Chronicle 2011

Graduation in Petrozavodsk

It has become a tradition in our club Onego Wave Dancers to have a dancing party every month where all the club members, graduated and student dancers, can dance together and have fun. Our guests have a chance to try square dancing as well. Dancing parties are usually followed by talks and a cup of tea in the nearby café which makes them even more enjoyable.

Our Christmas Party on December 26th, hosted 12 dancers from the Saint Petersburg Club, 4 dancers from Murmansk and Wolfgang represented the GRSDF. It was the biggest event for our club since our 5th anniversary. Unfortunately nobody could come from Pskov – the journey from Pskov to Petrozavodsk is simply too long.

February 27th, was also a very special day for our club. We had a party and the highlight was a Graduation Ceremony. It was the first time that our club had had the Graduation Party. Four new dancers joined our club after almost a one-year training.

The preparation took a long time - writing the scenario, sewing the costumes, searching for the right music - but piece by piece everything was ready.

Graduation is an important event in every square dancer's life, so we tried to make it cheerful and memorable.

There was a pie with 4 candles at each corner on a table and the four graduates Svetlana, Marina, Ludmila and Tatiana were accompanied into the hall by angel Nikolai and the callers and dancers wearing black gowns and mortarboards which were later given to the graduates as a sign of their proficiency in square dancing. This all was accompanied by the ABBA song "The Way Old Friends Do". The Graduation ceremony was opened with a friendly letter from Traudel and Eberhard: "Dear Tatiana and all square dance friends in Petrozavodsk, we send best wishes to all of you for the graduation party on February 27th. Sure, all the new dancers will feel a lot of happiness in square dancing now and in the future. We would like to join in and take a peek what happens ... Hope to meet you in a square in St. Petersburg in the autumn, hugs with love Traudel and Eberhard".

A letter from Tomas Hedberg from Sweden made the atmosphere even more festive and made us feel proud of belonging to the world square dance family. "I started square dancing when it was very new in Sweden. Today I can look back and think about everything that I have seen over the years. Then I see what is going on in Russia and think about the future of square dancing for you. You have now become a part of the square dance family and you are welcome to any square dance in the world. You will not only be very welcome – other dancers will be honoured to meet you and to have you as guests on any festival. I know, because I talk about you with all my friends and everyone I talk to is excited! I so much look forward to seeing you all again soon! Tomas Hedberg".

Then the graduates demonstrated their dancing skills in "magic shoeboxes" and proficiency in a required set of calls. After the four candles have been lit and the "recipe" of four F's –Fun, Family, Fellowship, Friendship – had been shared, the long-awaited moment finally came. The graduates received their diplomas, badges, SD rules and the Friendship Song was sung.

Congratulations, friendly words and hugs and sharing the friendship pie with everybody made this moment memorable.

The evening ended in the "Beerloga" café with coffee, blini and almost a two-hour talk.

We hardly can imagine our lives without Square Dance and without Square Dance Friendship.

(Tatiana Antonova, President of the Onego Wave Dancers)

Caller school in Russia

Unfortunately, the caller school with Kenny Reese in St. Petersburg scheduled for February 2011 had to be cancelled. At about the same time Tomáš Doug Machalík from Kladno near Prague who is a caller and member of our club, was planning a visit to Russia to call in Pskov, Petrozavodsk and St. Petersburg clubs. Thus, time permitting, he ran the schools for the Russian callers. The president and members of our club are really thankful to Tomáš for his contribution and support of square dance in Russia.

Helmar Wolf, an active member of our club, has been helping Russian square dance clubs greatly since 2009. He's visited Russian clubs six times since then. Moreover, in April he funded and launched a pilot project on online calling via Skype to support callers in Petrozavodsk and Russia. This project is planned to be worked on.

A beginning in Moscow

On the initiative of Alsu Alyusheva the first group of people interested in square dance met on April 4th. Alsu is a member of our association. She almost finished square dance class at the Jolly Jokers in Munich and was graduated in Pskov last year. Alsu lives in Moscow now. She was able to get a room at the German-Russian House in Moscow for regular classes there on Tuesdays. Eberhard Walz and his wife travelled to Moscow and conducted a crash course in square dance in the German-Russian House from May 28th to 31st. We are looking forward to the opening of a Moscow square dance club.

Resumption in Kaliningrad

The second visit of our vice president and caller Eberhard Walz to Kaliningrad in September 2010 was at threat because there was no proper dance hall found yet. Nevertheless he came there to teach and train new square dancers. His next trip together with a group of 9 square dancers at the end of June turned out to be a real success. This time there was a spacious dance hall available and there were up to 6 squares on the dance floor. Our new members Lothar Weidich and his wife arrived in Kalingrad later by car. He continued teaching for two more days after Eberhard has left. The enthusiastic atmosphere in Kaliningrad made us very confident that the next club in Russia will be founded there in the near future.

Changes within the Board and designation of honorary members

At the membership meeting on July 2nd in Bergheim Oskar Bachsleitner, our long-time treasurer and one of the club founders, refused to candidate for re-election. Josef Nagel took over his function. All the other functions remained unchanged.

At this meeting lifetime honorary memberships were assigned to our American members Jim Pead and Betsy Waite for their great contribution to the development of Square Dance in Russia.

8th Charity Event in Germany

The 8th charity event in favour of Square Dance in Russia was followed by the club night and took place at the Elementary School Ahe in Bergheim on July 2nd. We were happy to welcome 130 cheerful dancers from Russia, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. Five hours of MS and PLUS with Will Stans (NL), Maarten Weijers (NL), Ingeborg Körber-Lücker (D) and MC Eberhard Walz delighted the guests. The club night lasted for two and a half hours. The Archway Happy Hoppers did a great job hosting this memorable event.

Fifth Club Anniversary of the Palace Square Dancers in St. Petersburg

On September 10th the third Russian square dance club celebrated its 5th anniversary. On this occasion dancers from all four Russian clubs were graduated in a festive ceremony. At the end of the ceremony they received their diplomas which welcomed them in the world square dance family. The anniversary special was opened with a one minute's silence in honour of Kenny Reese who passed away on September 6th. Kenny contributed considerably to the advancement of Square Dance in Russia by giving several caller schools and by calling at specials. Russian square dance lost a dear friend.

More than 60 dancers from the USA, Germany and Russian clubs attended this event. Ken Ritucci, the well known US caller created a special atmosphere which everybody enjoyed and we all had a lot of fun. Ken also ran a two day caller school for Russian callers on September 8th and 9th.

At the end of the first day the hosts and the guests took a boat trip along the Neva river accompanied by сheerful Russian singing and dancing. Some tea and pies made the trip even more enjoyable. All guests were invited to the club night the next day, September 11th.

Many thanks to the Palace Square Dancers and their families for their warm hospitality.

Callerschool in Bad Wörishofen

With the support of our club Alsu Alyusheva was able to attend the caller school with Joe Kromer, Jeannette Stäuble (CH) and Jerry Jestin (US) from November 13th to 17th.