~ "The Bulgarian is a superb technician, flawless in execution, and projects a regal quality that suited the role of Aurora" - The Post Standard
~ "Rag house was a perfect blend of cheeky charm, humor and style, especially in the hands of droll comedian Violeta Angelova" - Asbury Park Press
~ "Ballet Magic", "The brilliant ballerina used her ten day stay home to present an expressive feature performance of classical and contemporary ballet" - Bulgarian Press
~ "Violeta Angelova danced the leads in both Concerto Barocco and Sonatine. A clear, sure dancer, she brought a connectivity of phrasing and range of dynamics to the piece that made it suspenseful" - The New York Times
~ "Notable performance [as the Sugar Plum Fairy] by prima ballerina Violeta Angelova with swan-like appearance and technique" - The Morning Call
~ "Violeta has represented Bulgaria upon world stages for years; She possesses supreme control over all complex technical elements and a commanding stage presence" - Bulgarian Press
~ "The performance of Valse-Fantaisie turned out to be a real marvel. Dressed in gorgeous emerald costumes, the dancers responded to the music and space with terrific sweep and spontaneity. This was a truly incandescent waltz, charged with both energy and glamour. The charismatic Violeta Angelova was light, piquant and assured in her role full of graceful, elegant leaps and turns." -Dancetabs.com
~ "Violeta Angelova was very fine [in Valse-Fantaisie]: she seized the music and made it her own."
~ "Among the principals [Angelova] particularly stood out for her amazing musicality and clarity of steps."
~ "[In the Andante], I most admired the noble port de bras and classical beauty of Violeta Angelova in the 4th pas de deux, with Ian Grosh."
~ "[The Suzanne Farrell Ballet] blends American dancers with several imported from Bulgaria most notably Violeta Angelova, a marvelously fluid ballerina I caught [at the J.F.Kennedy Center] in Sonatine. While most of the colleagues were strong on technique and precision, Angelova caught the emotion uniquely, paired with her inordinately tall countryman Momchil Mladenov, who was hard put to match her. Her sinuous pas de deux was pure poetry."
~ "..Angelova was a revelation as Juliet in Scene d’amour from Romeo and Juliet.. She reveled in Béjart’s highly-skewed classical idiom, turning this brief pas de deux into a piece of emotionally-charged theater. It felt as if she let her guard down, giving us a wide-eyed Juliet intoxicated and giddy with love. Dancing under the ominous full moon, Angelova and Henning not only effortlessly sailed through every tricky lift and hold of this highly acrobatic dance, but they also managed to nail all dramatic accents of their characters amorous relationship: the ecstasy, anguish and impending doom."
~"Set to an entire movement of Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 3 [the Diamonds Pas de Deux], this homage to the imperial ballet of the late 19th century, was danced with great dignity and reverence by Violeta Angelova and Momchil Mladenov."
~ "Concerto Barocco projected a smiling ease that illuminated the choreography's intricate architecture. As [one of] its side-by-side central ballerinas, Violeta Angelova played piquant big sister”
~ "[Concerto Barocco] Violeta Angelova is simply stunning - a ballerina who has-it-all: looks, musicality, technique, and, most importantly, that special ability to "sing" with her body & feet. Brava!"
~ "[In Sonatine] Violeta Angelova, partnered by Michael Cook, showed a sure, pure technique, but seemed a bit young for the role."
~ "In Sonatine Ms. Angelova, who can sometimes seem flinty, made a breakthrough into a new level of moment-by-moment immediacy, responding to her partner, Momchil Mladenov, and to the music with changing nuances."
~ "[In Concerto Barocco] The two balerinas leading the corps - Violeta Angelova and Kara G. Cooper - 'become' the two violins, mimicking the intensity of the music with their exquisite timing and superb musicality."
~ "[In the Diamonds pas de deux] Angelova and Mladenov represent refined elegance. When Angelova leans back into Mladenov, one leg high in front of her, they create a beautiful, seamless line with their torsos. They dance with a tenderness one might not expect to see developed taken out of context from a longer work."
~ "[In Balanchine’s Apollo pas de deux] To music by Igor Stravinsky, dancers Violeta Angelova and Michael Cook moved slowly and deliberately in Balanchine’s choreography, articulating and developing each arm and leg movement with grace and purity of line. The well-rehearsed pair exuded regality tinged with vulnerability. The short dance was filled with lifts, ending with Angelova perched on Cook’s shoulders, looking as if in a swan dive — each dancer’s arms swimming side to side."
