Loretta Dimitrova tells us about the projects with Art of Living Foundation:
Two thousand Bulgarians weave a Bulgarian horo dance on Berlin’s Olympic Stadium.
When I accepted to work on the project “Berlin 2011”, I knew nothing about the people who would participate. So far I had worked only with Elitsa Todorova and Stoyan Yankulov on a few of their compositions, and I thought it would be something similar, moreover we had already prepared a choreography on their song Water.
I asked about the people who would dance together with my cast of dancers, where they came from, their number, and how much time we had for preparation. The organizers Krassimir Benyamin and Konstantin Dragov told me they would be around 1800 to 2000, that most of them were not dancers, that they would come from some twenty cities of Bulgaria, and that we had five weeks. I thought they were joking. My response and that of my partner and husband Angel Bobev was /which they still keep reminding me/ “This is impossible!” And they answered back “There is nothing impossible!”
I went home, did not sleep that night, and I told myself those folks were out of their mind, and could not possibly know what they were talking about! However, my mind started drawing virtual schemes. By the next day I had already scribbled some plans in my notebook. Angel was still resisting the idea, but bit by bit he became engaged with my ideas. Of course, some of them were discarded right away – they were so ambitious that I myself could not accept them. We said to ourselves, we need something simple, understandable for all, music, which all can hear and like.
There followed a few working meetings with Eli, the music was cleared, our choreography on stage with Lira Dance dancers was not hard for me to do. But then, how could we train the dancers-to-be on the stadium? Where could we do that? Angel, who has some experience with the military, said “This can be done only with military discipline, you teach your leaders!” Well, who could do the job, I was thinking, and I thought of Lira Dance dancers again. At least I had worked with them and knew their skills, and I was able to communicate the idea to them and to rehearse it.
So, we chose some twenty girls and boys, drew the scheme, walked through the whole route, rehearsed in parks and open spaces, paparazzi photographed Elitsa, kids were swarming around, she giving autographs, I was measuring and counting time and space, and Angel was giving commands to all. It was an exhilarating experience! Amusing, unusual, but also a great responsibility.
So far so good, but…how can we plan when we did not have contact with the participants? I prepared two scripts – one for the big horo dance and one for the dancers on stage, and I asked for the scripts to be posted inside all travelling busses for the event. I was not permitted to travel, for I was pregnant in the eighth month, and my other child was just a year and a half old. Angel had to cope by himself there.
What happened then? – well, see for yourselves in the documentary “Asega dream”, , for whose filming we are thankful to Smilen Savov. Rehearsals at gas stations from bus to bus, trainings, instructions, some got them the first time at the stadium. All the time I felt uncertain we would succeed to do that.
I turned on my laptop on the day of the performance and watched online, with also tens of TV channels showing it as well. I watched the choreographies of the other countries, some were excellent, and I was feverishly expecting to see our performance. You know what happened then – the skies poured down on that day, just like “Water” as we danced it, and the stadium was roaring in ecstasy during our performance. It was a Day to remember for every Bulgarian on the stadium then. Elitsa was superb, and the people in the great horo dance were brimming with happiness and patriotic feelings.
At that moment I came to believe in miracles!
Two hundred Bulgarians will dance on stage at a high-profile event in India. Hosted on the world’s largest floating 7 acres stage, 3.75 million people from 155 countries, 3000 prominent dignitaries, 36’603 artists and 1.8 billion people watched on the live telecast of the event from 767’463 locations across 188 countries.
Five years later, I have the privilege to work on an interesting project of the Art of Living Foundation. “Work” is not the best term to describe what we are doing together. It is a wonderful challenge, where your creativity opens up with intensity and desire. The project is clearer this time, and I already know the people. I know there are no limits for them. I know success goes with them because they are clean in their thoughts and will do what it takes with heart and energy. No commercialism, not questions about budgets, but they will just go out there, open their souls and do it. This is how only they can do it, with belief and smile!
And here are some technical details “from the kitchen”..
World Culture Festival in Delhi happens on the occasion of 35 years from the creation of Art of Living Foundation and will gather 3.5 million audiences from over 150 countries. . Bulgaria is the only European country and one of the 15 chosen to perform on stage. World leaders and spiritual leaders will be present at the festival, and among the celebrities are also Shankira and Brian Adams. The stage will be in the form of an eye, 372 meters long.
The Bulgarian company will present shopski dance “Kopche” on folklore music, by Balkanfolk, choreography by Loretta Dimitrova, and Dunavsko horo on music by Diko Iliev.
During the gala, a part of the Bulgarian group will dance polonaise, together with a few other countries, which assignment we received from India. I had to weave into it Bulgarian elements. In our polonaise ladies will wear a lovely Bulgarian rose, a symbol of our country, which will be elegantly presented to them by the gentlemen, and will finish in the form of traditional Bulgarian horo. The polonaise turned out quite lovely, even though we were short of one gentleman at the rehearsals. In the day of the dress rehearsal that missing gentleman appeared. Moreover, his height fits perfectly his position in the ensemble, and it took him literally half an hour to get into the dance. Do I wonder? Well, no! I would wonder if things were not running as they should for these projects. There it is as if everything is called on the happen, and as Krassi told me “Get used to that, for it is how it happens with us, as we send out a lot of positive energy.”.
We also rehearsed an Indian dance, which will be danced by all countries, as a gesture to the hosts. It is a contemporarychoreography, based on movements, characteristic of northern India classical dance Kathak. The music was composed especially for this occasion. As I already said, miracles don’t happen, a good friend of mine called me – Maya Zhalova – Bulgarian, who studies classical choreography in India, and with whom we have not met or talked for 8 years. Maya and I got acquainted in 2007. Then we also were leaving for India with Lira Dance and I had the task to make a Caribbean dance with Indian mudras on music by Aventura, written for the Indian state of Punjab. I looked for a specialist for consultant, and I came upon lovely Maya. Our dance Punjab was covered by all regional media of Northern India, and in Bulgaria it won third place prize in the category “Character dance” in the competition Grand Dance Prix of Sofia in 2010. Maya told me that she would fly from America to participate in India’s choreography, prepared for the festival by Saroja Vaidyanathan, and we would meet again on Indian stage. She promised to help us with the final choreography. What more will we do together… the future will show.
What more can I say?
Maybe that for all dances we had but just 5 rehearsals in Sofia, , and the other cities we trained with video recordings. Here is the place to thank the people from Lira Dance, who stood by me unwaveringly – Angel Bobev and the dancers Mihaela Vlaseva, Donka Mihaylova and Magdalena Kirilova.
Maybe also that the event happens on a voluntary basis, and every participant covers their own expenses themselves.
And maybe also that we learned a lot of the beautiful Bulgarian folklore dress from Zdravka Dzhoreva-Peneva from the ensemble Bistrica and Margarita Nedkova. Thanks to their advice every participant chose, and some even sewed, their own dresses.
And why not that 200 Bulgarians have learned well to dance our lovely Dunavsko horo, and some of them will do it for the first time on the world stage in India.
Now I am calmer. I know that what’s to come will come! Even during the rehearsals we got signs that we were going in the right direction by some little “miracles”.
So, wish us good health and success! We hope to justify your trust. Finally, I began reading a very interesting book, brought to me by our dancers from Berlin – “Celebrate silence”, in which there is a lot of wisdom, and so I’d like to end with this wonderful sentence:
“Everything which helps you to be unconditionally happy and loving is spirituality.”
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar