Chronicle 2012

A Russian Christmas in January

At the invitation of Tatiana Antonova, president of Onego Wave Dancers, in early January, the Finnish Caller Kaj Wikholm accompanied by a busload of dancers of DUF Square Dancers from Vantaa / Finland, Helmar from Munich, as well as many Russian dancers travelled to snowy Petrozavodsk. The Russian Christmas was celebrated with a little special on January 6th. Kaj managed the evening with sovereignty and also offered Fedor and Sasha the opportunity to prove themselves. Dancing was from Basic to A2, and Russian dancers, especially the dancers from Kaliningrad which have not yet been graduated, could get a little insight into higher levels. The evening was brought to an end with an after party at the bar of Akvatika, where, in the lovely bright and modern premises, the regular club nights are held. Helmar brought some Christmas cookies and especially the real German Mulled wine found a great resonance among the guests. A traditional Christmas presentation of our hosts rounded off the perfect evening.

For many of the Finnish guests, this was their first visit to Russia and all agreed to try to come back more often. The Russian dancers have visited the traditional November Specials in Vantaa many times before, and this was an important step to the rapprochement between the two groups. After a little sightseeing in Petrozavodsk and an extensive vodka and shampanskoye buying tour at the local supermarket, the guests drove back towards home, and had a stop in St. Petersburg. On this occasion Kaj was committed to call at the 3rd Golden Autumn in September.

Russian representative in the EAASDC Board in May 2012

The president of the EAASDC announced in the May issue of the bulletin that pursuant to GO.II.5.1 Olga Kravchenko from Kaliningrad had been appointed to the Board as the national representative for Russia. With the active support of Traudel and Eberhard Walz the Russian EAASDC member clubs have approved the appointment of Olga. This marks another important step for the positive development of the Square Dance in Russia.

Graduation and 5th anniversary in Murmansk

On Saturday, May 26th, the Polar Light Dancers graduated six dancers (Valentina Lyutkevich, Vera Uvarova, Victor Laptev, Natalia Godorosha, Magarita Golovina und Olga Kravchenko), and celebrated on Sunday, May 27th, their 5th anniversary and the 15th anniversary of the German-Russian Centre Murmansk. A fantastic performance of Olga Lyutkevich president of the Polar Light Dancers and her team. Together with callers Uli Schingen and Eberhard Walz 24 dancers from Germany, 16 from Petrozavodsk, 2 from Pskov, and Olga from Kaliningrad had come, who was graduated at this occasion.

The Murmansk club has traditionally prepared everything to everybody's satisfaction. On Friday Nadja accompanied the German guests on a guided tour. This included the visit of Alyosha, the imposing monument of the defenders of the polar region, and the first nuclear-powered icebreaker Lenin. In the afternoon, and on the following Saturday Eberhard Walz and Uli Schingen led a Caller Training and were supported by some of the German dancers.

Uli Schingen called at the anniversary celebration, and was supported by Eberhard Walz, with whom he called a great duet. Even the Russian callers Anna Mokhvina, Natalia Godorosha, Olga Lyutkevich from Murmansk, Nikolai Kuznetsov, Tatyana Antonova and Svetlana Markova from Petrozavodsk, Elena Nazarova from Pskov and Olga Kravchenko from Kaliningrad had the opportunity to demonstrate the progress they made. Svetlana Markova from Petrozavodsk accompanied with her beautiful, soft voice, Eberhard who was singing a patter call to a Russian folk song. What an experience!

During an longer break representives of different ethnical groups entertained us with traditional songs and dances (e.g. belly dancing). There was also a very funny sketch performed by the dancers from Murmansk in traditional Bavarian outfit to a song called "Isabella".

Since we got no permission by the officials to visit the town of Severmorsk, our hosts instantly organised a bus tour to the indigene tribe of Sami. This was highly appreciated by all participants.

On the last day before the German group had to leave we visited the Heritage Museum and the local aquarium.

