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.


Zharava performing at the GWU Lisner Auditorium in Washington, DC.

The Founder and the Artistic Director of Zharava, Desi Jordanoff, is a longtime professional folk dance performer, instructor, choreographer and director of folk dance groups. Her vision and goal was to advance the mission of Zharava through performances and participation in dance and music festivals and through delivering training and workshops, organizing student performances, and holding recreational dance events.

The first enthusiastic gatherings of the Bulgarian folk-dance ensemble Zharava were in December of 2006, but the group’s official launch was in January of 2007. Within its first six months, the group gathered more than 20 enthusiastic members, including natives of Bulgaria, Russia and the U.S. Very young, Zharava actively performed and participated in many events and delivered performances even without the depth of knowledge and skill gained during the following 10 years.

The fire in each member’s heart is implied by the group’s name: Zharava – ‘burning embers.’

Today Zharava is an established cultural institution, a signature establishment of the Bulgarian Culture and mainly an incubator for future cultural art developments.

With all its activities, Zharava educates people and creates community through the experience of Bulgarian folklore dance.

Today, Zharava already has gathered more than 100 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 ensemble’s performing group, which demonstrates the color, rhythm and dance mastery to the community.

Zharava’s training incorporates traditional dances from all ethnographic regions of Bulgaria and authentic folk traditions brought from villages in Bulgaria and workshops in costume design.