I spent the following four years hard-at-work on my degree. My focus, however, did little to distract me from the fact that I was living away from my parents for the first time. During this period, I had to not only learn the intricate details of Bulgarian Dancing but also get used to faring on my own. Luckily, I had the pleasure of studying with some of the greatest choreography teachers and connoisseurs of Bulgarian folk dance of our time – Kiril Haralampiev, Dimitar Dimitrov – Pavlarata and Krassimir Petrov, who was our primary teacher in Bulgarian folk dances. These wonderful people helped cultivate our love and facilitate our understanding of Bulgarian history, characteristic dances and classical exercises.
I will never forget the times when I got to meet the great artists from the “Filip Kutev” ensemble. Observing them was a huge inspiration. Around this same time, I also met the most wonderful woman in the world, who has been a part of my life ever since.
During the 1979-1981 period, I found myself joining the Ensemble of Construction Troops. Two years filled with beautiful emotions and a lot of hard work. Rehearsals and preparation entirely overtook our mornings, our afternoons consisted of a short break, and in the evenings were completely booked for performances. In the morning, Mitko Manov took our health, Anatoly Klochkov finished us.
October-November 1981 Ensemble “Trakia” – a student’s dream come true. I don’t have the words to describe the pleasure of working closely with Kiril Dzhenev. We were fortunate enough to participate in the opening ceremony of the National Palace of Culture with the concert “1300 years of Bulgaria” – A once-in-a-lifetime experience! All professional dance ensembles were there at the National Palace of Culture!
Eventually, however, my time in “Trakia” came to its end. I realised that I had gotten to a point where I could no longer resist the yearnings of my heart. And so, after one last great concert in Sofia, I decided that it’s time to pack my bags and leave for the seaside, where my girlfriend was working with the professional “Varna” ensemble. I made the trip on the 1st of December, 1981 and I joined Varna’s “Professional Ensemble for Folk Songs and Dances”, led by Mr Petar Angelov. Together, we took part in countless tours, performances and festivals, both on a national and an international level.
One year later, on the 23rd of May, 1982, we got married, and today, 38 years later, our relationship is stronger than ever! Around this time, I became the assistant director at the Trade Union’s House of Culture dance troupe, with which I travelled quite a lot. My daughter was born in 1984, while I was in Malta.