(Ursula Kreis, GRSDF)

1st Graduation in Kaliningrad

Report to follow



Callers from Germany, Finnland, Sveden, Switzerland, Czech Republic and USA are supporting the new Square Dance movement in Russia

First of all we would like to name Kenny Reese who has devoted himself to square dance in Russia with great enthusiasm and remains both for Russian dancers and for us unforgettable. There were already two clubs in Petrozavodsk and in Pskov, when Kenny came for the first time to St. Petersburg. Finally the spark jumped over here too when the English teacher Svetlana Stern was willing to take over leadership. Kenny Reese had called the first Golden Autumn in 2008, a very remarkable special dance in St. Petersburg. Once again Kenny was planning a caller seminar in 2011, but his doctors didn't allow him the long journey. During Student Jamboree 2011 Kenny was still full of confidence, and even promised to call at the 10th Fundraiser special dance of the GRSDF. But fate decided otherwise. The GRSDF Association owes Kenny very much.

Uli Schingen is the next fan of Russia, who together with Moni feels like home at the first four clubs. No matter whether they come to the Polar Light Dancers in Murmansk, to the Onego Wave Dancers in Petrozavodsk, to the Sunday Smiling Squares in Pskov or to the Palace Square Dancers in St. Petersburg, they are loved by all and are one of them.

The third member in this party is Tomáš Machalík ftom Czech Republic, who travelled 2011 for the second time to Russia and visited there the clubs in Petrozavodsk, Pskov and St. Petersburg. Tomáš sent the GRSDF a report about his experiences. He thinks there is still much work to do in Russia.

We are aware of these problems and continue to work on solutions. The GRSDF Association was founded solely for this purpose.

Lothar Weidich and hie wife Uschi drove twice by car to Kaliningrad to support and to make progress with the new square dance group in the German-Russian House, which is led by Olga Kravchenko.

From USA caller coach Ken Ritucci is expected in 2012 for the second time in Russia. In 2009 he covered all expenses for two new collers, Elena Nazarova and Fedor Antonov, so that they could visit his school in the USA. Last year he also financed a considerable part of the expenses of his trip to St. Petersburg himself.

Jeannette Stäuble from Switherland followed his example and travelled to her caller student Alsu Alyusheva in Moscow and to have a Basic workshop and Basic graduation at the Moscow Red Squares there. The GRSDF are totally overwhelmed by the enormous commitment.

As a companion for the group tours to Russia we would like to mention the following callers: Martin Kromer (1993), Bernhard Schlipf (2002 & 2007), Johannes Pfeiffer (2004 & 2007), Volker Richter (2004), Volkmar Junge (2007), Michael Mühlhauer (2010) and Walter Derro (2011).

Hanna Tenenbaum, together with Mats Nilsson and Lars Olofsson from Sweden will visit Petrozavodsk and St. Petersburg in June, while Kaj Wikholm from Finland will call at the 3rd Golden Autumn in St. Petersburg in June this year. We wish to thank all these callers and to express them our deep appreciation. We hope we mentioned them all and didn't forgot anybody.

Last but not least we would like to mention Eberhard Walz, who travelled on behalf of square dance 30 times on own expense to Russia. He started learning calling back in 1994 for the sole purpose to introduce square dance in Russia. The road was long, but it was worth it! In June 2012 he finally was able to start in Kaliningrad, the former Königsberg, the 5th Russian club, The Koenigsberg Happy Cats. He was accompanied by some of his long time angels e.g. Dolly Weltin from Zurich, and Königsberg born Dora Christoffers Aurich.

(Traudel Walz for the 2012/06 issue of ECTA News)

We welcome our 100th member

In June 2012 we were happy to welcome Monika Moni Dotzauer as our 100th member.

Caller school in Petrozavodsk

At the proposal and initiative of Tatiana Antonova, the president of the Onego Wave Dancers, a caller school with Ken Ritucci was organised. Here is her report:


From September 20th to 23rd a caller school in Petrozavodsk took place. It was the third, after the first one in 2008 by Uli Schingen and in 2009 by Tomáš Doug Machalík (CZ). This time the coach was Ken Ritucci (USA), and 14 student callers from all Russian clubs came to Petrozavodsk.

