Location: Rochester, N.Y.
Connection to Balkan music/dance: I sing with a local Balkan women’s choral group (Sladki Doumi) and dance with the Rochester international folk dancing group. On my own I play the gudulka nearly daily and connect with other musicians to play music of Bulgaria.
Number of times at Balkan camp: I came for three days in 2016. That was the first time I had attended. So, two years.
Studied at camp: Gudulka, Bulgarian singing, all dance
Memorable moment at camp: Every night the dance party and live music were electric; if I had to pick one thing—this is difficult—the dance party would have to be my favorite. Ivan [Handzhiev]’s singing class (Thracian) was great fun! The song selections were varied and interesting and Ivan always has a twinkle in his eye. I also loved dancing around the gajda players; so nice to connect with people in that way. Listening to the young soloist (girl) from Čoček Nation was really inspiring. I love that people of all ages come to the camp. I particularly enjoyed listening to the woman who played Scandinavian tunes in the kafana one night and watching the dancing—so beautiful! Playing gudulka in the student concert was a big step for me; I have performance anxiety. Nikolay [Kolev], my teacher, and the other students in the class were very supportive, so I felt brave enough to do it and it went well!