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Presidential Address 01/11/2017

WDSF President Lukas Hinder © Melnikov Mrs President, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Being here in Moscow for the Russian Open Championships and for the GrandSlam makes me proud. Very proud! That an event of such magnitude and organisational complexity could take place at the end of October 2017 was not a foregone conclusion when I – together with my colleagues on the WDSF Presidium – had to implement one of the hardest decisions during my twenty-some years as an elected official in the governance of DanceSport.

We are but a few days short of the 31st of October, the date when – in 2016 – the World DanceSport Federation was forced to communicate to the Russian DanceSport Union that an expulsion, which the General Meeting had decided on some months earlier, would become effective from the very next day.

Obviously, my colleagues and I were aware of the hardship that this expulsion would cause in what is – in all likelihood – the country where more dancers than anywhere else depend on a democratic and ethically irreproachable organisation representing their interests. At home as well as abroad! The RDSU had failed miserably in its mission and deserved the severity of the sanction taken against it. The thousands of RDSU members – on the other hand – did not!

That is why my colleagues and I went to considerable length in order to provide these members with basic administration through our Lausanne Headquarters. For several months, it was the WDSF staff and a few collaborators in Moscow who kept Russian athletes and officials on – or around – the international dancefloors. I am proud of all of you!

Meanwhile I saw it as one of my priority tasks to ensure that a new organisation would eventually take the place of RDSU and apply for membership with WDSF in due time. I considered it to be my responsibility to bring the feuding factions in Russian DanceSport to engage in a productive dialogue between them.

Luckily, I soon found formidable allies who not only shared my views, but who were willing to put all their weight behind the vision of an inclusive – and integrating – organisation to rise like a phoenix from the ashes of its predecessor.

It did not happen overnight, but the blueprints for the new national governing body were submitted to the Ministry of Sport for review and approval in spring 2017.

Unlike its predecessor, the “All-Russian Federation of DanceSport and Acrobatic Rock ‘n’ Roll” takes the holistic view on what is dance as sport. Even if its name still needs further work, it was admitted to a provisional membership – by unanimous vote of the Presidium – on the 6th of July.

The Federation President, Mrs Nadezhda Erastova, was able to celebrate the first sporting successes of Russian DanceSport athletes only a few weeks later. With silver medals in Acrobatic Rock ‘n’ Roll, Latin and Standard at The World Games in Wroclaw she acquired her first taste. With three out of three gold medals at the World Championships in Chengdu she savoured victory.

As recently as last Sunday, her federation won two out of two gold medals at the YOG Qualifier in Germany: a maximum contingent of three b-boys and two b-girls keeps Russia on track for an Olympic title in breaking!

Russia has always been a powerhouse in DanceSport. Not much has changed in that respect. What has changed, however, is the commitment of the new federation to uphold the principles of integrity and democracy – all the while giving its athletes every opportunity to excel on floors around the world and in every dance style. That is what makes me proudest.

I take this opportunity to salute the founding members of the new federation, all of them, and I want to express my gratitude to the Ministry of Sport of the Russian Federation and the Department of Sport and Tourism of Moscow for being the patrons to this young organisation. I thank all of you for making this happen!