Each day classes went on for 8 hours with a one hour dinner break and some coffee breaks in between.

The youngest caller was 14 year old Victor who has a beautiful voice and came from the youngest but very energetic and enthusiastic club in Kaliningrad. Two beginner callers Tatiana and Anatol from the same club were determined to learn the art of calling.

Callers Larisa and Sergei from St. Petersburg, Anna and Olga from Murmansk, and Svetlana, Nikolai, Sasha and Fedor from Petrozavodsk already knew each other quite well and had attended the previous seminars in Russia. Ken Ritucci appreciated the progress the more experienced callers made since the last year's caller school in St. Petersburg and the good understanding of the material by the all new callers.

We were all very happy to welcome Alsu, Natalia and the dancers from Moscow who visited our club for the very first time. Natasha said, she had a feeling as if something important was happening - the history of the Russian Square Dance reached an important step and we all witnessed it. Another important step in Russian square dance history will be the first square dance club in Moscow, which is the heart of Russia. We are all looking forward to it.

Today, after two weeks have passed and all emotions settled down I can say: Yes, that's true! The caller school was a big success!

Ken Ritucci's enthusiasm is infectious and he managed to create a very friendly, exciting and warm atmosphere thanks to his personality. It was not just a group of people learning together but a team of co-workers, forged together by a thread of friendship! This thread is the result of the efforts of all square dance instructors who have worked with Russian callers until now!

The round table talk showed that callers understood now they must work hard, and join their forces, and everybody felt honored when Ken Ritucci suggested to come back next year to continue teaching.

Looking back to 2006, when our club only danced to calls from CD's or records and see how things have changed, I can’t believe this can be true! With Fedor and Sasha we now have two callers who are doing pretty well, and with Svetlana and Nikolai we even have two more new callers whose progress is noticeable.

Now our life has become more interesting and we have fun at dance parties with guests from other Russian clubs. Our traditional Christmas Party is appreciated not only by our own dancers, but by many dancers from Murmansk and St. Petersburg too. On January 6th & 7th we had a Christmas party with caller Kaj Wikholm and 10 other dancers from Finland, who were joined by Russian dancers from St. Petersburg, Murmansk and Kaliningrad. In the end of June we danced to callers Hanna, Mats and Lars and with their dancers from Energy Squares and Sjobo Bears from Sweden, who on their way back home visited St. Petersburg and had a lot of fun there too!

Our two other traditional Dances are Maslennitsa Dance (week of pancakes) - of course with pancakes at the afterparty - and the World Dance Day at the end of April. On these days I always remember those who brought us this wonderful gift - Square Dancing! First of all I think of our German friends who did a great job by making great efforts, sharing their knowledge and investing their money to get us the idea of how people can live! I'm talking of GRSDF members Eberhard and Traudel Waltz, Ernst Schott, Oscar Bachsleitner, Karl-Udo Schreiber, Rolf and Gerlinde Mittendorf, Wolfgang Grätz, Ingrid and Lutz, Helmar Wolf, just to name a few, of callers who taught Sasha and Fedor at caller schools in Germany like Kenny Reese and Al Stevens, of Uli Schingen who was several times in Russia to help our callers, and I'm talking of David and Celia form UK and Betsy and Jim from the USA. I say: Thank You! to Walt Burr who helped my son to attend GSI caller school in England and to be taught by such brilliant teachers like Deborah and Jon Jones, Kenny Reese, Paul Bristow and Tony Oxendine. These lines are tribute to wonderful Martha Jaremko from Florida who did so much for providing Russian dancers with square dance attire and who I was happy to be friends through correspondence. I enjoyed her letters about Square Dance and her dancing experience very much.

Now our club, the Onego Wave Dancers, and Square Dance in Russia are approaching their 10th anniversary!

I do hope this caller school in Petrozavodsk in 2012 will be a benchmark for future caller schools and Russian callers in 2013 will be even more zealous and devoted to Square Dance than before!

Tatiana Antonova

President of the Onego Wave Dancers Petrozavodsk