Chronicle 2003

How it all began in Russia

In Febuary a square dance workshop in St. Petersburg was the initial spark of square qancing in Russia.

The humble beginning:
In the December 2002 issue of the an EAASDC bulletin, caller Eberhard Walz published an article in search for devoted square dancers willing to travel as angels to St. Petersburg to help to kick-start the first square.

Quote from the appeal:
"Date: February 14th to 23rd 2003 - Schedule: A crash course for the local visitors of the German-Russian Convention Centre is planned on the 1st weekend. From Monday til Friday 2 to 6 p.m. there will be an induction course for dance instructors from various Russian regions."

A previous attempt failed, but with the logistic support of the German-Russian Convention Centre, who's central branch office for the northwestern part of Russia is located in St. Petersburg, the second attempt was a success. Together with 10 German and Swiss angels (from Braunsbach, Schwäbisch Hall, Aurich, Hamm, Nürnberg, Lauf a.d. Pegniz and Zürich) caller Eberhard led this course to a full success. They practiced on a carpet floor until exhaustion six hours per day from Monday to Friday. But the first 35 calls were accomplished. We all made friends and tears were flowing when we left.

Still under the influence of this big success in St. Petersburg Eberhard and the angels agreed sqaure dance is a good way to build bridges between people and nations. An idea worth to be supported in Russia in the future. Amongst the Russian dancers were dance instructor Lydia Knol and Olga Petranova, leader of the German-Russian Convention Centre in Petrozavodsk / Karelia (located some 450 km in the northwest of St. Petersburg at the banks of Lake Onega). Right after they were back from St. Petersburg and full of enthusiasm they started a square dance branch in their folkdance group and thanked Eberhard for bringing them this "contagious disease" called square dance. Eberhard provided them with some teaching material and visited them in Summer. During his short visit he was pleased by the progress they made. 

Founding of the association

On August 23rd, the angels and Eberhard were invited to Ansbach to attend the founding of the association. But why Ansbach? For two reasons. Most of the angels came from the southern part of Germany and they had the opportunity to visit the local club, the Tic-Tac-Toers, who was celbrating its 30th anniversary. Eight of the angels from St. Petersburg were present and they became founding members of the German-Russian Square Dance Friends. The two missing angels who were not able to joined them became founding members too.

The main goal of the association is the improvement of understanding between people, mainly between German and Russian, by actively supporting square dancing in Russia and the friendship between those who enjoy square dance (§2 - 1st section of the statute). The association promotes square dance education in Russia (§2 - 3rd section) by supporting various events. That's what we call living international understanding.

Ernst Schott was elected president of the board with Eberhard Waltz as vice-president (also caller) and Oswald Bachsleitner as treasurer.

Crash course in Petrozavodsk

In November five of our members (Gertrud, Oskar, Karin and Ernst as angels, and our caller Eberhard) travelled through snowy Russian winter to Petraszvodsk. Together with the Russian square dancers they learned and practised the last missing mainstream calls. Graduation was set for May 2004.