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50 stories - Sonya Arabadjieva

25 July 2022 Events and Discussions


Artistic Director of Folk Group Bulgari

Hello dear compatriots,

My story has been connected to and living with our native language, folklore and culture for more than half a century and stretching from Bulgaria to its two most remote countries - Australia and New Zealand.

My name is Sonya Arabadjieva and I was born in one of the most beautiful towns in Bulgaria - Kyustendil - the town of Vladimir Dimitrov - the Master, of fertility and mineral springs. A town where Bulgarian roots have been sound and strong for centuries, where traditions are respected and passed on. I was 5 years old when a friend of my family took me to a rehearsal of a folk dance and song ensemble. Captivated by the magic of dance, my childhood soul firmly imprinted this memory in my mind and since then my love for our folklore has been nestled in it forever.

For twenty yearsI worked as a teacher in my hometown, during which time I danced and passed on to my students knowledge and skills from our native folklore. In 2005, my family emigrated to New Zealand. We lived in Auckland for 10 years. During this time, my husband Tsvetan Arabadjiev was chairman of the Bulgarian Society there, and I ran the Bulgarian Sunday School "St. St. Cyril and Methodius” and the folklore ensemble “Bulgarian Roses”. Our students participated in all initiatives and competitions of the State Agency for Bulgarians Abroad, were among the translators of the books from the series “Bulgarian Folk Wisdom in the World”, won countless awards and diplomas. Our ensemble participated in numerous concerts and festivals, won 1st place and the cup of the only dance festival of its kind - competition "Viva Eclectica", made our country famous for its most valuable heritage on the other side of the world.

New Zealand gave us a lot in these 10 years - life experience and spiritual development, and we also gave it our best - to the country and to the Bulgarians there, who are still our big family! In 2015 we moved to Melbourne, Australia. Here I was contacted by Mrs. Sonya Kisov with the idea to create a group for native folklore. From 2017 to the middle of 2019 I was the leader of the group "Horo", and from then on until now I have been the leader of the folklore group "Bulgari". In October 2019 we organized and held in Melbourne the First Bulgarian Festival of Bulgarian Societies, Schools and Groups for Native Folklore, which was attended by representatives from Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra, Adelaide, Melbourne from Australia, and Auckland from New Zealand. The festival was a significant, unique event that will be remembered forever by all its participants and guests. This year on September 17 we will hold our second Bulgarian festival in honor of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Bulgaria and Australia.

My dancers motivate me and charge me with new energy at each rehearsal. There have been countless participations and successes that we are all rightly proud of. I want to thank them here sincerely! I am happy to be able to pass on the knowledge of our native folklore not only to my daughter, but also to several generations of Bulgarians abroad, thus keeping our cultural identity alive and making Bulgaria famous in the world for its wonderful culture.



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