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Theme Bulgarian folklore
User annatravali
Date 07.05.2007 05:21 Reply
Text I am an Australian who has been living in Sofia, Bulgaria, for the past five years. During this time, I've been completely absorbed in the dancing, singing and music of the country. I have been learning folkdances from the Shoppian, Thracian, Pirin, Dobruzhda and northern Bulgaria regions, all of which differ considerably in their styles. As well as learning circle dances I dance with Zornitsa, a students' ensemble where choregraphed dances for the stage are taught and which tours abroad each summer for festivals. It is very rewarding to be surrounded by so much folklore and to go to concerts held in Sofia and throughout the country. Many ensembles perform their different repertoires and the beautiful costumes from the various areas add to the colour and movement on the stages. As well, national and international festivals are held in Bulgaria and it is very interesting to see dances etc. from other countries.
I've also participated in five workshops organised by Balkanfolk organisation. These workshops are held every summer and one can learn Bulgarian dancing, singing, musical instruments and language, also, dances and instruments from other Balkan countries such as Serbia and Romania. It's also possible to come not as a participant but to enjoy a holiday in Bulgaria and have fun with people who arrive from countries from around the world.
This is just a brief outline of the fascinating culture of Bulgaria. It's not only the arts which I find interesting but also the customs which date back many centuries. For instance, special fests for saints' days, exchanging red and white tassles called martenica on March 1st with one's friends, for good health and luck...and so the list goes on.
What are you doing? Dancing, singing, learning an instrument? I would be very interested to hear about your involvement and what happens in your country. It would be great if you could write, there are so many different cultures that it's exciting to hear what goes on in other lands.
Thanks and hope to hear from you soon.
Anna Travali


nedret
13.05.2007 09:23
Re: Bulgarian folklore [Re: Bulgarian folklore]

It was very pleasant to read that an Australian living in Bulgaria dances in Bulgarian folk ensemble.

How did you decide to come to Bulgaria and where did you first got in touch with the Bulgarian folklore?
Reply
annatravali
15.05.2007 02:43
Re: Re: Bulgarian folklore [Re: Re: Bulgarian folklore]

It's nice to hear from you, Nedret.
I was with a group in Australia for a year. We learnt international dances including some from the Balkans but not many from Bulgaria. The teacher of the group read on the internet about Balkanfolk organisation arranging a seminar every summer, then we were in touch with an Australian who had been and spoke highly of the workshop. So we came and spent two weeks at the workshop and I was so impressed with the country, the people, the dances, music etc. that after returning to Australia, I came back here to learn more about the culture.
Reply
phatkitty
09.04.2008 09:31
Re: Re: Re: Bulgarian folklore [Re: Re: Re: Bulgarian folklore]

Hi, Anna,

I have had a fascination with Bulgarian folklore for many years, and I have to admit you are doing something I would very much like to do, that is, study folklore in Bulgaria. How long did it take you to learn the language and what do you do for a living there?

I live in the United States, and very few people in this country (except for folk dancers) even know Bulgaria exists.

I dance with an informal group (we don't perform, just do it for fun) and much of our repetoire is from Eastern Europe.

Thirty years ago I lived in Germany and visited many European countries but my husband was in a sensitive occupation (U.S. military) so we never went beyond the "iron curtain" as it was called in those days.

Hopefully when I retire I'll be able to visit Bulgaria and find out what it's all about. :)
Reply
annatravali
10.04.2008 10:47
Re: Re: Re: Re: Bulgarian folklore [Re: Re: Re: Re: Bulgarian folklore]

Hello phatkitty,
Thanks for your message, it's great to hear you are dancing with a group in the United States. What is the name of the group?
I must admit I am not very clever with languages and therefore my Bulgarian is very poor. My excuse is that in the beginning I was too busy learning the dances and now more and more people are wanting to learn/practise English!
I sometimes help people with their English and from time to time speak with students at an English language school.
The Balkanfolk seminar is a great way to get a real feel of Bulgarian dancing, it's a pity you couldn't come this year with perhaps some from your group. Anyway, I hope you get a chance to visit Bulgaria one day.
Meantime, happy dancing!
Reply
phatkitty
11.04.2008 22:28
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Bulgarian folklore [Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Bulgarian folklore]

Hello, Anna,

How long ago did you get involved in folk dancing when you lived in Australia?

The group I dance with doesn't have a formal name, but we meet on Fridays in Amherst, Massachusetts. Like I mentioned, we don't perform, but do it for recreation, however, some of the dancers have formed a band that plays the first Friday of every month. They call themselves Panharmonium. As far as I know, none of them have been to the Balkanfolk seminar. I don't think it's much publicized in the United States. I haven't seen any flyers at the dances. I found this web site by accident while surfing the "net" one day.

When I lived in New York I went to a few dance seminars with teachers who had been to or were from Eastern Europe and it was a great experience. To really learn the dances, the best thing is to visit the country that they're from, and you are very fortunate to do this.

I won't be able to make the Balkanfolk seminar for a few years but would love to go in the future.

In the meantime, I would love to chat with other people who have an interest in Bulgarian folklore :)








Reply
annatravali
14.04.2008 16:05
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Bulgarian folklore [Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Bulgarian folklore]

Hello phatkitty,
I danced with an international folkdancing group in Queensland, Australia, for about 6 months in 1992-93 then moved away but rejoined in 2000. So I hadn't been dancing very long when I came to Bulgaria.
Thanks for the info re your group....it's nice you also have a band. Dancers from different towns in the U.S. have come to Balkanfolk over the years but the advertising seems to be more by way of mouth. So.....if you can spread the word to other groups with which you are in touch, that would be great.
I agree that it's an invaluable experience to learn the dances in the country of origin. I feel very privileged to be able to do this.
Hopefully more people will read Forum and you'll be able to chat with others interested in Bulgarian folklore.
Reply
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