Today, we are talking to the President of the Dance Federation of Nizhny Novgorod, the organizer of the Volga Champ Dance Championship – one of the largest championships in Russia, co-author of the All-Russian Dance Award “Vosmerka,” and the producer and organizer of the Volga Production Center – Julia Baybik.
Topbrand Magazine: Julia, your creative journey is truly impressive. You organize large-scale events such as championships, camps in your hometown of Nizhny Novgorod, and a dance award in Moscow, all of which have a significant impact on the dance culture in our country. Could you tell us how it all began?
Well, it probably all started when I, as an adult, discovered contemporary dance. I remember the realization that one could dance not just to a beat but to the music, expressing every sound, vocalization with their body… I immediately wanted to learn. At that time, Nizhny had only show dance groups, so I got a U.S. visa and flew to study at the Broadway Dance Center in New York. It was, if I’m not mistaken, in 2008, and I spent part of the summer there. The following summer, I stayed there entirely. I discovered many world-renowned dancers, attended Broadway shows, performances, circuses… basically, anything I could get into.
That’s when I realized I wanted to bring this knowledge and emotions back to my hometown and someday create something just as grand and powerful.
Topbrand Magazine: The main focus of your Federation’s activities is professional dance education. However, its activities now unite the entire Russian dance community. Can you share the story of its development?
In 2009, I didn’t just go to the Broadway Dance Center in New York, I enrolled in their summer program for foreign students. Three months of classes, 20 classes every week, and I improved significantly, as we usually say. I had been teaching dance since I was 15, but here, I didn’t just want to teach; I wanted to create a community of dancers who would develop contemporary dance in our city.
So, upon my return, I registered a legal entity – the Federation of Sport Dances Dance-Cool and opened about five sections in different areas of the city. From there, we just kept expanding. Children and teenagers liked our ideology; parents appreciated that we organized recitals, mini-competitions, and most importantly, our kids learned to dance quickly, developed, and understood the sense of victory in dance.
One day, we decided to host a championship for our already 30 dance groups. Each group was essentially a team; they trained for a whole year, and it seemed natural to compete for the top spot at the end of the dance season. That’s how Volga Champ was born. 30 of our collectives and a local, seemingly inconspicuous championship. It was a turning point. We traveled a lot abroad and met leaders in the dance industry worldwide. One day, we decided to make it a nationwide championship and brought in foreign judges. That’s how it all started.
Topbrand Magazine: Tell us about the “Vosmerka” Dance Award and your role in it.
During a winter trip to Bali, we met a creative producer from the TV show “Dancing on TNT,” and he suggested creating a dance award. We worked hard for several months, and the full video version is set to premiere soon. It was an incredible experience, the best team, and an entirely new level of dance event, excluding TV projects. The next dance award will be on June 2, 2024, in Moscow.
Topbrand Magazine: How did you get into marketing, being a creative person?
I studied economics, so marketing was a mandatory subject for me. Anything related to the creative side came naturally to me, and marketing, essentially, is about creativity. Creating a product that people need, figuring out how to convey its value to them – that’s pure creativity.
I enjoyed finding the strengths in any of my projects and devised strategies to promote them, which ultimately led to success. Now all our projects are sold out. I feel a deep sense of gratitude for my journey; everything fell into place as it should. It seemed like a non-prestigious education turned into my superpower.
I continue to learn constantly, online. For the past three years, I’ve been immersed in learning, where practice is my favorite activity. It’s hard to call it work. Life is an amazing thing!
Topbrand Magazine: How do you manage to create such successful projects that resonate throughout the country?
I think it’s a partnership of two minds: mine and Eugene’s, my husband. We now work together on all our projects, and he’s incredibly talented. Together, we’re creating a dance history, and it’s not just about projects anymore.
He’s the one who taught me to think on such a grand scale. I would never have had the courage on my own. He’s a true dreamer, and I’m more of a strategist.
Every project starts with an idea. His idea has always been to make a nationwide impact.
From there, all we had to do was what we love immensely, and do it while adhering to our main principles:
- We are our people, our dancers. Without them, none of our projects would work.
- One love – dance. It’s about us and our people dancing because we love to dance above all else. This feeling needs to be cherished and preserved, not allowing routine to destroy it. Everything else is just icing on the cake.
- Dancers for dancers. We create what dancers deserve: a good stage, quality sound, and respectful treatment of their art.
That’s it. Simple human things, one dreamer, and me. I believe that’s our secret.
Topbrand Magazine: What other area currently captures your attention, time, and heart?
Right now, I’m developing my production center, which provides online dance and sports education. I see a bright future in this without territorial boundaries. I’m working with the top dancers in our country and helping them promote their passion. It’s a global project, so 50% of my attention is focused there.
Topbrand Magazine: A strong businesswoman, talented dancer, young mother, coach, marketer, organizer of nationwide events, producer, creator of masterclasses, and actively involved in sports – you not only manage everything but excel at it. Can you share the secret of your success?
I’m still learning this, balancing between family and work. Sometimes it gets stormy, but we choose our path and accept that any path comes with difficulties along the way.
The key is to do what you love. Only love can make you endure anything in tough times.