A little over one year after the delegates to the 2016 World DanceSport Federation (WDSF) General Meeting in Rome, ITA, had voted to expel the Russian DanceSport Union (RDSU) from WDSF membership, the WDSF Presidium admits a new Member Body
for Russia on the basis of a provisional membership limited to one year. It was a long process and one of undeniable complexity, but in the end it was seen through successfully between all the parties involved.
A little over one year after the delegates to the 2016 World DanceSport Federation (WDSF) General Meeting in Rome, ITA, had voted to expel the Russian DanceSport Union (RDSU) from WDSF membership, the WDSF Presidium admits a new Member Body for Russia on the basis of a provisional membership limited to one year. It was a long process and one of undeniable complexity, but in the end it was seen through successfully between all the parties involved.
The RDSU’s lack of democratic structures and transparent processes and its practice to disenfranchise entire segments within the Russian DanceSport community were the reasons that had led to its expulsion on 12 June 2016. However, the General Meeting decided at the same time to suspend the expulsion until 31 October 2016, providing RDSU with one last opportunity to remove determined people from office they held within the governing body, to commit to implement a programme of liberal reforms and, as soon as possible, to hold democratic elections.
Only after RDSU had failed to meet any of these conditions did the WDSF Presidium reaffirm the General Meeting’s decision and inform the Russian Ministry of Sport and the Russian National Committee of the expulsion effective from 1 November 2016.
WDSF President Lukas Hinder took it upon himself to ensure that from this date all Russian athletes and officials would continue to be able to compete and officiate in the WDSF competition system, providing them with administration through the WDSF headquarters in Lausanne and, eventually, with licensing and other services available through a point of contact in Moscow. At the same time, President Hinder set out to convince the DanceSport community in Russia to agree to conciliation and dialogue, all with a view towards creating a new National Member Body.
“I have tried to bring the factions in Russian DanceSport to engage in a constructive dialogue,” Hinder reported to 2017 WDSF General Meeting in Singapore, “with the goal to establish a RDSU successor organisation modelled after the most inclusive of our National Member Bodies.” Fortunately, he found some formidable allies to his cause among the leadership of the Russian Federation of Acrobatic Rock ‘n’ Roll.
In a process that extended over the past seven months, the blueprints for a federation that defines DanceSport as an all-encompassing brand were drawn up and applied to the “All Russian Federation of DanceSport and Acrobatic Rock ’n’ Roll,” the Russian Member Body.
After submitting a first application for WDSF Membership in May, a delegation of the “All Russian Federation of DanceSport and Acrobatic Rock ’n’ Roll” led by its newly elected President, Mrs Nadezhda Erastova, presented the organisation and submitted many of the documents in support of the application to the WDSF Presidium on 11 June in Singapore. On this occasion, President Erastova was informed of the amendments to the documentation that still needed to be made. She was also assured that membership could still be granted by 13 July, a deadline imposed by the Russian Ministry of Sport for a federation to be eligible for financial support.
On 6 July 2016 the members of the Presidium voted unanimously to readmit Russian DanceSport to a regularised participation in WDSF DanceSport and, through that, in all activities involving the Olympic Movement.
With regards to the provisional status and the limited term of the new Member Body’s membership, WDSF is confident that the remaining problems can easily be sorted out over the next few months, with both parties committing to continue their excellent collaboration with renewed energy and good faith.
Russia is one of the powerhouses in DanceSport, a country with extremely high participation at all levels and in all disciplines. Even though the predecessor Member had failed in its mission to provide Russian DanceSport with the integrity and the democratic principles required of a national governing body, the sport continued to thrive. Just imagine what will happen now!
The first top finishes by athletes representing the “All Russian Federation of DanceSport and Acrobatic Rock ’n’ Roll” could come at The World Games 2017 Wroclaw, a multi-sport event held at the end of July under the patronage of the International Olympic Committee. Medals in Latin, Rock ‘n’ Roll and in Standard are all within reach of the Russian contingent!
In the first stage of qualifying for the breaking events at Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games, a vast majority of the b-boys/girls who have submitted their videos to “Breaking for Gold” are from Russia.
All of this bodes well for a bright future of Russian DanceSport!