Gabriel Stoyanov: The ballet world is evolving – I don’t think perfection is possible

Bulgarian National Radio


From “Rosna Kitka” to “Agripina Vaganova” Academy in St. Petersburg.

Gabriel Stoyanov is a ballet dancer, choreographer, classical dancer and not only – dance is an integral part of his destiny. In 2020, Gabriel was accepted to do a doctorate at the A. Ya. Vaganova Academy in St. Petersburg.

About the journey from Bulgaria to Switzerland and to Russia, about the teachers and their significant role in life, about the love for the art of ballet, about what inspires him, and about the Academy of Russian Ballet “A. Ya. Vaganova” – tells in “Artefir” Gabriel Stoyanov:

Dance as destiny

“Ballet fascinates, admires aesthetics, all the perfection of forms … At the age of 5, my parents took me to the folk ensemble“ Rosna Kitka. ”Somehow they defined my destiny.

Bulgaria is also known for its traditions in ballet and professionalism in the art of ballet. The Pancho Vladigerov Music Academy has given me a lot. Assoc. Prof. Kalina Bogoeva, who was constantly by my side during all these 6 years of my studies, has helped me a lot.

Ballet is an art that has become a business card of Russia. The A.Ya. Vaganova Academy was established in 1738. It manages to preserve the whole history to this day, absolutely everything in classical dance, which has not been lost even to this day. If earlier it was seen how the artists dance and how much they are musical, today it is the same way. I think that the Academy “A. Ya. Vaganova ”and to this day is a huge pedestal of ballet art.

There was an upgrade of material that was handed over to me from Bulgaria. ”

The measure of perfection in ballet

“In general, I believe that in the ballet world there is no way to achieve perfection – it is work on yourself throughout life – both physically and not only. We must always develop, there must be a good foundation to relate to, this is Vaganova, of course, but the world is evolving in our time, over the years the ballet world is evolving a lot – I do not think that perfection can be achieved. ”

Listen to the entire interview in the sound file above.

“Successful professional dancers – Laura Fernandez-Gromova & Gabriel Stoyanov – tell stories through their dance!”

Cover Ballet Shop Magazine Zurich


Pain on the Quest of Perfection



A beautiful spectacle, or a life of pressure and pain on the quest for perfection? We’re left pondering this question as the world of ballet remains one of secrecy. Until we’ve talked to Laura and Gabriel. The practice is an eternal concept, where they would endlessly repeat graceful movements until every muscle fell delicately into place. And it’s certainly no easy feat. ‘Dancers prepare like actors if they have a ‘role’ with research and so on, but the repetition of the physical rehearsal in the quest for perfection is grueling. Bear in mind that they don’t just do one whole run of a show like in musical theatre or acting. They could be rehearsing for two different classics and a couple of triple bills all in one week. In other words, ballet has survived for centuries because hundreds of thousands of people decided that it should. That is what culture is, after all: people deciding, en masse, that something matters. Ballet is the result of almost 400 years worth of people all around the world — dancers, repetitors, ballet masters, set designers, the people who make pointe shoes by hand, and all the people who trained all those people — deciding that this old art form is still worth their time. Ballet is a quest for perfection that doesn’t exist, but still, there are precious, perfect moments. It is also important to bring your own feelings into the movement. Develop your own unique movement style. Each body has its own way of moving, but it takes time to find it. Laura Fernandez-Gromova studied at the Dance Academy Zurich under the direction of Oliver Matz and at the Vaganova Ballet Academy in Russia. She has already won 3 prizes at the Prix de Lausanne, one of the most important international competitions for young dancers. She is as well former ballet dancer at the Mariinsky Theater and currently performs as a soloist at the Stanislavsky Theater in Moskow. Gabriel Stoyanov is presently working as a guest artist and acclaimed ballet teacher. He was recently admitted to the most prestigious ballet school in the world of ballet, the “Vaganova Ballet Academy” in St. Petersburg, director People’s Artist of Russia – Nikolay Maximovich Tsiskaridze. “Choreographic art” is a specialty in which he specializes in obtaining a doctorate. Doctor of Science (Cultural Studies), Professor, Head of Post-Graduate Studies, and as well his mentor Irina Igorevna Irhen. Laura and Gabriel share a passion for movement and a love for telling stories through dance. They are both proud that they never gave up as children. They had to sacrifice a lot for it, almost the whole childhood, a big part of their free time. It was hard work with many ups and downs. You have to and want to give everything every day. For them, a dream has come true and they cannot imagine a life without ballet. The connection and the friendship that had developed over time made them want to create together. In times where art is struggling a lot, they’ve exploded with energy, ready to conquer the world by creating a video out of which is our new cover. Video about love, passion, emotion, fight, respecting your dance partner, sadness, happiness, distancing, connection…It literally has everything in it. They are absorbed in the dance. The dance that’s not just body movement, but their soul, their passion, their feelings. Those are the precious perfect moments. Moments that can not be repeated, but are worth trying.

“When you have a direction.” Gabriel Stoyanov to the top in ballet

Free Europe Media Group; Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL)

Despite the pandemic, 2020 is the most successful in the career of Gabriel Stoyanov. It is already part of the most prestigious ballet academy in the world.


When dreams come true: Gabriel, who is part of the prestigious Vaganova Ballet Academy

Bulgarian National Television

Bulgarian in one of the oldest ballet schools in the world – “ Vaganova ” in St. Petersburg – what is the story of the ballet dancer Gabriel Stoyanov? One candid interview on national television!




Gabriel’s dream is to dance. From an early age, he was enchanted by the Bulgarian folk dances. He later rediscovered ballet!

I was born in Sofia, I grew up in the village of Dobroslavtsi and I started dancing at the age of five. “My mother took me to the Rosna Kitka folk ensemble, and that’s how my development in the world of dance began,” he recalls.

Krassimira Koldamova – she directs him to ballet.

So after the National Ballet School and the National Academy of Music, Gabriel left for Poland. There is part of a ballet troupe. His talent was quickly noticed, although he began to engage in fine art at a much later age. He has danced in ballet productions such as The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Coppelia, and Giselle.

“It’s a world where you definitely have to work extremely hard, to prove yourself every day, whether you’re tired, you’re in the mood or not. A world of cruel discipline,” tells Gabriel

“It was quite difficult, I had to work extra, I worked with Russian teachers, also in Bulgaria with Kalina Bogoeva. I took extra lessons. The first month after I met my teacher, he literally put me between two chairs to keep me as stretched as possible. He sat on me, he lifted my legs up, literally all this training in the first month was very important, “the dancer recalls.

After years of hard work, he moved to Switzerland, where he was invited to teach young children. “Switzerland is quite a business-oriented country with a lot of positives, but ballet is definitely the pride of Russia. The state is trying to attract people who can contribute to the development of children, “said Gabriel.

His big dream continues to be connected with the stage of the Bolshoi Theater. “I’m in the studio every day and even if it hurts, I keep going because I think that when a person has an extremely clear goal and dreams and follows it uncompromisingly, there is no way it can’t happen. It takes discipline and a lot of work, ”says Gabriel.

Today he is 27, already speaks four languages, and only a month ago he made a huge step towards the realization of his dream by accepting a doctorate at one of the most prestigious ballet academies in the world – “Vaganova” in St. Petersburg, Russia.

“This is the oldest ballet academy. It has existed for 283 years, created by Empress Anna. And the academy has built a bunch of world luminaries in the ballet world, not only as dancers but also as educators. The method used is the same as 200 years ago, “said Gabriel.

The prestigious academy is named after the ballet master Agripina Vaganova. Ballet dancers such as Rudolf Nureyev and Svetlana Zakharova studied there. The Bulgarian prima ballerina Masha Ilieva also graduated there.

Gabriel’s training is currently online. He can’t wait for the end of the pandemic to attend his lectures on Russian soil and touch his dream.

Gabriel Stoyanov: Ballet introduces me to the magical world of dreams, youth and beauty

True Story Magazine



The dance of the most beautiful and tender love or the most burning and destructive feelings. The countless emotions gathered on this earth and recreated with every particle of the body. This is ballet. The art of beauty before which we remain silent and of perfection that takes our breath away.

We are talking about the magic of ballet, its infinitely rich history, as well as the pain and work behind its success, with Gabriel Stoyanov – ballet master/ballet dancer, deservedly honored to study at one of the most prestigious ballet dancers. schools in the world.

Hello, Gabriel! Introduce yourself briefly to us.

Gabriel: Hello and thank you for the invitation to do this interview. It is a great pleasure for me.

