Dimitar "Mitko" Manov is a native of Bulgaria and graduate of the State School of Choreography in Sofia. He danced professionally with the Philip Koutev State Ensemble for 16 years, while also teaching dance and choreography at a specialized school in Sofia. He directed the amateur ensemble Aura from 1989 to 2000, touring extensively around Europe and the United States. He also was the artistic director and chief dance master for two of the top professional folk ensembles in the Bulgaria, the Army Ensemble and the Ensemble of the Military Headquarters. For that, his country bestowed on him its highest artistic distinction, the Honored Artist of Bulgaria Award.
Mitko also choreographed a Šopska Suite for the Lokarsko Folk Ensemble.
Mitko was the Managing Assistant, Dance Director, and resident choreographer of the Duquesne University Tamburitzans ("Tammies") of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, for many years.
He was resident choreographer, dance trainer, bus driver and on-the-road confidante for the Tammies. He could also whip up any number of Bulgarian specialties, like guyvetch and mishmash, which he periodically doled out to groups of Tammie students in his home on the South Side.
Manov found his way to the United States after the break-up of the communist regime. "Democracy comes, but art left," he says dolefully. "There is no money for culture. The party absconded with the funds." Before that, there were 14 professional ensembles, with full chorus and orchestra, in a country about the size of Pennsylvania.
In the studio, he was a bear of a man, with legs like tree trunks that still can lightly pick their way through the knotty jungle of rhythms that is essentially Bulgarian. Many of the students called him "friend," but the respect was evident in rehearsal. "I touch these people with my heart," he said. "They work very hard, so I cry almost. We love each other."
So it was a family, a group of people bound by a love of the folk tradition. They ate, slept, cried, hugged and fought together.
He taught many workshops around the United States including at the Ethnic Express in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Mitko has since returned to Bulgaria.
Dances Mitko taught include Dobrudja Suite, Kjustendilska Rūčenica, Kukli (Puppet Dance), North Bulgaria Suite, Šop Suite, and Trakia Suite.