Earlier this year, the Cultural Bridges Association began a collaboration with Kathryn Posin, Momchil Mladenov, The Suzanne Farrell Ballet, and the National Ballet of Bulgaria (Sara-Nora Krysteva, Artistic Director). The project was conceived by choreographer and Farrell Ballet Principal dancer Momchil Mladenov. Mladenov wished to return to his native country to bring examples of the finest footprint of American ballet that he has experienced in the ten years he has performed in the United States. The residency will include master classes to acquaint Bulgarian dancers with the style of american dance.
In preparation for the journey, Francis Eppes Professor of Dance, Suzanne Farrell brought her company from their home at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts to practice at Florida State University. While in Tallahassee, Farrell’s company members attended morning classes with students giving Florida State dancers the opportunity to engage and observe some of the world’s finest artists. “It was wonderful taking class alongside her dancers. They are all extremely talented professionals and I found it inspiring to dance with them,” said BFA student Shiloh Hodges.
Art can be a great ambassador and since American Ballet is not performed in Bulgaria, this is an opportunity to bridge the two cultures, said Momchil Mladenov. I received my initial ballet training in Bulgaria, and the technique, stamina and perseverance instilled in me in my home country allowed me to succeed in the American ballet world. Bulgaria is a country with a long-standing tradition in classical ballet: home to Varna International Ballet Competition since 1964 the first worldwide. I grew so much as a dancer working with Ms. Farrell and Ms. Posin, and I am thrilled to bring everyone together in my beloved home country. In the past 20 years this is by far the largest project of cultural exchange in ballet between the United States and Bulgaria.
Performances will take place at The Sofia National Theater for Opera and Ballet June 9-11, 2011. The repertoire includes Ms. Posin’s Stepping Stones, to music by Joan Tower, danced by the National Ballet of Bulgaria, followed by George Balanchine and Igor Stravinsky’s Agon, danced by The Suzanne Farrell Ballet, and Balanchine’s Divertimento Brillante to music by Glinka staged by Ms. Farrell and danced by principals from The Bulgarian National Ballet. The program will close with the world premiere of Mr. Mladenov’s Vardar Suite, with music by Pantcho Vladigerov performed by the Bulgarian National Ballet.