My name is Gabriel Stoyanov, 27 years old. I was born in Sofia, but I grew up not far from the city, in the villages of Dobroslavtsi and Balsha. I would say that my childhood was filled with many games on the street, a lot of fun with the children from the neighboring houses, a lot of time spent with grandparents from both villages. I love when I return to Bulgaria to go to them and just talk. To tell them about interesting events from the world, to listen to them…

I have wonderful parents who have always supported me in the decisions and choices in my life.

When did your love for ballet appear?

Gabriel: I’ve been dancing since I was 5 and I’ve always loved to dance. I still remember how important it was to me! My mother, seeing my desire and my love for dance, gave me to the preparatory group in the ensemble “Rosna Kitka”. I don’t remember exactly, but then I think we had a Lada car and since she didn’t know how to get there, my father drove us to the place. The two more or less somehow determined my destiny, for which I am still grateful to this day. Maybe twice I didn’t want to go dancing, but that wasn’t an option. They always said that once I got caught up in the dance, I would dance it to the end!

Then I entered the National School of Dance Art, Bulgarian Dance Department, where I studied for 5 years in the class of Nikola Kolev. It was a wonderful time, but also very difficult. Every year exams, grades, sweat, tears, injuries. It was not easy to get in shape, we were preparing for the state exams, and each class had to be completed as a last resort. I still remember the feeling of excitement in front of them.

Tell us about your development as a ballet dancer – from the very beginning until today.

Gabriel: From a young age I chose this path – to be a ballet dancer and to dance on stage. Despite the watchful eye of Nikola Kolev and the boundless professionalism during all these years of study, I secretly went up to the “ballet floor”, as we distributed them (the National School has three specialties and three separate floors – Bulgarian Dance, Classical Ballet and Modern Ballet ) and additionally entered the classes of Peter Koldamov, I remember that I attended the pas de deux class of Boyko Nedelchev, worked a lot with Anatoly Klochkov and it was very important for me to get as much information as possible, I just wanted to learn. The turning point came when I started working with Acad. Krassimira Koldamova, who I still do not miss to visit every time I visit Bulgaria. She gave me a lot, she taught me a lot.

I love Bulgarian dances, but inside my heart, I knew that I would continue with ballet and follow my dreams in this direction. I have never regretted it, not for a second. I do not see myself in any other profession, except as a ballet dancer. At least at this stage. After graduating from the National School of Dance in 2012, I was admitted to the prestigious National Academy of Music “Pancho Vladigerov” in Sofia, majoring in Ballet Pedagogy of Education under the guidance of Kalina Bogoeva. In the same year, I left the country and went dancing in Poland. In 2018 I completed a master’s degree with the title of Ballet Master. I will never forget the words of Assoc. Prof. Kalina Bogoeva on the last day when she handed me the diploma. Then she said: “Go, find a male ballet teacher from a Russian school, rehearse with him for a while, you have the qualities, you have the talent, only good things will happen to you.” That’s what I did! She is the other person who plays a huge role in my development and I will always be grateful to her. The support I receive from her in every small success of mine is indescribable.

Later I was invited to teach in Switzerland, where I still live today.

In recent years I have been dancing mainly as a guest performer. Extremely much with the prima ballerina Myrna Kamara (in Switzerland, Italy, America).

I enjoy how diverse dance can be and the freedom of expression it gives. I especially love ballet because of its beauty and complexity. It is a spiritual art that not every viewer can appreciate with dignity.

Dancing helps me feel calm after a busy day, as well as recharge. This clears my mind and gives me a natural boost of energy. I love the fact that everything that happened during the day or week I can leave behind after putting on ballet shoes.

You are currently studying for a doctorate at one of the most prestigious ballet academies in the world – “Agripina Ya. Vaganova” in St. Petersburg, Russia. How does it feel to touch such an opportunity?

Gabriel: Ballet – an art that has become a business card of Russia, which fascinates, admires the aesthetics, grace, and perfection of forms – plastic body, very gentle, soft hands, perfect coordination… On my first visit to the school in February last year, I was fascinated by the great discipline, the incredible diligence of the students, the historic building, the school museum, which is a wonderful book that contains a history of great personalities and events. On the walls of the 7 floors, there are photos of all graduates from the establishment of the academy in 1738 to the present day. Definitely life in the academy. I managed to visit the class of the People’s Artist of Russia, Rector of the Academy Nikolai Maksimovich Tsiskaridze. Then Lyudmila Kovalyova came in, said good afternoon, and sat down next to me to look too. I had the feeling that my heart would jump with excitement… Then I said to myself that one day I will be a graduate of this academy and I will follow this dream of mine until it becomes a reality.

