The Bulgarian folk-dance ensemble Zharava was established in January, 2007. Within its first six months, the group gathered more than 20 enthusiastic members, including natives of Bulgaria, Russia and the U.S. The fire in each member’s heart is implied by the group’s name: Zharava – ‘burning embers.’
Zharava’s mission is to preserve the rich Bulgarian folk-dance tradition, and to enhance the awareness of Bulgarian folk arts (including dance, music, song and rhythm) throughout the U.S. and the world. The Artistic Director of Zharava is a longtime professional folk dance instructor and choreographer, Desi Jordanoff. The organization aims to advance its mission through performance and participation in dance and music festivals, through delivering training and workshops, through organizing student performances, and through holding recreational dance events. With all these activities, Zharava tries to educate people and create community through the experience of Bulgarian folklore. Zharava workshops include selections from the rich dance styles belonging to all ethnographically defined regions of Bulgaria.
Today, Zharava already has gathered 85 members and continues to attract more new students. 55 members are actively participating in the ensemble’s training classes and their number grows consistently. All current members are organized in three tiers: beginners, intermediate and advanced (performing group). All three groups have been exposed to different levels of difficulty and follow three specific tracks of training to learn the particular dance styles, techniques, and rhythms of individual ethnographic regions of Bulgaria. Zharava’s advanced group consists of a strong core of dancers, who have advanced through vigorous training during the past seven years. These core dancers form the ensembles performing group, which demonstrates the color, rhythm and dance mastery to the community. Part of Zharava’s training incorporates traditional dances from all ethnographic regions of Bulgaria. The curriculum also includes studying authentic folk traditions brought from villages in Bulgaria and workshops in costume design.