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Daniela "Dani" Ivanova-Vayan was born in Sofia, Bulgaria, in 1963. She is an accomplished, professional folk dance teacher and performer. In addition, she is a very gifted choreographer, and also a researcher of the South Slavic folk dance culture. Daniela graduated from the Institute of Music and Choreography, Sofia, and also from the Sofia University "St. Kl. Ohridski," with MA degrees in Philosophy and Cultural Studies. This broad educational background gives her the unique opportunity to combine theory and practice, research, teaching and performance in her very extensive works.
She was a full-time teacher in choreography and co-founder of the Medena Pitka folk ensemble at the school. She was Artistic Director of the Tropanka folk dance formation, choreographer of the Zornitza University students' folk ensemble, and a choreographer of different students' ensembles in such coountries as Bulgaria, Banat and Besarabia. With these ensembles, she toured Belgium, France, Israel, Malta, the Netherlands, Romania, and Slovakia, where her groups always received prestigious awards. Dani has very original dance choreographies, some of which are still performed by various dance groups in Bulgaria. When she performs with them, she always inspires them to give the best they can for themselves and for the audience. Recently she started to work as a choreographer with two Vojvodian dance ensembles in Novi Sad, Ensemble Vila and the University Students' Ensemble.
Dani's talent as an artist helps her to be a very good educator as well. She gives lectures at many places: The New Bulgarian University, The National Theater and Film Academy, at specialized schools in choreography, and others. She gives lectures and dance workshops not only in Bulgaria, but also in Hungary, Serbia, Slovenia, Turkey, and other European countries.
Dani has a extensive field-work experience in Bulgaria, Macedonia, Slovenia, and S R Yugoslavia. Her fieldwork resulted in hundreds of hours of audio recordings, a large number of photos, field notes, and other materials. She has a large and diverse repertoire and she uses her fieldwork experience when she teaches authentic dances from these countries on a master level.
When not teaching dance, Dani may be found teaching singing, knitting, or philosophy! She is working on her Ph.D. thesis at the Arts Institute of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.
Dani has taught folk dancing in the United States. Her teaching tours will have taken her to Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, and Texas. She is accompanied in her workshops by Angel Nazlamov on accordion.
Dani is known as a writer and a poet. Among her many, many publications are
Dani has recorded several music and song CDs with Angel which are available on their website (along with many windows media files for your listening pleasure!) and are shipped to North American residents from their representative in New York, New York. These CDs include
Dani also has put out a CD of her poetry with Bulgarian background music.
Dances Dani has taught include Abdal, Alulenu, Angelovata, Bajračeto, Bata Djero, Beranče, Berovka, Bufčansko, Bugarka, Čačak, Čokurovsko Horo, Dile-Dile, Dolna Prespa, Emkino, Gamzovata, Gikina, Ginka, Izručanka, Karamfilčeto, Kopanitsa (Lesnovo), Kremikovsko, Malesora, Mandrile, Marjikinata, Napred Nazad, Ovčepolska, Pembe, Pirinska Četvorka, Ratevka, Razvruštanata, Selsko Šopsko Horo za Poyas, Selsko za pojasm, Šalauna (Pčinja), Šestitsa, Šestorka Belopalanačka, Šestorka Sitna, Šumadinka, Švrlig, Sitnitsa, Smiljana, Svekurvino (Pčinja), Ćerkezka, Tegko (Pčinja), Tranke le, and Vlasinka.