Classical dance has not lost its popularity there for many years. For 283 years now, the Agripina Ya. Vaganova Academy has existed – it is still strong and continues to be at this level as it was in the Soviet Union. In my opinion, the requirements for ballet have become more serious nowadays. After all, the aesthetics have changed: in the past, the form was not much-watched, it was important how the artists dance, how musical they are, how dramatically they play their role. Now we want to see on stage beautiful shapes, beautiful figures, beautiful artists. At the same time, they have to dance well and be musical.

The modern world looks at things differently. But as far as classical art is concerned, yes, I believe that my “new home,” so to speak, is still in front of everyone.

It was August. After three tense rounds, through which they passed the exams, the tension did not leave me. I remember that the list of accepted students came out on Sunday. When I saw my name among those accepted, believe me, I did not know how to react. I assumed I must have been mistaken and probably misread. I told myself that I would wait until Monday to receive written confirmation and then celebrate. I was right, I received a congratulatory email on Monday morning. I was accepted to continue my education at the academy I had dreamed of as a child, I could not believe that I would have the opportunity to touch all these great educators, about whom I had only read or watched interviews, that I would draw information from the sources of ballet art. Believe me, then for the first time I felt that something big had happened in my life. I specialize in doctoral studies in Ballet Master’s Education – Choreographic Art. Huge thanks to my artistic director – Doctor of Cultural Sciences, Professor, Head of the Department of Postgraduate Qualification Irina Igorevna Irhen.

What is the level of ballet art in Bulgaria?

Gabriel: By Anastas Petrov and the founding of the Bulgarian Ballet Theater – Bulgaria is known as a country with traditions and high professionalism in the field of ballet. An example is all the above-mentioned personalities who occupy a worthy place in the treasury of Bulgarian ballet – Bulgarian artists, pedagogies, and choreographers.

Also, the end of the Second World War and the strengthening of Bulgaria’s ties with Soviet Russia had a positive effect on the future of our ballet art. The contribution of the Russian ballet emigrants to the rise of ballet art, to its revival and renewal, is another finding for the development of the Bulgarian ballet art.

It would be wonderful for a country like Bulgaria to have a mission to discover and promote young ballet talents. Ballet theatrical art in general. The ballet competition in Varna is an example of the world-renowned events taking place in the country.

Yes, the main thing – this is, of course, work on yourself throughout life. And physically, and not only. It is not in vain that we have professional and general professional disciplines at school. In the humanitarian sense, it must develop very actively. And not just what they give at school. We learn all our lives.

And if we think about how many personalities, how many children have glorified and continue to glorify Bulgaria with their talent, their dedication, and desire to reach new heights – then we will understand how much a whole nation can be proud of.

I very much hope that the media coverage would grow, as it is also very important.

From whom do you draw inspiration in a professional nature?

Gabriel: At the moment, I’m very inspired by old Soviet ballet documentaries. Firstly, because I practice my Russian, secondly because there is so much history in them.

Especially the teaching method… I ask myself: Is it changing?

You always have to evolve. There must be a good foundation, but if there is something to be built, it must be built, not to give it up. Agrippina Vaganova is our foundation on which we must stand, not to leave it, say. But all supplements, if they are beneficial – why not? It makes me constantly ask questions, helps me go to the studio, and tries to make something in a way that has inspired me. My teachers inspire me a lot. And last but not least, my ballet teacher. I have full confidence in him, which I think is extremely important, because, without the physical, emotional, and psychological support, without the great respect for each other, without all the times in which this man has encouraged me, without constructive criticism and the desire for high achievements, without the challenges posed to me during the work process, without the incredible discipline and upbringing to lead a healthier lifestyle – I would not have been able to develop. In the ballet profession, without burning in your work, a professional result is not obtained.

What do the stage and the dance give you?

Dance is like magic that no one can escape. And no, not just the dance, but the perfect dance called ballet. With so much tenderness, grace, vanity, imagination, and emotion in it, this art is, to put it mildly, exquisite and incomparable. Classical ballet introduces me to a magical world full of dreams, youth, and beauty. I read somewhere that ballet is like painting on the water – I think this comparison almost perfectly describes the magic of this kind of art.