Anelia Yaneva

 

The twelfth edition of Bulgaria Dancing competition was held in the town of Dimitrovgrad, attracting non-professional and professional ballet schools alike such as the National School of Dance Art, Sofia; the National School of Arts, Ruse; the National School of Music and Performing Arts, Burgas. Students of a total of 29 ballet and dance institutions and groups from across Bulgaria took part in it. The hosts presented a performance by two groups, Galaxico Dance Centre and AM Dance school of contemporary dance, dedicated to the seventieth anniversary of the city, which received a Special Mention for staging. Tangra Dancesport Club, Tangra Dance Organization and Allegro Ballet School from Haskovo were worthy rivals. The audience enjoyed the performance of four Stara Zagora-based dance schools: Fairy Ballet School, DS Caribe, Caprice Jazz Ballet and Magic Wings. The kids from Era Ballet led by Kremena Shopova and Musical Theatre led by Nikolay Serafimov were the most impressive among the participants from Plovdiv. Stylish, pretty musical, but also sensibly rich in content were the dances of Tinity Ballet, Star Children and Star Rainbow from Varna. Keran Kostadinov and Neda Teneva from Tinity Ballet won their awards owing to their stylish and technically excellent performance in the field of contemporary choreography with interesting acrobatic lifts and supported balances, presented tastefully and without accentuating their technical skills. They have achieved a very good symbiosis making impressive duets. A group from Varna-based Father Paisius primary school also competed, while Sliven, Svilengrad, Kazanluk, Razgrad, Pazardjik and Mezdra participated with one dance school per city. Unfortunately, there were confusions about the same names: Gracia Ballet School, Gorna Oriahovitsa and Gracia Ballet & Dance Centre, Kazanluk. Even several national institutions from Sofia joined the competition: the National School of Dance Art, Sofia; Masha Ilieva Ballet School; Biser Ballet & Dance School.

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According to the regulations, participants were divided into four age groups: aged under 7, aged under 10, aged under 13 and aged under 18. Several categories were covered: classical dances, character dances, and contemporary dances. Bulgarian traditional dances and street dances were not included, but there were many productions featuring contemporary versions of Bulgarian folk dances and elements of hip-hop occurred in many of the competing contemporary choreographies.

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It is, of course, impossible to compare the kids from the professional schools training on a daily basis with those from the private, municipal or community centres’ groups, who are coached once or twice a week. Yet, there was something really admirable onstage about the enthusiasm and devotedness of the latter. Besides, the prize fund allowed for encouraging even the smallest achievement. Moreover, the students at the National School of Dance Art, Sofia are unrivalled in the field of classical dances, but when it comes to contemporary choreography they more often than not do not equal the more technically skilled performance of the rest of the contestants. Generally, the competition allowed the participation of sports, contortion and acrobatic schools whose effects were compelling, but at times the backbends, cartwheels and splits woven into the choreographic material had a sense of déjà vu.

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Apart from the traditional first, second and third prizes, the prize fund had also nine grants for one-year training or three grants per category: classical dances, character dances, and contemporary dances. It would be beneficial, of course, if the grants were extended to involve not only the fourth age group, bust also at leas the third age group. More prizes were awarded such as books and certificates and the youngest participant received an enormous cake.

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Bulgaria Dancing is possibly the sole competition in this country not charging a participation fee and funded almost entirely by the municipality of Dimitrovgrad. The Ministry of Culture also provided funding for the event, which is of paramount importance.

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