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Desi Jordanoff, (DJ)
Zharava, Founder and Artistic Director
Desi Jordanoff (DJ) was born in a city surrounded by beautiful mountains and situated in a valley under a sleeping volcano in a very unique ethnographic region, where people dance and talk fast and have very fiery personalities. This may explain in part her fiery energetic nature. The crazy birth town is Sofia, Bulgaria and the year is unknown. Desi is coming from a family of artists, dancers and choreographers. Her father, Todor Marinov, her aunt Penka Rizova and her uncle Iliya Rizov, all three, were in the founding group of the first Bulgarian State folk Ensemble, Philip Koutev in 1951. Her grandfather was a famous painter and her sister is a ballerina and a choreographer. In this culturally charged atmosphere Desi learned dancing at a very early age and started dancing in various children groups since her 5th year of age. The love of singing comes form DJ's mom, Ivanka, who used to sing at home gatherings and other functions alone or with her sisters. Ever since Desi made the first dance steps, dance has become her inspiration and remained her love and a second profession, which kept her sane and carried her through her entire life. Once hooked, since early age Desi never gave up in her efforts to keep on dancing, creating and to spread the beauty and the energy of the Bulgarian Folk dance, music and song everywhere she went in the world.
Desi's artistic inspiration comes from the strong heritage of her family and her teachers: her father, aunt, and uncle, one of the famous Bulgarian choreographers she studied with, Mitko Manov, her friends dancers, singers, choreographers, and performers from multiple professional and semi-professional dance groups, such as the children's dance ensembles Rosna Kitka and the dance group at the Palace of Pioneers, AURA semiprofessional dance folk ensemble, founded by her uncle Ilia Rizov, the professional ensemble formerly at the Army Corps of Engineers, and many other dance groups and dance formations, in which she has performed in Bulgaria and abroad. DJ's upbringing in an artistic atmosphere of dance, song and music, her experiences as a singer at the second largest youth choir in Bulgaria, traveling, singing and dancing with the Folklore choir at the Bulgarian Radio and with individual singers has added to Desi's vast professional artistic experience.
Parallel to her extended experience as a dancer and later as a choreographer and a director of dance groups in Bulgaria and the US, Desi developed a professional career as well, graduating with a BA in Economics in Bulgaria, MBA and a MPIA degrees form University of Pittsburgh, US, taking additional education and training and working full time.
The dancing, creating and directing have been and are priority in Desi's quite busy life. With her talent and dedication, she has acquired highest professional dance level in Bulgaria via a State examination (Excellent category of professional performer). During her quest for more knowledge in the realm of Bulgarian Ethnography, folklore dance and music, choreography, customs, traditions, and costumes, for more than 15+ years, Desi's dancing career in Bulgaria has brought her to multiple semi-professional and professional groups as a lead dancer, representing Bulgaria and its rich folk art at home and abroad on concert tours in Western, Eastern Europe and the United States.