~ "Had I ever before noticed how Terpsichore's leading finger points the way forward to Apollo, as he carries her downstage, draped in a gorgeous arabesque on his back? Perhaps, but as Violeta Angelova performed it with Michael Cook, the finger's telling detail was as sharp and important as the line of her working leg."
~ "[In 1957’s Agon pas de deux] Dancers Angelova and Momchil Mladenov adroitly performed Balanchine’s sharp and angular choreography that struck with exclamation points."
~ "Of the many talented dancers in the world today, the Bulgarian ballerina Violeta Angelova is like a jewel, blessed with physical beauty and grace, a crystal clear technique, and a kind of inner radiance that shines forth in each performance."
~ "[As the Sleepwalker] Violeta Angelova has the anatomy and ability to stab the stage floor with angry toes and then skim serenly over stumbling blocks."
~ "In the Agon pas[de deux], Angelova and Momchil Mladenov made manifest the marvelously odd physics of the place these collaborators/competitors inhabit. When she strikes a penchee, unperturbed as he skitters, supine, beneath her while holding her hand, it seems, once again, an almost-unremarkable miracle."
~ "Violeta Angelova shone in the second [Agon] pas de trois. Her Bransle Gay flowed languidly from one position from another, achieving impossibly etched positions and sharp angles without becoming staccato in her phrasing. The juxtaposition was a great reading of the choreography and marks it as a performance to remember."
~ "[in the Monumentum pro Gesualdo and Movements for Piano and Orchestra demi-soloists role] Violeta Angelova made particular impression."
~ "Violeta Angelova stood out for the quick airiness of her dancing in the charming Divertimento No.15"
~ "[In Divertimento No.15] There were moments and variations that rose to glory: Violeta Angelova was a quicksilver presence in the sixth and final variation."
~ "A notable exception was Violeta Angelova, who rendered the sixth variation as a presto wake-up call."
~ "Violeta Angelova, looking quite young, gave her first performance bursts of spontaneity that were like sunshine suddenly breaking through clouds."
~ "At the center of The Fairy Doll Angelova represents the Eternal Feminine;" Violeta [was] delicately suspended in balances on pointe"
~ "Violeta Angelova is piquant and saucy; she would be perfectly cast as the French Ballerina in Tudor’s Gala Performance."
We've made some of the older interviews available here. Newer ones can be found elsewhere online until we add them to this website. There are also a lot of questions answered in the Q & A section, where you can also submit your questions to V.
The J.F.Kennedy Center, The Suzanne Farrell Ballet
“Meet the Artist” Interview, Spring 2010
What is your favorite role to dance and why?
I don’t have a favorite role. But I very much enjoy when a ballet has you dancing on a feeling or when you have the chance to build a character.
What do you like to do when you are not dancing?
Usually something else connected to the Arts. Also I love nature and I try to get back to it!
TV sometimes gets in the way, hehe.
How do you prepare yourself for the physical challenges of rehearsing, performing, touring?
I train. Besides ballet class I would do my own exercises. For performing I prepare myself by rehearsing and for touring, well, let’s face it – it’s always exhausting.
What is it like to work with Ms. Farrell? Any fun and memorable stories or anecdotes about working with her?
Dancing in Ms.Farrell’s company helped open new horizons for me.
She is one of the nicest people to work with. Rehearsals with her are always productive, she knows the ballets inside and out, she tells stories sometimes, I wish we could have more time together.
There are fun moments to recall. Here is one– a little while back I wore a different leotard everyday for two or three weeks, but it was really such a routine I did not even realize. One day Suzanne came up to me during class, I finished a big port de bras, she looked at me again and asked if a have a shop.
What music do you like to listen to when you warm-up?
I listen to music more when getting to the theatre than when warming-up. It’s either an all-genre hits list or classical music.
What do you think is the most common myth about being a ballerina? What do you wish people knew about what it’s really like to be a ballerina?
I’d say the most common myth is that we all have ugly toes. I was talking to a bank manager once and he told me he knew more about ballet than most people. And followed that with “I know how your toes look”. “No, you don’t”. I was irritated.
What I wish people knew, is that there is more to ballet and to a ballerina then they assume based on clichés.
Do you feel an affinity for any particular choreographer?
