Yelena Simone is an internationally-known artist, dancer, and performer. She is best known in Windsor for her expertise in the art of Sand Animation, which she has been mastering since 2012.
Simone (nee Elena Semenov) was born in Minsk, Belarus, in 1961. She and her husband, Eugene, settled in Windsor in the late 1990s. In 1999, Simone founded art school for children called KidsArtSmart Inc. where she educated students in a variety of artistic mediums. She is also an award-winning ballroom dancer and has instructed dance classes at the University of Windsor, St. Clair College, and Mackenzie Hall. In 2012 she was introduced to a new art form called Sand Art or Sand Animation. Sand Animation
appealed to both her artistic and performance sensibilities as it requires the artist to sculpt images in sand in front of a live audience. Sand Animations are carefully choreographed; using a projector and screen so the audience can see, the artist creates a sequence of images in sand which correspond to a musical score or sounds of nature. Although the production appears to be spontaneous, Simone notes that the artist must rehearse the performance meticulously in order to get the timing just right. Simone presents sand shows at numerous events, including festivals and religious celebrations, and has also been performing with the Windsor Symphony Orchestra since 2014.
Before landing in Windsor, Simone completed her Master of Fine Arts degree at the State University of Belarus. Simone’s artwork is featured in a number of public and private art collections around the world, including the State Art Galleries of Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine.
Shaw, Ted. “The shifting sands of Yelena Simone’s art.” Windsor Star (December 13, 2014). https://windsorstar.com/arts-2/the-shifting-sands-of-yelena-simones-art-video-to-go-with-this/
Simone, Yelena. “About: Yelena Simone.” (n.d). http://yelenasimone.com/