In this edition of People with Passion, we interview Staisy. She started dancing at a very young age but decided that cheerleading is her passion
Can you tell us a little more about yourself?
My name is Anastasiia but my friends call me Staisy. I am 23 years old and I am currently finishing my masters in Business Analytics and Quantitative Marketing. I arrived to the Netherlands from Russia 5 years ago for my double degree bachelor Econometrics / Economics. I love my university, my friends and Rotterdam! And I also love ice cream.
When did you start dancing?
I started dancing when I was 4 years old. There was not a day without dancing from that moment. Honestly said, I hated dancing when I was a child. Imagine yourself: all your friends go out to play and have fun. But you have to go to classes to have a quite serious lesson of classical ballet - it is tough enough for a child of 4-5 years old. But thanks to my mom, who used to be a dancer herself, I did not stop and got my second education in this field. Dancing opened me to a whole new world. Not only I was performing in my own country, but we also traveled around Europe! It was a great unforgettable experience. Moreover, I am a very shy person; I would even say an introvert. But when I dance, I have opportunity to be another version of myself - and I love it.
How did you transition from dancing to cheerleading?
When I graduated from my school, my time in my dance ensemble was also over. It was exactly the moment when one of my friends invited me to the biggest and most famous cheerleading team of Russia: Soul Sisters. I spent one year with them and developed pretty fast, learning new styles and new fields. I fell in love with the idea of cheering for sport teams and decided that this one will never disappear from my life. When I came to the Netherlands, I was looking for a cheerleading team here, in Rotterdam. But I did not find anything! I was upset and thought, "why not create my own one?" From this thought, everything started. I got in touch with the Erasmus Sport Center and started with the class called “Lady Style.” Unfotunately, I failed to create a performance team. Then, I decided to try with the class “Cheerleading.” I got attention from a lot of talented ladies. We worked hard, and it was not the easiest success. We tried to perform at various events, but the event which brought us stability became Feyenoord Basketball. After struggling so much, I am very happy and proud to say that thanks to patience of my fellow girls, their involvement and belief in me and in all of us, we became the official cheerleading team of Feyenoord Basketball.
What do you like and dislike about cheerleading?
I like the dynamics of it. It is a sport - it cannot stay stable, otherwise it will just disappear. It always needs to develop and grow. It is not only fun but also it helps to find new parts of your character, like becoming more outgoing and less shy. It puts you out of your comfort zone - and even though in the beginning it is hard, after a while you start enjoying it. Moreover, it trains your discipline, time management and simply nerves. Believe me - it takes a lot of effort to achieve the level with which you can perform.
How is the culture here in the Netherlands different than the one in Russia?
The culture is very different from the one I am used to in Russia. In Russia it is very normal to do some activities and be responsible not only for yourself, but also for the team. Sometimes I needed to sacrifice my own desires and fun time for the sake of performances or classes - and it was normal. However, here people live more with the idea of satisfaction from everything that they do. Not a lot of people find dancing a big deal and not a lot of people realize how important it is not to miss classes, spend extra time on personal training and etc. So to make it work, it takes time to make sure that people understand the responsibilities and dedication which should be given to make a cheerleading team work. It is far from easy.
Is cheerleading different from Econometrics. If yes, how?
It is different! For sure. How? I never thought about it. Maybe because it does not follow rules. Maybe because there is no strict plan or any type of hierarchy. Also a different type of thinking is applied here - more like a muscle memory rather than brain memory. There are also a lot of similarities though. In both of them there is a logic involved. In both cases you need to learn a lot of techniques and understand them to make dancing or models work. I find any sport a study and any study a sport. It takes a lot of energy in both cases. Both of those are tough on people morally and physically.
Can you easily combine cheerleading and studying Econometrics?
Can you easily combine eating and breathing? The same for me is dancing and studying. I cannot study without dancing. But I also cannot dance without studying. Combination of brain work and muscle work is so deeply in me that I simply cannot function when one of those is not present. It is difficult to manage time to have both successfully there. I mean I am in a relationship, I have some friends who I want to see, I have cheerleading, I have to study, I also have jobs - it is a lot, but I need all of these to feel alive. So time management, time management and once more time management!
What goals and ambitions do you have for your cheerleading team for the next 5 years?
As a captain I want to make Rotterdam Cheeleaders a performance team present in all the city sport events: Feyenoord Football, Excelsior football, Sparta, Feyenoord Basketball, Volleyball championship which is also sometimes held in Top Sport Center Rotterdam. There is a lot to achieve. But nothing of this is possible without new ladies, interested in dancing. We need to grow! So my first ultimate goal is to increase the amount of dancers!
Thank you Staisy for giving us an insight in the cheerleading and dancing world!