THE HEIGHTS OF THE CONTEMPORARY DANCE – IN TWO EVENINGS ON THE STAGE OF THE STARA ZAGORA OPERA
The heights of the contemporary dance – in two evenings on the stage of the Stara Zagora Opera
The International Choreographic Competition LINKAGE finished
In the frame of two evenings – on 29th and 30th October, the Stara Zagora Opera was a host of the Fourth Edition of the International Choreographic Competition LINKAGE. An event, without an analogue in Bulgaria, which more and more progresses and attracts the interest of choreographers from all over the world. The exceptionally high level of organization on part of the Stream Dance Company in partnership with the Stara Zagora State Opera makes the competition an attractive place for manifestation of talented representatives of the contemporary dance. While in the other countries similar competitions are held on small stages and alternative spaces, the Bulgarian choreographic competitions impresses also with the conditions which offers the host-theater. On the stage of the Stara Zagora Opera was held the final of the competition and the closing Gala evening of the awarded, accompanied by an official ceremony of the presenting of the prizes. According to the regulations the preliminary selection is made on the basis of video materials of solos and duets, which the candidates send.
This year in the competition participated over 220 candidates, of whom the jury consisting of: Filip Milanov – dancer and choreographer, artistic director of Strem Dance and of the International Choreographic Competition LINKAGE, Angelina Gavrilova – soloist of Arabesque Ballet and choreographer, Valeri Milenkov – soloist of Arabesque Ballet, co-founder of the International Choreographic Competition LINKAGE, selected at the first round initially 50 choreographers and for the final chose 16 choreographers, who presented 10 miniatures /according to the regulations/. The finalists-choreographers this year are from Italy, Spain, Germany, Portugal., Brazil, Argentina and China. The jury, which in Stara Zagora assessed the finalists of the competition is different from the one of the preliminary selection, so that its members should not have a formed opinion and assess impartially at the first watching live. Head of the jury is the Prima ballerina of the Stara Zagora State Opera – Silviya Tomova, and the rest of the jury are: Zhivko Zhelyazkov – choreographer and artistic director of Derida Dance Company, performer and co-founder of Antistatic – a festival for contemporary dance and performance. They all had the difficult task to highlight the best choreographers who will receive the respective prizes. The spectators also had their equal chance to choose their favorite and define who will be awarded the audience prize.
On 30th October at 19.00 on the stage of the Stara Zagora was held the official award ceremony and the closing Gala of the prize-winners with the participation of guest-soloists. The event was opened by the artistic director of the Competition Filip Milanov, who thanked the hosts in the person of the Director of the Stara Zagora Opera Ognyan Draganov and his team, the Derida Dance for the partnership and the Ministry of Culture for the support. The jury was invited on the stage and after the address of the head Mrs. Silviya Tomova, who accentuated the significance of such a competition and expressed her admiration of the performances of all the finalists, were awarded certificates to all finalists of the competition. There followed the award ceremony:
The audience award, determined almost unanimously by the spectators, who voted for their favorite after the first competition evening on 29th October, went to the choreographers Catarina Casqueiro and Tiago Coelho from Portugal for the duet “Matomari no nai”. The award was presented by the Director of the SNT Board of Custodians of The Stara Zagora Opera Mrs. Tatyana Stancheva.
Mr. Vili Prager presented the third prize, shared between the choreographers of the duet “Autopsy” – Marco Russo Wolpe and Larisa Dorella – Brazil/Italy and the choreographers of the duet “Matomari no nai” Catarina Casqueiro and Tiago Coehlo from Portugal.
Zhivko Zhelyazkov announced and presented the second prize, as well as the special prize of residence on the stage to Derida Dance Company to the choreographers Emma Zani and Roberto Doveri from Italy for the duet “Inesorabilmenteuna via”.
The head of the jury Mrs. Silviya Tomova presented the first prize and the special prize for residence in the Stara Zagora Opera in 2024 to the choreographers Shen Ing Ing and Lan Ming Ming from China for their duet “Wandering on the edge”.
With stormy applause the audience endowed the jury, the prize-winners and the rest of the finalists. The comments of the audience and the jury were unanimous that what the choreographies and their performers offer this year is at an admirable level. Such was also the magnificent Gala, which the organizers had prepared. Beside the prize-winners, in the program participated also the soloists of the Stara Zagora Opera Bogdana Sergeeva and Filipo Sartorelli, Marcelo Molina and Maxim Sidenko, who performed the incredible duets to the choreography by Claude Brumachon “The Pedestal of the Virgins” and “The Untamed”. Impressive and in no way lesser than the level of the participants in the competition was the performance of the two young ballerinas from NSTA and students from Strean Dance Riana Milotinova and Gergana Sitarska. Riana performed the solo „When layed to Earth” to the choreography by Angelina Gavrilova, and Gergana performed her solo entitled “Maria”, choreography Filip Milanov.
On both of the competition evenings among the audience were also representatives of the Chinese Embassy: the cultural attache Mrs. Dai Ing, the culture councilor Guan Ksin, who shared their admiration of the what they had seen, of the level of the Competition and the head of the Education sector Yang Tyan expressed their wish for cooperation.
The Fourth International Choreographic Competition was closed by its artistic director Filip Milanov, who again invited on the stage all the finalists-participants, the jury and the whole team, who have worked on the organization of the Competition.
Looking forward to the small 5-year jubilee next year with even more ambitions and expectations!