opportunities to connect with audiences and other creators and really make a difference.