National Ballet Sofia
National Ballet Sofia celebrates its 80th anniversary. The first professional Bulgarian ballet performance, Coppelia, set by Atanas Petrov, was given on February 22, 1928. This date is considered the founding date of the National Ballet Company, part of the National Opera Company since its establishment. Through the years of its development, the National Ballet has recorded a number of memorable triumphs, recognized in the enthusiastic reviews and commentaries by the most uncompromising judge - the world critics.
Ever since its first steps the Bulgarian ballet searched to fuse the Russian classical school and the German expressive dance movement. And while Atanas Petrov presented its reading of the classical ballet works Coppйlia, Chopiniana, Raymonda, Die Puppenfee (The Fairy Doll), Giselle, Swan Lake, Esmeralda, as well as the first performance on a national theme Zmey i Yana (Dragon and Yana) by Hristo Manolov /1937/, during this period the remarkable adherent to the German expressive dance movement - Mariya Dimova, found a new way to construe Bulgarian folklore in her productions of Nestinarka by Marin Goleminov /1942/ and German by Filip Kutev.
After 1945 the influence of the Russian classical school increased. Even ballets on national themes were choreographed by foreign, mostly Russian choreographers.
The trends of maintaining and developing the classical repertoire on one part combined with the creation of new modern works on another still continue today. Together with Giselle, The Sleeping Beauty, Swan lake, Chopiniana, Paquita, La Sylphyde, Don Quixote, a number of world known masterpieces were included in the repertoire of the National Ballet, such as Romeo and Juliet /choreography by Oleg Vinogradov/, The Tale of the Stone Flower and The Nutcracker /choreography by Yuriy Grigorovitch/, The Prodigal Son /choreography by Jiří Němeček/, Spring Fairy Tale and Esquisses /choreography by Atanas Petrov/, Boomerang /choreography by Boris Eifman/ , La fille mal gardйe (The Unchaperoned Daughter) /choreography by Alberto Alonso/, Phиdre, Romeo and Juliet and Suite en blanc /choreography by Serge Lifar/, Cinderella and Unfinished symphony /choreography by Peter Van Dyk/, La Pйri /choreography by George Skibin/, La Dame aux camйlias /choreography by Pierre Lacotte/, Zorba the Greek /choreography by Lorca Massine/, a number of experimental works were created by Boryana Sechanova, Donvena Pandurski, Hikmet Mehmedov and by the young choreographers - dancers in the company, Anna Pampulova, Mariana Krancheva, Yordan Krastev.
The artists of the National Ballet - choreographers and performers have played an essential part in the establishment of the national ballet performance tradition. The pioneers Atanas Petrov, Nina Kiradzhieva, Lili Beron, Lyuba Kolchakova, Valya Verbeva, Penka Encheva, Zhivko Biserov, Asen Gavrilov, Krum Yankov, formed the disciples who deservedly took their places on the stage - Vera Kirova, Krasimira Koldamova, Kalina Bogoeva, Margarita Dimitrova, Tsveta Dzhumalieva, Ichko Lazarov, Anton Stoynov, Emiliya Kirova, Atanas Samev. On their part, they trained the new ballet generations - Biser Deyanov, Evgeniya Krasteva, Boyko Nedelchev, Mariana Deneva, Yasen Valchanov, Milena Simeonova, Rumen Rashev, Silviya Tomova, Mariya Ilieva and the young Dilyana Nikiforova, Vesa Tonova-Krastanova, Darina Bedeva, Mariyana Krancheva, Rosen Kanev, Trifon Mitev, Sara-Nora Krasteva. The dancers of the National Ballet received their training in the National School of Dance Art - Sofia and in the Russian academic ballet schools in Moscow and Sankt Petersburg. During recent years eminent Bulgarian ballet masters have been at the head of the company: Petar Lukanov, Hikmet Mehmedov, Yasen Valchanov, Mariya Ilieva, Biser Deyanov.
The National Ballet has performed entire productions and concert programmes at tours abroad with great success. Its participation in a number of international festivals is regarded with high esteem.