“Talent is an ability that is achieved through practice,” says dancer and break dance coach Aleksei Shchechkin about well-known projects and trends in breakdance.

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Aleksei Shchechkin first became passionate about dancing when he was still a teenager, dancing on the streets of his hometown. Today, he is a co-founder of a dance school, a member of the Dance Sport Federation of the Kostroma Region, and a member of the exclusive club of entrepreneurs, the 500 Club. He shared with us his search for inspiration, industry trends, and the most memorable projects throughout his career.

Aleksei, today you are a talented dancer and break dance coach. Where do you draw inspiration for your work?

Talent is an ability that is achieved through practice. Discipline, a creative approach, and beneficial habits contribute to this.

In terms of discipline, time management has been instrumental for me. I set goals, break them down into tasks, and plan time for their completion. This helps me stay on track, keep moving forward, and develop. Dance has played a significant role in fostering discipline. Similar to how I learned and practiced complex dance moves, even when it was challenging, I eventually mastered them. The same applies to teaching and business. If you continuously train yourself, educate others, manage an organization, and do so consistently and systematically, success will follow.

To maintain a creative approach, I strive to accomplish tasks, when appropriate, in unconventional ways, experimenting to prevent similar and repetitive actions from turning into monotonous routines. I believe that creativity can be added to any task. Even something as simple as playing mood-appropriate music can make a difference. Besides working with children at the school, I spend a lot of time on computer projects, and in those moments, I also play music to enhance focus and create a thoughtful atmosphere. By infusing creativity into discipline, work becomes more interesting, enthusiasm and flexible thinking emerge, and ultimately, success follows.

Beneficial habits are essential for vitality, strength, and energy. Every day, I take contrast showers in the morning and stand on special boards with nails, which relieve psycho-emotional tension, clear the mind, and promote overall well-being. I maintain a healthy diet, partly due to my wife being a nutritionist.

As for inspiration and motivation, these guys often have weekends, vacations, and even breaks, unfortunately, they don’t work every day. But when they come to visit you, you realize that you are happy because you are truly engaged in the right, beloved work.

What industry trends would you, as an expert, highlight?

To be honest, there are quite a few, and I’ll try to pinpoint the most prominent ones:

1. Breakdance is getting younger.

There’s a trend of children starting breakdancing at an earlier age. While the average age of students used to be 12-14 years old, now it’s 4-6 years old. Parents recognize the physical benefits of dancers having strong, toned bodies, and they want their children to be robust and healthy, especially considering the challenges some kids face with discipline and physical development due to an excess of entertaining content.

2. Emergence of new complex dance elements.

Kids find it easier to learn breakdancing: they are nimble, and as they grow stronger, they become capable of executing even the most challenging elements. This has led to the development of new movement combinations, such as spins on all parts of the body, which adults couldn’t perform before, or entirely new complex elements.

3. The bar is raised.

With the introduction of new complex elements, the level of skill required is escalating. To claim the title of the best dancer, one must both feel the music and execute intricate combinations. In the past, dancers borrowed movements from gymnasts; now, it’s the other way around, with gymnasts incorporating moves from breakdance. Breakdance has always been spectacular, but now it has reached an unimaginable level, growing every year. Where’s the limit? There is none.

4. Anyone can learn breakdance.

It’s heartening to see that people with disabilities are also taking up breakdancing, with an increasing number participating in competitions. They confidently compete with regular dancers and often emerge victorious, setting an example for those in similar life situations. This is highly inspiring and unifying for everyone involved.

5. Breakdance can lead to fame and earnings.

Previously, to earn money through breakdance, one would either perform on the streets, open a school, or participate in commercial performances and music videos. While that’s great, you had to choose between a career as a dancer or as a coach or performing artist. Now, you can dedicate yourself solely to dancing, build a career, and earn a living: receive fees for winning competitions, find sponsors investing in you as a brand ambassador, conduct masterclasses worldwide, and even become a global star at the Olympic Games.

You have been involved in organizing international dance festivals “Testo” and “Yolka,” which annually bring together dancers from Russia, the CIS, and Europe, attracting around 2000 spectators and 300 participants. Could you provide more details about your role as a leader and the significance of these projects for the industry?

Our major projects are executed through teamwork, where each member has a distinct role. Initially, we collectively discuss the idea, with everyone contributing their thoughts. As the leader, I take on the responsibility of identifying and selecting valuable suggestions and then initiate the workflow.

I enjoy negotiating with partners, working on spreadsheets, creating commercial proposals, handling internal organizational aspects. For instance, securing a venue for the event, assigning tasks to contractors, organizing the logistics of the team, and estimating the budget.

I find it crucial to pay attention to every detail: making it convenient for the audience, ensuring participants don’t have to wait long for their category, organizing registration to eliminate queues, and so forth.

My role as an advocate for the “breakdance” brand is to attract as much attention as possible to our activities. This involves not only bringing in numerous students to my school but also ensuring that fellow schools, partners, and like-minded individuals in other cities and countries also have a thriving student base.

As someone who simply dances breakdance, my goal is to be an example to emulate for both my children and the children of parents who witness my performances.

The activities and projects I engage in, alongside my team, aim to bring happiness and health to people through breakdance.

Aleksei, you are also a member of the closed entrepreneurs’ club “500.” Could you elaborate on the membership conditions and what it means for you as a professional?

Dancers boast about their dance achievements among fellow dancers, compete, joke, and engage in conversations on common themes, thus becoming part of their dance communities. In the entrepreneurial environment, it’s quite similar, but instead of dance achievements, it’s about financial results. As I am not only a dancer but also the head of a dance school—essentially a business and entrepreneurship in the social sphere—I also showcase financial results. For example, being an ambassador for the national project “My Business” and winning various business competitions with our school, which has around 1000 students, demonstrates solid growth and financial performance. It’s these achievements that allowed me to become a member of this entrepreneurs’ club. Being in such an environment is like being among powerful individuals. There are no barriers in front of them, only tasks to accomplish. Membership in this club provides opportunities to establish valuable connections, partnerships, and mutually beneficial collaborations.

Among entrepreneurs, there are many creative individuals who approach problem-solving in unconventional ways, allowing me to learn about business from such people.

What is the most valuable and essential aspect of your work? Where do you focus when things get tough?

The most valuable and essential aspect for me is when you can influence the world through your healthy example, students, team, projects, and bring benefits by attracting more and more children, teenagers, and adults into the ranks of cool and interested dancers.

When I feel completely exhausted, the best way for me is to change the environment and take a break.

If a vacation doesn’t help gather strength and accomplish something challenging, something that seems insurmountable, I seek advice from different people, aiming for diverse perspectives. There are always those who have tackled similar issues in unconventional ways. Sometimes, I abandon an idea because it’s not yet the right time for its implementation.

A piece of advice I always give people in such situations: if everything is going wrong, you lack motivation and energy, maybe it’s time to engage in breakdance and surround yourself with creative people?

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