Interview with Iliana Petrova


The interview was conducted by Maggie.

iliana photo

M.: Hello. Please introduce yourself to everyone.

I.P.: My name is Iliana Petrova and I’m a folk dance instructor.

M.: When and how did you get interested in Bulgarian folk dances?

I.P.: I first started many years ago. I was third grade when, kind of by accident, I found myself in “Izvorche” children’s ensemble at the National Children’s Palace, and I started dancing. At the time I had no idea that this will become my profession but, thanks to the magic of dance, this is how it turned out to be.

M.: What do you like in Bulgarian folk dances and what do they give you?

I.P.: Bulgarian folk dances for me are a way of life. Through them I breath and live my life, so I don't really think about it. Of course I love them, and that’s why they give me such emotion, such wonderful feelings. They make me feel proud that I’m Bulgarian, whenever I go abroad to present them. The satisfaction that the energy and the applause of the spectators brings me, is indescribable. For me dance wouldn't be the same without the audience.

M.: How did you start teaching?

I.P.: With me it all happened very spontaneously. Back when I was very young, a person turned to me and asked if I could help them out, and that’s when I knew that teaching and giving were parts of who I am as a person.

M.: Could you share some interesting episode connected to teaching?

I.P.: The most interesting thing about teaching for me is seeing how from a little seed grows and blossoms a flower, metaphorically speaking. When you first get to know someone, who wants to learn about Bulgarian folklore, you get to take care of them by giving them knowledge, “water” them and they - like a flower - grow, learn a lot, get charged with positive energy, and that helps them feel more Bulgarian.

M.: Do you have a favorite dance? What is it and why?

I.P.: I prefer the faster, more dynamic dances. I like those from the Shopski and Northern regions, but every single dance from our folklore I perform with pleasure.

M.: What advise would you give to someone, who's considering starting dancing Bulgarian folk dances?

I.P.: I’d say to them to definitely try, even if they feel insecure in their ability to move in space. Dance is not only a physical movement, it’s an experience. Even if you don't feel confident physically, dance will always bring you emotion and will charge you positively, which in its turn will inspire you to move. Don't get scared when you hear “dance”. Much more important than whether you've managed to do the movement correctly, is the emotion that dance will give you!

М.: Thank you and good luck!