music, ceremony and dance

sunday 17 September 6pm Glebe town Hall

Sacred rituals from the balkans

For the first time, we are bringing together three of Sydney’s leading Balkan cultural groups, working together to showcase the unique sacred inspired dance and music from the Balkans. 

From Dusha Balkana’s Macedonian dance to Koleda CFC’s Bosnian Tepsia singing tradition to the amazing Bulgarian harmonies of the Martenitsa Choir.

A night of dance, music and ritual. 

These three traditions will come together to create the centre piece for the show based on a sacred ritual from Bosnia (and beyond).

An ancient method of fortune telling. One woman rhythmically spins a special copper tray, while another woman sings into the spinning tray which has magical significance and gives an eerie, echo-like sound (the original Leslie speaker) to the words...

The Sun looked in amazement; the Fairy and the Eagle are having a dispute. The Fairy says: “mine is the mountain”. And the Eagle says: “mine is antiquity”.

The Tepsija tradition will for the first time be the centre piece for an amazing collaboration with ex Ballet Dancer Yorgo Kaporis and the haunting Bulgarian harmonies of the Martenitsa Choir.

Artistic Direction: Nives Crvenkovic, Yorgo Kaporis, Mara Kiek and Richard Petkovic

INTERESTED IN 'Balkan Sacred Rituals'? 





Dusha Balkana
The Australian Academy of Balkan Dance & Culture was formed by leading choreographer Yorgo Kaporis with the vision of creating a multicultural dance group, that had no political, cultural or religious condemnation of the various cultures living within Australia.  To set up a professional Ensemble which incorporated the various ethnic and geographical areas of the Balkans.  

Dusha Balkana currently enjoys repertoires and original choreographed sequences from Serbia, Macedonia, Bulgaria and Greece, and is looking to expand its repertoire to other neighbouring Balkan Countries.  Yorgo has danced professionally throughout Australia,  drawing much inspiration from the famed Pirin Ensemble in Bulgaria, and choreographs dances to provide a visual and auditory explosion of colour and shapes which tantalizes the senses and leaves the audience begging for more.  

Classically trained, he has danced and performed with the Maxwell Collis Ballet Theatre, the O’Kell Ballet Ensemble, The South Australian Youth Ballet and the Australian Ballet.  Having completed some very successful years as a ballet dancer, Yorgo then took to ballroom dancing where he was awarded national champion in 1996.  

Koleda CFE
Koleda CFE was founded in Sydney, Australia in 1967 by Ljubo John Crvenkovic and Vera Crvenkovic with the aim of preserving and promoting Croatian culture and folklore in their new homeland.
Ljubo and Vera were previously both dedicated teachers and dancers at Ivan Goran Kovacic, a renowned folkloric ensemble, based in Zagreb, Croatia. Highlights from Koleda's impressive 50 year history include staging ten Croatian cultural festivals at the Sydney Opera House, regular annual performances at the National Folkloric Festival (1973-1995) also at the Sydney Opera House, three folkloric tours of Croatia and five albums. As the oldest Croatian folkloric ensemble in Australia, Koleda is renowned for its prolific and highly original work, and is regarded as one of the most successful and influential Croatian folkloric ensembles in the Diaspora.

Today, Koleda consists of a small group of singers, musicians and dancers, initially selected from the ranks of Koleda's best and have delighted audiences with a variety of compositions and original folkloric pieces.

Martenitsa Choir
Based in Ultimo, Martenitsa is modelled on the magnificent Bulgarian state choirs, and has become one of the most highly regarded and innovative choirs in Australia. Martenitsa's repertoire was inspired by the folk song arrangements of Bulgarian maestro Philip Kutev and his contemporaries and successors. Kutev took traditional village songs and added extra vocal parts, creating a new genre in Bulgaria which has been popularised worldwide through groups such as the Radio Sofia Choir, Le Mystère de Voix Bulgares, Philip Kutev Ensemble and Trio Bulgarka. Many original compositions have now been created in this style.

In 1988 Mara Kiek travelled to Bulgaria with grants from the Australia Council and the Alfred White Trust to study folk music, choral music and conducting at the Plovdiv Higher Institute of Music. She also attended singing lessons in Sofia and at the Istanbul Conservatorium. On her return home in 1989, Mara recruited about 40 Sydney singers around the core group, Mesana Salata, of which she was a founding member. Mesana Salata, formed in May 1983, were an all female multicultural choral group pioneering the new wave of Australian a capella. With further assistance from the Australia Council, Mara trained Martenitsa for 12 weeks, and presented an inaugural concert season. Everyone was so enthusiastic that Martenitsa continues to the present day, with several of the original choristers and Mesana Salata members still there!

Since their formation, Martenitsa has performed in many major concert halls in eastern Australia, toured with legendary Trio Bulgarka and Balkana and recorded a number of CDs. Martenitsa has worked on collaborations with Mara!, Clarion Fracture Zone, David Hobson and David Hirschfelder; commissioned works by Ivan Spasov (Bulgaria) and Sandy Evans (Aust); and broadcast live and prerecorded for many ABC Radio and TV programmes. As well as the commissioned works, Martenitsa has also performed original works by Llew and Mara, Tony Gorman, Alistair Spence, Stephan Kozuharov, Silvia Entcheva and Marcia Malinova-Anthony.

Soloist, Silvia Entcheva, sang in Bulgaria with Grammy award winning choir ‘Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares’ before migrating to Australia and joining Martenitsa in 1994.

Martenitsa Choir performing at the Sydney Opera House