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When the World Rock’n’Roll Confederation (WRRC) announced on 17 August that all competition for the rest of 2020 had been cancelled or postponed due to the pandemic, dancers around the world could be forgiven for feeling a little deflated.
But we are happy to report that all hope is not lost!
Beginning in October, the WRRC will be organizing its first ever online competition for registered dancers that will last until the end of the year, culminating in a World Cup with overall winners announced in each category.
That means it’s time to get back into serious training – on both your dance routines and social media skills.
“Basically, we want to keep our dancers active,” says WRRC Sports Director Denis Lilih. “After cancelling our competitions and seeing other sports move online, we thought, ‘Ok, we are in an impossible situation in a totally different time where nothing is standard or normal anymore, so we need to find a way to enable the dancers to dance.”
The shift to the Internet has become even more critical for the WRRC community as coronavirus cases continue to rise worldwide, resulting in ever more restrictions, including the shuttering of halls and auditoriums used by dancers and stricter social distancing rules.
“The worry is that if too many dancers are not able to train, we may lose them and see our sport go back 20 years in terms of the number of dancers, quality, everything. Because once you stop, it’s really hard to start again,” Lilih says. “We don’t want that, so we decided to continue by any means possible and provide at least some kind of competition for those dancers still able to train.”
The first day of competition is scheduled for 24 October, while the final day is set for 20 December. The plan is to organize events every second weekend with at least three online competitions per category until the end of the year. The full schedule can be found here.
The WRRC is already putting the final touches on the event, with registration now open, rules and definitions on how the competition will be conducted in place, and all the technical logistics arranged. The events will be aired live (links will be available on www.wrrc.dance), with the hosts in a production studio and adjudicators in their homes judging the previously unseen, pre-recorded videos from the dancers in real time.
It’s a fascinating concept that Lilih admits has had its fair share of hurdles to overcome before getting to the stage it’s currently at.
“We know that not all the dancers have the same ability to train and the different time zones would be challenging, so the idea was to give the dancers a six-day timeframe during which they must film their performance and send it to us,” Lilih says. “In this way we are allowing our dancers some freedom and flexibility to use their halls whenever they can. It doesn’t matter if they film on Monday, on Tuesday or on Wednesday as long as it is within the specified six-day timeframe.”
WRRC President Miriam K. Izak says the new online competition could result in some terrific performances being submitted, thanks in part to regulations allowing the dancers to record themselves multiple times until they get their routines just right.
“Perhaps now we will be able to see the best edition from each couple and formation,” Izak says. “Of course, there will be challenges – technical and logistical. How to check that the recording is not a mix (or does it really matter?), how to check that the couples don’t send the same recording over and over again? But I’m sure that, overall, we will succeed to produce something good.”
While it is still too early to say definitively how many dancers will take part in the online competition, early registrations suggest that interest is high.
Because the online competition will be the first of its kind for the WRRC, Lilih says he is happy to hear from anyone from other sports or disciplines who have any bright ideas on how to improve the product.
“If somebody has something to add, has any good ideas that we can implement, all these things are really welcome from our side,” he says. “The more people you include in any project, the more you can benefit from the many ideas they have.”
To contact the WRRC team organizing the online competition, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
For further information, check out the WRRC website at www.wrrc.dance