Otets Paissii Performing Folk Ensemble
Under the Bulgarian Macedonian National Educational and Cultural Center, Otets Paissii Performing Folk Ensemble has been delighting local and international audiences for many years. The group was formed by Nicholas Jordanoff in 1955, commensurate with the First Annual Pittsburgh Folk Festival. This talented group of singers, dancers, and musicians presents its annual concert each spring, and performs regularly at venues in Pittsburgh and southwestern Pennsylvania. The ensemble is an annual participant in the BMNECC’s “Na Megdana” Bulgarian Festival, as well as the “Varea” Bulgarian Festival in Chicago. In 1990 the ensemble appeared at numerous venues in Bulgaria, and in 2003 the dancers performed at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., to commemorate 100 years of diplomacy between the Unites States and Bulgaria.
This dynamic performing ensemble delights in taking audiences along with them on a cultural journey to the unique regions of Bulgaria and Macedonia. The ensemble’s roots span many generations, and the passion of its dancers shines through in every performance. These industrious men and women not only donate their time for rehearsals and performances, but also raise funds for the ensemble and volunteer their services to enhance the overall quality of the Bulgarian Macedonian National Educational and Cultural Center.
The ensemble is named for Otets Paissii, the monk who wrote the first comprehensive history of the Bulgarian people. Otets Paissii Performing Folk Ensemble is under the direction of Artistic Director, Bilyana Stoyanova Stafura, and Managing Director, Beth A. Stafura. The entire ensemble, with the support of the BMNECC, takes an immense responsibility in making each season successful – through fundraising to costuming, organizing to developing – through volunteering committees reaching all areas of the organization. From the goodness of their hearts and the talents and knowledge that have been passed down to them, the performers are anxious to share their passions annually to our friends, families and fellow artists locally and cities afar.
Here's a look at the Otets Paissii Performing Folk Ensemble in action.