Et cetera

A virtual Bag of Holding for everything else.

Featuring lists of links to things I like, pages on my secondary interests and assorted topics, any odd bits and bobs, and marvels of hypertext!

Irish dancing

Dessy ready to go on stage at an Irish dancing competition in Prague

It all began in high school, when I joined the first group of Irish dancers in Sofia. A spontaneous decision, based on my love for Irish music and the lack of physical activity besides walking.

Later on, my teacher Rossen Idealov (in his early twenties at the time) founded Irish Dance Academy Sofia (now Cunningham School of Irish Dance Sofia), which quickly became the largest school in the country, organising seminars with world famous dancers and collaborating with other European schools. We even travelled to Prague to participate in a feis, an Irish dancing competition and festival.

Dessy getting into her costume and shoes for an Irish dancing competition in Munich

On this second picture you can see me getting ready for another feis, this time in Munich, which was the pinnacle of my dancing performance (…for now). Afterwards, I left Sofia and my beloved dancing team, leading to a decay in form (but not in spirit!).

During my Master’s, I gave free beginner classes to willing physicists and engineers. We had a swell time. You should give it a go at least once—it’s unbelievably uplifting, albeit very physically demanding.

Now I dance on my own and at a local step school that happens to have Irish dancing classes. But do I miss my Sofia school and my first and best teacher Rossen, who transformed my life for the better in a way I could never repay. My deepest gratitude goes to him and to all other dancers and musicians, the ones who coloured the dull daily grind with an Irish rainbow of jigs and reels.

Other dancing

Dessy on stage in a traditional red dress from Jalisco, Mexico

By sheer serendipity, I had the opportunity to dabble in some traditional Mexican dances. This photo captures my joy of performing a traditional dance from Jalisco in the typical attire. While the swirling of large, colourful skirts (“faldeo”) is very different from the stiff upper body position of an Irish dancer, the common ground is the percussive footwork (“zapateo”). Not to mention the splendour of Mexican music, which I can only describe as the Sun transformed into sound (how very unscientific of me!)

I’m still a complete beginner with this style of dance, but I’d definitely pursue it in the future. In the meantime, I took up ballroom dancing (both Standard and Latin) and intend to keep it up for as long as I can.