Are you ready to Dance – Join the Group of Zharava June 14th in Old Town Alexandria


3:00 PM TORPEDO ARTS CENTER, 105 N Union Street, Alexandria VA

4:30 PM Market Street, in front of the City Hall, Alexandria VA


The Bulgarian folk-dance ensemble Zharava was established in January, 2007. Within its first six months, the group gathered more than 20 enthusiastic members, including natives of Bulgaria, Russia and the U.S. The fire in each member’s heart is implied by the group’s name: Zharava – 'burning embers.'

Zharava's mission is to preserve the rich Bulgarian folk-dance tradition, and to enhance the awareness of Bulgarian folk arts (including dance, music, song and rhythm) throughout the U.S. and the world. The Artistic Director of Zharava is a longtime professional folk dance instructor and choreographer, Desi Jordanoff. The organization aims to advance its mission through performance and participation in dance and music festivals, through delivering training and workshops, through organizing student performances, and through holding recreational dance events. With all these activities, Zharava tries to educate people and create community through the experience of Bulgarian folklore. Zharava workshops include selections from the rich dance styles belonging to all ethnographically defined regions of Bulgaria.

Today, Zharava already has gathered 85 members and continues to attract more new students. 55 members are actively participating in the ensemble’s training classes and their number grows consistently. All current members are organized in three tiers: beginners, intermediate and advanced (performing group). All three groups have been exposed to different levels of difficulty and follow three specific tracks of training to learn the particular dance styles, techniques, and rhythms of individual ethnographic regions of Bulgaria. Zharava’s advanced group consists of a strong core of dancers, who have advanced through vigorous training during the past seven years. These core dancers form the ensembles performing group, which demonstrates the color, rhythm and dance mastery to the community. Part of Zharava’s training incorporates traditional dances from all ethnographic regions of Bulgaria. The curriculum also includes studying authentic folk traditions brought from villages in Bulgaria and workshops in costume design.

During its seven years of existence, Zharava has demonstrated an increasing level of acquired knowledge and skill. It has also garnered great support in the arts and national communities in greater metropolitan Washington, DC. The group delivered more than fifty concerts and presentations at various venues spanning from community, school celebrations and festivals through events and initiatives, the greater Washington, DC metropolitan area, Maryland and Northern Virginia. In addition, the group has participated in multiple presentations on behalf of organizations, such as the Maryland Council for the Arts, Annual Celebration of Cultures held by the World Bank Group; celebrations held by the Bulgarian Community Center and the Bulgarian Music Society of greater Washington, DC; Washington Folklore Society; Ambassador Theater, Washington Revels, and events organized by the Embassy of Bulgaria to name a few.

One of Zharava’s accomplishments is a successful pilot project to establish and develop an affiliate group at the University of Richmond. Founded in the fall of 2007, the dance group in Richmond attracted more than 30 members, including Bulgarian and international students, who continue to express their passion and love for Bulgarian folk dance. As a result of this collaboration today the group in Richmond gathers weekly to further explore the rich Bulgarian folklore dance. One of the most fruitful and successful collaborations Zharava has fostered with the singing group Zunitza founded as an exciting spin off from the dance group members in  Richmond. Today Zharava and Zunitza collaborate on many joint projects and perform together at many venues in Washington, DC metropolitan area.

For seven years ensemble Zharava has developed and fostered solid working relationships with many organizations such as Bulgarian Folk Orchestra “Ljuti Chushki’, Folklore singing groups “Orfeja”, “Slaveja”, “Svitania”, Bulgarian Educational and Cultural Center in Washington, DC, National Catherdral School and individual artists, musicians and singers. In 2007, Zharava’s Artistic Director, Desi Jordanoff created a successful children project at the Bulgarian Educational Center and founded the children dance group Zdravetz. Today, with more than 25 members the group has grown to accommodate a second tier of children attending the Bulgarian Educational Center. Bulgarian Folk Dance group Zdravetz has participated in concerts and presentations with Zharava dance Ensemble at multiple venues such as the Ambassador Theater, The American University, St. Nicholas Church Festival and others.