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If one word could be used to describe the All Russian Federation of DanceSport and Acrobatic Rock’n’Roll (FDSARR) during the coronavirus pandemic, it would be “productive.”
Extremely productive, in fact.
In recent months the FDSARR has updated 24 of its regulations (including those on disciplinary proceedings, code of ethics and sports club regulations), met online with its 124 regional federations, organised numerous activities virtually for its athletes, launched a talk show and created a shop to promote its brand, all while carrying out its usual day-to-day activities.
And that’s only the half of it. Of course, when your President is Nadezhda Erastova, multitasking and getting things done tend to be second nature.
“We didn’t stand still during the regime of self-isolation,” says FDSARR President Erastova, adding that the current focus is on the resumption of competition, with the Russian National DanceSport Championships scheduled for 4-6 September.
The event will act as the 2020 National Championships for Formation Standard, Formation Latin, Adult Latin, Youth Latin, as well as the 2020 Russian National Cup for Standard. It will be held in strict compliance with the health and safety requirements of the Russian government.
“We hope the situation will allow us to hold other competitions this year, too,” Erastova says. “However, this year we do not plan to hold international events since the situation with the coronavirus is still unpredictable and we do not want to fail the athletes.”
The athletes are not the only ones the FDSARR is looking out for. After speaking with its 124 regional members across the country, the Federation offered financial assistance to those struggling due to the lack of events during the COVID-19 period.
“Zoom helped us to ‘fly around’ the whole country and to listen to the problems of each region,” Erastova says. “Based on the meetings, the FDSARR Presidium decided to allocate donations equal to 200,000 euros in total to support regional federations. The donations can be spent on the organisation of competitions and rendering assistance to teachers and coaches who are currently in difficult situations.”
To keep athletes motivated during the pandemic, the FDSARR held online training sessions, seminars, quizzes and even competitions. “The Breaking competition was the most successful of all,” she explains, “having conducted an international battle in which b-boys from five countries took part.”
Another kind of contest invited young athletes in DanceSport, Breaking, Acrobatic Rock’n’Roll and Boogie-Woogie to create their own “Dream T-shirts,” with the winners taking home some extra pocket money and having their design printed on shirts that will go on sale at the new FDSARR shop, which was created together with Russian national DanceSport and Acrobatic Rock’n’Roll athletes. The shop sells everything from souvenirs and accessories to FDSARR-branded clothing. An online version of the shop is currently in the works.
If all that wasn’t enough, the Russian DanceSport community was also kept entertained thanks to a new online talk show programme called the “Open Collar Interview,” whose guests have included top Russian athletes, coaches and even scientists.
And the pièce de résistance of 2020? Well, that would be the start of construction on a new sports complex in the southern Russian city of Krasnodar, where the FDSARR is aiming to host DanceSport, Breaking and Acrobatic Rock’n’Roll competitions when the facilities are complete.
“The sport complex is multifunctional but aimed at the sports developed by the FDSARR,” Erastova explains. “The complex will also be equipped with a swimming pool, fitness centre and a conference hall. At the same time, the Federation is also considering the purchase of a hotel and building a sports complex in the resort town of Gelendzhik, situated on the Black Sea, for training and rehabilitation of athletes.”
In other words, it’s a good time to be a dancer in Russia.
Ironically, however, one of the only hiccups in an otherwise expertly managed year under COVID-19 for the FDSARR has been a decline in the number of dancers.
“We did our best to do everything possible to keep our athletes,” says Erastova. “Unfortunately, some athletes have left the sport, but they are in the minority.”
Not one to dwell on setbacks, though, the FDSARR President says she is confidently looking forward to a brighter short- and mid-term future for DanceSport in Russia.
“It is unfortunately too early to think about the end of pandemic, but we live for the here and now, staying delicately optimistic about the future and believing that new sport victories lie ahead!”