Bulgarian School Otets Paissii
Shareni Chorapi Children's Ensemble
The Shareni Chorapi Children’s Ensemble was established by Aleksandar Zankin in 2014 when he was appointed dance instructor at the BMNECC’s Bulgarian School Otets Paissii. Under his direction the children study and perform folk dances from the seven ethnographic regions of Bulgaria. They perform at all concerts organized by the Bulgarian School, take part in the Center’s cultural programs, and participate in various events and folk festivals in the Pittsburgh area. The Children’s Ensemble has taken part in all five of the BMNECC’s annual Bulgarian Folk Festival “Na Megdana” shows in Pittsburgh, and also participated in the Bulgarian Folk Festival “Verea” in Chicago in 2017 and 2018.
While our current group members have Bulgarian background, our doors are open to all children who are interested in learning Bulgarian traditional dances and advancing their skills! In the spirit of connecting with others regardless of ethnic background, in 2020 the group initiated a new Junior Festival welcoming ethnic ensembles from around the Pittsburgh area to share their culture and dance/music traditions. It was the start of a great tradition on our end and we are committed to hosting it as an annual event!
The group currently has 3 different levels based on the children’s age and dance experience. Our youngest participants are 4 years old and our oldest are budding teenagers. The skills gained with our group lay a solid foundation for future dance experience – a number of the Shareni Chorapi members have ‘graduated’ into performing with the BMNECC adult folk ensemble, “Otets Paissii.’
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