In March 2002 an idea was born to create a dance troupe made up of female rhythmic gymnasts and male folk dancers. While the dance troupe was being formed, composer Georgi Andreev, music director of the Philip Kutev National Folklore Ensemble, was asked to write an original score. The music was written for a big symphony orchestra and traditional Bulgarian folklore instruments - kaval, gaida, gadulka and others. Thus Orpheus and Eurydice was born. Its premiere was in Varna and it was performed in Sofia six months later. In 2003, Ivaylo Ivanov, chief choreographer of the Philip Kutev National Folklore Ensemble, was invited to change the male actors’ choreography. The story line was re-worked and in its final version it was called The Legend, or A Bulgarian Legend. The conductor and composer was Georgi Andreev.
Lili Ignatova's Bulgarian Dream Dancers performed on stage for the first time with a symphony orchestra on December 8, 2003 at the National Palace of Culture in Sofia live to an audience of 4,000 and to a television audience of millions. The performance was attended by the Prime Minister, the Parliament Speaker, Cabinet Ministers and the entire diplomatic corps. For the first time in Bulgarian cultural history, the National Opera Symphony Orchestra, together with players of traditional instruments of the Philip Kutev National Ensemble, the women’s choir of the Philip Kutev National Ensemble, men’s choir from the Mixed Choir of the Bulgarian National Radio and the entire dance troupe raised the ethnic sound to the level of great classical art. On November 1, 2004 the group was invited at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
The story is based on the ancient myth of the love between a young man and a nymph. It is a well-known Balkan legend. According to it, when the nymph (Eurydice) fell in love with a common mortal, she lost her mystic powers and turned into an ordinary maiden. Orpheus knew he should be able to subdue the nymph by taking away something that embodied her power, like a belt, a necklace or a braid. Having fallen in love, she was detested by her sisters of kin, who turned into snakes and killed her. Thus she found herself in the Kingdom of shadows (the Underworld). Orpheus’s grief was inconsolable. His friends tried to cheer him up but to no avail. His soul was full of desire for revenge, however in the decisive battle the nymphs succeeded in taking his life. When he rose up to the stars, he finally found his beloved one and their celestial dance continued into eternity.
Aim and Idea of the Performance
The dance performance is unique, since it is a combination of genuine Bulgarian folk dances and lighter and subtler form of rhythmic gymnastics, with twelve well-trained male dancers and twelve selected female gymnasts. One can see on the stage all the apparatuses typical for rhythmic gymnastics (ropes, hoops, balls, clubs, ribbons), which in the hands of the dancers turn into instruments of vivid expression. These dancers have unique plasticity. For the first time such apparatuses are used on stage – they are not just sports devices but also carry out certain symbolism. Thus, for instance, the ribbons turn into snakes, the ball is ‘the Moon, which the lad gives to his beloved one to play with’, and the clubs are the nymphs’ spears. The ultimate idea is achieved with the help of the unique steps of the Bulgarian folk dancers.