I may be wrong but I don’t think so. I think I will be able to answer properly when I’m fifty years old and have retired from dancing onstage.
What is the biggest reward in your career?
Probably inspiring children to try and learn about ballet and representing Bulgaria around the world.
Excerpts from the interview for the 2010
"Personalities" article on Vio by the Bulgarian magazine "TEMA"
TEMA magazine (TM): Your mother teaches ballet, from a little girl you are connected to dance. Was a there an option for you to take off in another direction?
Violeta Angelova (VA): Surely. But I did not want to.
TM: When did you get onstage for the first time. The one at home and the big one - the world one?
VA: For the very first time - I don’t remember, and regarding the world one - today every stage is a world one.
TM: Can you remember a funny story, blunder, something that happened to you in the middle of a performance?
VA: Hmmm, yes. I was dancing Aurora, it was the scene of the awakening. I lie on the bed, the Prince comes to wake me. A kiss. I sit up and feel my head horribly heavy – exactly as if I’ve slept a hundred years. I am not sure if I heard laughter or not, but realized that the pillow is still glued to my head. It had gotten stuck to my tiara.
TM: Which one is easier: to be a ballerina or a model?
VA: I don’t know. I am a ballerina that gets photographed.
TM: In your blog you put links to websites that cater to abandoned children, write about the cruelest illness - cancer, about the American health care system and insurance. What engages you outside of dance and what charitable causes you participate in and why?
VA: This will come out sounding exceptionally pompous. But the answer is - problems of humanity. Big and small, local and global. I try to help, little by little. On a lighter note – I like fashion.
Ballet Connections Interview with Vio
Ballet Connections (BC): What is it about the culture and history of Bulgaria that makes the performing arts so important to its people?
Violeta Angelova (VA): We have character and temperament - I guess those traits play a role. We have spectacular folk music and dance that make your heart sing - it must be in the blood.
BC: Your mother is a ballet teacher. Looking back on growing up, was it an advantage or disadvantage? When did you realize you wanted to be a professional dancer?
VA: There is an old tradition - various items are placed in front of a toddler and what the child chooses is believed to show their future. I am told I chose a 3-inch thick book Notes on the Bulgarian Revolts and a pair of pointe shoes. When I entered the National School of Dance Art, my classmates gave me hard time about my Mom being a dance professional. We were 10 years old! They thought I was in the school because of her despite the rigorous selection process.
BC: How did you end up with the Vienna State Opera?
VA: When I was sixteen I was thinking between Stuttgart, Vienna and some other place and just intuitively liked Vienna. It sounds so romantic!
BC: Was this the first time you were away from home for an extended time? What kind of living quarters did you have? What was your routine like?
VA: Yes, it was right then when I left home and it was hard. I wanted to talk to my Mom everyday. I was still in school, so I was going to classes and studying to simultaneously graduate in Bulgaria. I lived in a student dorm.
BC: Were you able to see and enjoy much of Vienna? Did you get to travel throughout Austria?
VA: Yes and yes.
BC: What were the teachers like at the Vienna State Opera and did they have a particular style of instruction?
VA: A lot of them had a certain calm and I liked that. Many were international – from Great Britain, Russia, Hungary, Cuba, Romania, France.
BC: Who were some of your best teachers and what was it about them that you liked?
VA: Oh, hard question!! I have been lucky to work with many great professionals in all the companies. I enjoy learning and understanding their views and values! If talking about my senior years in school – the work of Silvia Tzankova, Valentin Onoshko, Fani Cherneva I owe a lot to.
BC: Do you prefer classical or modern dance and why?
VA: I go through phases of preference. Performing different works and roles allows different parts of ones personality to come forward.
BC: Where did you go from Vienna?
VA: To the United States. I couldn’t wait. I left few months before the end of the season.
BC: What are the differences between American and European companies?
VA: Generally in America there are separate rehearsal and performance periods. In Europe mostly it is all together, also there are state funded companies.
BC: Do you have a special routine before you perform?
BC: What do you like in a partner?
VA: I like a friendly manner. Having fun dancing together is always nice.
BC: Ballet is a never ending quest for perfection. What parts of your technique are you most satisfied with? What parts are you least satisfied with and how do you work on your technique to improve it?
VA: Also hard question! On a good day I enjoy my jumps, on a bad day - hardly anything. Practice and rest help with improvement.
