• Алёна Рыжак/Alena Ryzhak

Boris Rudenko "I paid full price for my success!"


In the kaleidoscope of styles, Ballroom Dance is one style that truly stands out. As a reminder: the birth place of ballroom dance is England. At the end of XVIII - the beginning of XIX century, ballroom dance was a privilege of the high society, an integral part of elitist balls. "Social adaptation" of ballroom dance occurred in the late XIX- early XX century, thanks to the middle class, attending public dance halls or "public assemblies".

The beginning of twenties of XX century was marked by development of competitions in different ballroom dances. Gradually ballroom dance gravitated beyond Europe, reaching Asia and America. In ballroom dancing a couple consists of a male and a female performing a dance with physical contact. Ballroom dance is split into two distinct styles : European (Standard) and Latin American (Latina).

Among the dances of the European style the Slow Waltz is considered to be the most elegant, however, the Viennese waltz and the Tango also have their fans. Two Foxtrots slow and fast ("Quick Step") in the Standard Style, formed in the XX century are also very popular. The Latin American program comprises of Samba, Rumba, Cha-cha-cha, Pasa Doble and Jive. Each of these dances has a rich history of development, in each of them there is a place for experimentation and improvisation. The growing popularity of ballroom dance all over the world inspires disputes about the essence of dancing. Is Ballroom Dancing an art, or is Ballroom Dancing a sport? Someone will choose one of these definitions, someone would list them with comma, and someone would find his own definition and will be right, because everyone has their own concept of dance. Boris Rudenko, a guest of the Spring Edition "Gorozhanka", has already found his own concept. Thoughout his dance career he entered numerous dance tournaments, with difficult but deserved victories, ups and downs...

- Boris, tell our readers about your background please.

- It all started not so fabulous, just the opposite: When I was ten years old, and I had already won some dance competitions, I had a serious spinal injury. I was bed bound in the hospital for about a year, and then doctors told me that it was necessary to part with dancing. But I am a stubborn man, by this time dance had become a part of me, and I began to fight for the right to dance. I lived then in Siberia, in Omsk. The recovery period lasted for several years, but in the end, I began to dance again and to perform successfully. Very soon I realized that I had outgrown the level provided by the province and began to aspire to go to Moscow. In the capital at that time a big dance-sport Studio "Russian Club" already existed, and still exists now. I was fifteen when I arrived in Moscow It was my biggest dream. I passed a huge casting and entered one of the most prestigious dance studios in the country. (I auditioned for one of the most prestigious dance studios in the country and was selected to dance with them!) The club was extremely selective , the instructors hand picked the best students. Since then my results have reached another level: I started to win very prestigious competitions. One of them, "Waltz of Victory", I remember especially vividly. I was at this competition, when I realized something that had a profound impact on my further development. It was shortly before my move to America. My father was busy and could not come, and my mother, for the first time in my Moscow period, still managed to come and support me. The competition lasted from eight in the morning until almost midnight. In the first round there were about 350 pairs. And there were no spectators to the finals in the rostrum. I won it! I remember standing with this victorious Cup happy and unhappy at the same time. Yes, this victory was a worthy reward for the great tension and hard work, but it turned out that my victory was not for everyone, even those whom I considered friends, did not come to shake my hand. I suddenly realized that the higher I climb, the smaller the number of people who can share the joy of victory with me. It was a bitter discovery, but it was then that I felt I wanted to dance no longer for my own result. I decided to start my coaching career. While learning the art of dance as a child, I was left with many unanswered questions. I did not understand some of the basics of theory, I wanted to thoroughly understand how it works. It was hard for me to learn from those teachers who didn't care if I understood their lessons. Probably, it was then that I had a desire not only to know and understand everything about the dance, but also, and most importantly, to be able to communicate my knowledge to others. There is an expression in dance: "Four left legs". It means, that the person, starting to dance, completely forgets, how to move, where to go and from what foot to begin. I set out to be able to explain to a person how easy and pleasant it is. I want a student to leave my lessons with a smile on their face. People often think that the art of dance is very difficult, and the biomechanics are fundamentally different from walking. Such a vision of dance puts a person in front of an insurmountable wall. In the initial lessons, my students are simply marching with music. Gradually they begin to catch the rhythm, begin to move freely and destroy this wall. I realized my purpose in teaching dance, I had found a harmony. Perhaps, it was a spiritual maturity: I became more realistic and appreciated what I have. I started looking for a way to pay for coaching lessons. I tried to learn myself, but it turned out that in Russia, at that time, there was no good literature on pedagogy of dance. Foreign sources regarding dance instruction were translated ineffectively. I tried to read. It was impossible for me to understand. It was a dead end. At that moment I decided to leave Russia. I was 19 years old. I lived for a while in Europe, Hong Kong and traveled a lot. One day, my good friend invited me to America, to his family business. I started working, I made my living, could develop and continue my dance career, and I was fulfilled. As a result of all sorts of flinging and thinking of where I would feel best, I came to Los Angeles. For a few months it was very difficult, but gradually I became adjusted, I got a job, and I became popular. About three years later I already had my own business, prosperity and stability.

- If you had a choice: to become a successful instructor, or a stable professional dancer, what would you choose?

- I danced for Russia, Ukraine, England, USA. But I moved away from competitions. The publicity is difficult for me, because by nature I am quite a private person. I like to help people to understand that it is possible to enjoy the dance. So, most likely, I'll choose a coaching path, being a successful instructor.While living in Los Angeles, I learned an important lesson. My friends had a small dance studio with children of all ages. They offered me to teach dance couples. They said literally: "Here are your boys, here are the girls. Connect them!” We made the first pair, the second, the third. Gradually we formed a group. They had some handmade costumes, I quickly helped them to work out the choreography and led them to the competition. I went to the competition, happy from the realization that, at last, the first steps were accomplished … then I found myself in a cold sweat! I was so enthusiastic about the process of training and formation of my dancers but had not given much thought to the make-up and costumes they wore: it looked very, very bad! I knew that soon the dance floor will be flooded by experienced dancers perfectly dressed and confident, and it will be a disappointment for my students! They were 8 to 11 years old, the eldest was 12. To prepare them somehow for what was about to happen, I gathered them near me and said: " Guys, there's nothing wrong with you,you're all wonderful..." I said so and saw that they were just happy and content with the fact that at last they performed, that I was at their side, and they did not care whether they won or not. At that moment I realized how much they believed in me.Over the next two years, they transformed, evened out, they obtained the right costumes. In general, we all worked hard and succeeded. I believe that American children have a somewhat unusual mentality. They are not particularly anxious to nurture their character and will to victory. They think that you can do a little bit of everything: a little bit of golf, a little bit of tennis, basketball, a little bit of singing, and dancing. If something goes wrong, you can quit and start doing something else. I had to spend a lot of time and effort to change this mindset and it worked! The children were really inspired to transform! In the beginning it was common practice for them to be late for training session and to begin to gather their belongings to go home 3-5 minutes before the end of the lesson, now they come half an hour before the start of classes, warmed up, and then stay after class

#ballroomdance #EuropeanStandard #LatinAmericanLatina #SlowWaltz #Tango #SambaRumbaChachacha #PasaDobleandJive #BorisRudenko #guestoftheSpringEditionGorozhanka

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