The Ensemble for Bulgarian Folk Dances “Horo” was founded in 2003 by Irina Gotcheva and Todor Gotchev who to this day are its artistic directors. Irina graduated from the State School of Choreography in Sofia and from The Academy for Music and Dance in Plovdiv. She has worked as a ballet master and choreographer of Ensemble “Sliven” in Bulgaria. Todor is a master of the Tracian dance style and for years was the soloist of Ensemble “Sliven”.
To the delight of the Bulgarian community in Chicago, Irina and Todor continued their creative work on American land, dedicating a lot of time and energy to building an ensemble which today prides itself in a very large and diverse repertoire.
We are grateful to the Bulgarian Orthodox Church St. John of Rila for the support during the first 3 years of our existence, when we held our practices there. We only left because we grew so much that we needed a bigger space.
Currently the ensemble has close to 40 members – women and men, teenagers included, united in their love for the Bulgarian folk dance. Depending on experience, everyone is welcome – as a beginner or intermediate dancer, or in the advanced group which every season works on a new original dance composition.
Ensemble Horo presents dances from all major ethnographic areas of Bulgaria – Severniashka, Trakiiska, Shopska, Dobrudjanska, Pirinska and Rodopska to the sound of pure folk music. Our dancers are dressed in a variety of colorful traditional costumes.
Ensemble “Horo” is well known to the Bulgarian-American community in the Chicago area from its numerous performances at the Bulgarian churches St. John of Rila and St. Sofia, at local folk dance festivals, from its participation in the traditional concerts organized by the Bulgarian-American Center for Cultural Heritage and dedicated to the Day of the Slavic Alphabet and Bulgarian Culture and last but not least – from its successful individual concerts.
In December 2009 ensemble “Horo” performed for the Bulgarian-American community in St. Louis, MO and in November 2010 travelled to Canada for concerts in Toronto and Montreal . Every year on March 3 ensemble “Horo” represents the Bulgarian-American community at Daley Plaza in Chicago at the celebration of Bulgaria’s Independence Day.
In September 2010 we registered as a not-for-profit corporation with a mission to contribute to the cultural diversity of the American society by means of promoting the rich traditions of the Bulgarian folk dances through performing and teaching them to the general public.
We welcome everyone – be it as a dancer, audience or sponsor.
“When one does something from the bottom of their heart, they enchant us with their magnetism,. I want to end with the words of Hazrat Ianian Khan: “Movement is the meaning of life and the principle of movement is rhythm. Rhythm is life, turned into movement…”. Just like an explosion of rhythm is the performance of Ensemble HORO which with the diversity in their repertoire, with the typical traits of the Bulgarian folk dance has turned into an exceptionally important factor in preserving the of the Bulgarian identity in Chicago.” Iva Ginova – Bulgaria Newspaper “Keep promoting the richness, colorfulness, and the magic of the Bulgarian Folk Dance! You are deep into the hearts of thousands of Bulgarians in Chicago.” Iva Ginova – Bulgaria Newspaper
“The first solo concert of Ensemble Horo was a complete success. In the vast theatre of the Irish Cultural Center, in the heart of Chicago, friends and guests were gathered to see what has been compiled for less than two years by the performers and founders of the Ensemble. The show started. In the background of the lyrical melodies a slideshow was playing with pictures from the most essential Bulgarian History moments, as well as folk costumes from different ethnographic areas and the viewers were able to get a whole picture of the ethnic and cultural life in Bulgaria. Christmas folk songs started and the magic began…They surpassed our expectations.” Jivka Petrova – Bulgaria Newspaper
“Irina and Todor – talent, professionalism, and harmony! To this I can add – performers, choreographers, wonderful teachers, and organizers.” Elena Tzaneva – Bulgaria now Newspaper
“…and we, the Bulgarians in Chicago, are all thankful to Irina and Todor Gotchevi for their talent, love and faith, and for the fact that even far from the motherland, they found fellow countrymen in whom the love for the Bulgarian tradition and folk dance is still alive and they made HORO together to enchant and mesmerize…” Kina Bagovska – Start Newspaper