BC: Do you workout in a gym?
BC: You’ve danced with companies as a guest artist and as a member of the company. Is it more difficult as a guest artist? Is it easier? How do you relate with the other dancers?
VA: It is interesting to experience the different dynamics. Sometimes it is easier, sometimes- harder. I like when there is enough time to rehearse with the rest of the cast to make friends.
BC: You were involved in a project called Through the Eyes. What was that performance? How did it come about? In general, tell us about it?
VA: That was a solo performance of sorts. I hadn’t danced in Bulgaria in a while and really wanted to! The Ministry of Culture provided a lot of the funding. I had a lot of artistic liberty and had many things going on. I only had 10 days to get it together.
BC: As part of that show you had a long solo part called Peace. What was that like working with the choreographer?
VA: The original idea was mine and I wanted to do more of a conceptual piece than a traditional dance solo. I involved a painter and another dancer and together we discussed and decided on the choreography. The hard part was doing it blinded by the spot-light in complete darkness. I later danced it on tour.
BC: Most dance pieces are with other dancers. Do you have to change your technique in anyway when you are on stage alone?
VA: It’s the other way around. When in a group you have a collective look and everyone serves that. When alone you can lift your leg as high or low as you like – just to give a very simple example.
BC: You also like working with photographers modeling. Is it in any way similar to dance?
VA: I do like photography. I did some for the movies played in my show. I enjoy collaborating with photographers in creating something interesting and beautiful. It doesn’t have the rush of live show, but has an excitement all its own. To me it is performing as well. Different medium, similar joy.
BC: What kind of photo work have you been involved in? Is it something you want to continue to do?
VA:I have worked quite a bit with Dane Shitagi. One of the things we collaborate on is called Ballerina Project – it is still evolving. Continue – yes. I have few things coming up.
BC: Where are you now? What will you be doing over the next year? Do you have other similar projects like Through the Eyes planned?
VA: I will continue my work with Suzanne Farrell. We’ll be at the Kennedy Center and we’ll tour in the United States. I guest with the Eglevsky and New Jersey Ballets and I want to start working with Morphoses-TheWheeldon Company. I look forward to all that! Also I was invited to collaborate with Quixotic Ensemble and two new projects starting in London; I teach when I can and choreograph too; I’ll absolutely do something of mine and I’m open to new works. And I hope to receive more offers like that cool-sounding play coming out this fall I had to turn down.
BC: What advice do you have for younger dancers?
VA: Be yourself.
BC: Do you have any favorite movies, books that have meant something to you?
VA: It is always difficult to narrow those things down. Bulgarian authors like Vazov and Botev are geniuses of the written word that move me deeply; History books - stories about Bulgarian revolutionaries during the 18th and 19th centuries and our Khans during the 6th, 7th and 8th centuries; The Three Musketeers; Also books by Kevyn Aucoin and Madeline Albright. I like watching European movies.
International Newspaper The Epoch Times Article
"Violeta Angelova - From head to toe"
Epoch Times(ET): I know that in Bulgaria there´s a tradition to present a child with items to choose from and the choice is believed to show the baby's future. You picked a pair of pointe shoes and the Book "Notes on the Bulgarian Revolts". Please tell us more about that.
Violeta Angelova(VA): Well that is most of it. People do that in Bulgaria. Its called "Proshtapulnik".
ET: Looking back, why did you chose the book "Notes on the Bulgarian Revolts"?
VA: I must have been eleven months old I guess so I don’t think it was a conscious decision. I like the object of a book and that is one big book(laughs). But the title - yes, nice coincidence.
ET: What was it like to grow up in a Communist country, especially in a family of artists – as your mum was a ballet teacher?
VA:My experience was only good.I think my parents mostly good too. Bulgaria is over 1300 years old and communism was a small chapter in our history.
ET: What has changed in Bulgaria since the fall of the Ceausescu-dictatorship in your point of view?
VA: Ceausescu was in Romania so his absence is of significance to that country. Change of regime shakes any country and Bulgaria is no exception. There has been struggle and work to adjust in the new situation.
ET: Your repertoire includes title roles as The Sleeping Beauty, Giselle and Don Quixote. What is your favorite role?
VA: I don’t have one. I like some roles better than others, but not a favorite one.
ET: You studied in Vienna. Is there a special connection you have with this city?
VA: I think so. I wanted to go there. I lived there and I was in love there.
