Sunday, 05 September 2021 02:35

Rhythm and Silence Together as One

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4th of September, Saturday afternoon at the brilliantly lit hall of Club "WePlay", friends and guests of the specialized website "We Hear You" gathered in Oroteka "Sedyanka" for the First Open Lesson on Bulgarian Folklore Dances for People with Hearing Impairments. People were buzzing with excitement for the event where rhythm and silence combined in a unique way.

The current covid restrictions prevented many fans of the Bulgarian folklore from being present at the challenge that posed our open lesson for deaf and hard-of-hearing people. However, we must say all the participants present at the event admit this is an experience they will never forget and will talk to friends and relatives about it for a long time. Eli, Denislav, Monica and Kalin excitedly said at the end of the dance program they would be happy to be a part of other lessons like this again. The host of the open lesson, Prof. Dr. Anton Andonov, said he wishes this interesting exchange of experience would become a tradition.

5PM - dimmed blue light started shining above the dancefloor where two worlds (silent and full of sounds) got together to help each other learn the steps and time signatures and experience the magic of folklore dances. The moderator of the event greeted the hearing and deaf participants alike and welcomed them at the venue. She expressed her kind grattitude towards the hosts of the Oroteka and sincere admirations for the courage of the guests who were there to test their senses and abilities to sense rhythm. Kamelia Angelova and Kamelia Zaharieva, professional sign language interpreters, were there to take care of the accessibility of the welcoming words and dance instructions, but they also enjoyed doing the dances together with the rest of the participants.

Before the dances started, the team of the specialized website "We Hear You" gave the talented choreographer of AMDFA - Plovdiv a surprise gift (Nepal paper lamp decorated with folklore motifs and the inbuilt dancing logo of the site, made by Nadia Ivanova of team "We Hear You" and designed by Nikolay Tabakov, creator of the Magical Lamps). Professor Andonov didn't expect to get a present and he was deeply touched by the gesture.

He introduced the audience with hearing impairments to a selected number of folklore dances from the five different folklore regions of Bulgaria, all of which in the two fourths time signature. Starting with "Gaida Avasi" of the Pirin folklore region, he presented "Shterkolyovata" of the Thracian region, "Za poyas" of the Shopluk region and "Dunavsko horo" of the Moesia region, to finish with "Raka" of the Dobrogea region.

The participants shared their opinions after the event and they all liked the whole dance program, they didn't find the dances particularly difficult but said they were pretty interesting. The people at the venue were charmed by the quick and precise movements of the teacher and they quickly got over their own barriers. Moat of them had little experience with dances and some of them had no previous background in the area. One thing is for sure - the open lesson had an atmosphere of laughter, good mood and entertainment to offer to every person involved. It was evident just how important it is for one to be relaxed and smiling to be ready to sense the rhythm.

The three dancers who were invited to the event by professor Andonov - Cvetelina Angelova, Mariyan Pelteshki and Bozhidar Zlatkov, assisted the participants in leading the dance, as well as showing the grasp of the hands and the direction of the dance. It was a particularly funny lesson that made way for plenty of intriguing observations and further discussion on the topic of the matters between rhythm and people with different kinds of hearing impairments. All the participants and the observers at this dance event had a unique experience and they truly felt a part of the chain of the Bulgarian folklore dance regardless of their hearing status. Rhythm made them go together as one and made them feel the importance of partnership and togetherness.

The open lesson ended with a wish stating that this union of folklore rhythms and silence would eventually become a traditional event. This is a tradition that includes both one's soul and their roots and it could only exist in an atmosphere of togetherness. Let it be!

*Note: More photos of the eveny are uploaded to the gallery of the site.

Video: Youtube

Text and collages: Christina Tchoparova

Photos: Petko Stanchev

EN translation by Maria Mihaylova

Alliance NCAC “We Hear You” is the holder of publishing rights on this article


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