In August 2017, Fulbright Specialist Danita Emma joined Marian’s Ballet School as a teacher and mentor for the young talents who participated in this year’s edition of the Academy. Ballet Academy Marian is a two-week summer school for children from seven to 18 years of age, who wish to improve their skills in the field of classical ballet and learn from the most experienced artists and teachers in Bulgaria. The school takes place in Marian, a small village in the Elena area of the Balkan range. The initiator of the school is Diliana Nikiforova, Prima Ballerina at the National Opera and Ballet. The Academy is supported by the America for Bulgaria Foundation, and the local municipalities. Each year, about 40 children take part. Since 2011, a total of 235 children have passed through the school, with more than half of the advanced group being admitted to various ballet universities around the world.
Fulbright Specialist Danita Emma brought to the school her experience as a ballet teacher, coach, choreographer, adjudicator, and producer. Ms. Emma’s career has been shaped and inspired by her lifelong relationship with her mentor, the world-renowned Madame Darvash. She has taught company classes for the National Opera and Ballet of Bulgaria (Sofia), Burgas Opera (Bulgaria), Ailey II and Atlanta Ballet. She served as audition teacher and adjudicator for the Oakland Ballet. She has taught for studios, performing arts high schools, colleges, festivals, regional companies and various auditions throughout the Eastern Seaboard including New Dance Group Studio (NYC), Garden State Ballet Company (New Jersey) and Harlem School of the Arts (NYC). She has held positions at Hobart and William Smith College, Syracuse University, Brenau University and University of Georgia. She designed and launched pre-professional summer dance intensives at SUNY Binghamton and Syracuse University.
The two-week intensive training concluded with two performances: one in the village of Marian, and one in the city of Elena. The two gala concerts included joint performances by children who participated in the Academy, and performances by professional ballet artists, guests of the Academy. The Executive Director of the Bulgarian Fulbright Commission, Angela Rodel, and the Program Officer responsible for the Fulbright Specialist Program, Rada Kaneva, had the absolute pleasure of watching the gala performance in the community center of Elena. The Program included fragments from La Bayadère (Kingdom of the Shades), Paquita (Grand Pas), and short scenes from The Sleeping Beauty, Gayaneh, etc. We would like to sincerely congratulate the young talents, their incredible mentors, and the organizers for the success of this project, and we look forward to collaborating in the field of arts with the incredible Bulgarian talents, and to welcoming more outstanding US Specialists like Ms Danita Emma.