ET: What is so special about Austria?
VA: Good yoghurt and chocolate (laughs).. What Austria gave to music isparamount. Idon’t thinkI can sayenough about how inspiring that has been to me. I also like Gustav Klimt a lot.
ET: I´ve seen you perform in a traditional ballets as well as modern ones. What do you enjoy more?
VA: I enjoy them both!
ET: What thoughts do you have when you perform – if there is any room left for thoughts apart from concentration..?
VA: There is more feelings than thoughts. Depending on the role you can have time for thinking,but it can bedangerousto let yourmindwander out of focus.I usuallythink as my character.Think with their mind be it a "real" or an"abstract" being.Besides the funI think itinevitably makesyour performancemore believable.
ET: The world is opening up. Have you ever seen anybody perform classical Chinese dance?
VA: Yes. It is very entertaining and multifaceted. I like the martial arts influences.
ET: It is said that in Chinese classical dance, the inner feeling is as important as the outward technique, and that dance is an expression of gratefulness and appreciation to gods. What do you think about this approach, is it in any way similar to the approach in Western ballet?
VA: I wouldn’t say its similar if we talk about ballet. But its different when it comes to other forms of dance.
ET: You are not only a gifted dancer, but also a talented model for
photographers. What do you like about photography?
VA: Its helps to connect people. Its fun, its art, its important.
ET: What moves you, I mean, emotionally?
VA: Love, Care. People and the things they do for good causes.
ET: You are rather young but have already achieved a lot. What is it you still want to achieve?
VA: There is a lot. Having a family, more learning, ever expanding my horizons!
ET: The famous German choreographer Pina Bausch died just this week. Have you ever come across her work and if yes, what impact did it have on you?
VA: Thatwas sad news for all in thetheatre andperforming arts.I ofcourse had come acrossher work. She wasinspiring to so many!
ET: Who are the three people in dance that have inspired you most?
VA: Grading things like this is impossible. Plus - I get inspiredby people whose namesI don't even know.
ET: After your death: What should people say about you at your funeral?
VA: I hope they say I was a nice person and that my art touched them.
ET: Thank you very much!
4DANCERS.ORG Interview with Vio 2010
4DANCERS (4D): Tell me a bit about your background in ballet.
Violeta Angelova (VA): I spent substantial time in the Vaganova training,
then the Western school and am now
immersed in American ballet.
4D: What are you currently doing?
VA: Right now I perform for The Suzanne Farrell Ballet at the
Kennedy Center in Washington.
4D: Can you share some advice for those who want to be a
VA: Dancing is a commitment. And there is a difference
between the lives of professionals in ballet and the lives of
professionals in competitive dance for example. In any case
it is hard work, so make sure you know what you want
and what you are getting into.
4D: One thing I noticed about you is that you have a very
creative spirit. Do you think that adds something special to your
performances as a dancer, and if so, how?
VA: It depends on the role or style I am dancing. Some
parts allow more room for flair than others. I have been
told I surprised people by elements I add. But I can’t
really see myself so I can’t give more definitive answer
here.An intelligent mind is indispensable to any artist.
Especially if one is to enrich or challenge the audience.
With dance you also need your body to facilitate your vision.
4D: What is the high point of your career so far?
VA: Carrying a show or meeting the President could qualify.
But it was realizing that I have to follow what is within me
and should not hide that I am different.
4D: Can you tell me about any challenges that you have
faced in dance and what you have done to overcome them?
VA: I am an imperfect perfectionist. I cope with that every day.
4D: What does your warm-up consist of before a performance?
VA: Usually it’s half an hour to an hour of warm-up exercises plus another hour for hair, make-up and shoes preparation.
4D: Can you share five items you can’t live without on tour?
VA: Pointe shoes, underpants, water. Can’t live without them, hehe..
I like to be comfortable when traveling, so I take things. Sometimes situations have you go without the elements you enjoy. For me foam roller, foot roller, heating pad in winter, tea even in summer and iPod – these are all on the list.
4D: You recently launched The Vio Shop. What does it have and how did that idea come about?
VA: The idea just came to me. It was a while back and originally I dismissed it. Right now in the shop we have the “Angel” tutu, first model of the Viotard, gifts, among them posters. We might add more things in the future.
4D: What is next for you?
VA: Dancing, reading and hopefully spending more time on and showing original works.