When I was young I danced in competitions quite successfully, winning a number of prestigious prizes. Then I trained couples for dance competitions. My couples won prizes as well. It was rewarding to see that new dancers became more advanced and sophisticated than our generation was. I was proud that I was a part of that progress. I also liked to teach beginner classes in dance schools. It is still amazing to me how people change when they learn dancing. All my life I saw these transformations from an ugly duckling into an amazing prince or princess. It happened in Russia, Scandinavia and Europe. This is what makes me continue with dance instruction here in the middle of the USA.
I started dancing relatively late for a professional. I was 17 years old, and I was in communist Russia. I loved dancing, but I loved the wrong style International Ballroom Dancing. It was the weapon of capitalism, and the Soviet government did not approve of it. So what did my partner and I do? We were stupid enough to sneak into the ballroom and to dance late at night when the guard was dozing at his station. Because it was a forbidden fruit, we did our best to become really, I mean really, really good. However, we were watched. When the time came to send somebody to the international competition in Germany, the authorities miraculously found us and a few others, gave us an intensive training that almost destroyed our abilities to perform and put us on a train to Germany supervised by a communist party representative who called himself the cultural attaché. The whole trip was paid for by the government, supported ideologically by the communist party and even our pocket expenses were paid from the state funds. From bad sheep sucked into the dirty western culture we were turned over night into the noble representatives of the people. We were proud, did our best and took second and third places in the final competitions. Wow the Germans and other capitalists were surprised. We came back to Russia to celebrate, but the attitude of our beloved country had changed. The cultural attaché lost his position and disappeared. We in turn were smart to pretend that we were never, never, never in Germany and of course had no idea how to dance the cha-cha-cha. The game was accepted. Nothing happened to us.
What did my partner and I do after that? Did I mention that we were stupid? Well, we continued to dance. Indeed, the changing times helped us. The authorities still did not approve of the international style but did not suppress us anymore. They simply didnt see us. We were publicly invisible but very much alive and dancing. Slowly, dance competitions emerged. Some kind of pseudo-international style crept into Russia and started to eat at the souls and minds of the Russian youth. What a time! We were competing, winning, loosing, and winning again. We danced several hours a day and were happy. It was the beginning of my dance career I have been enjoying for over 50 years now. Sharing a joy of dance is a wonderful experience. You are very welcome to join us.