The dancer and the painter
The mosaics and paintings on the walls of Plovdiv are not random. They reveal the story of the painter and the dancer. Dimtri and Rosalia, two artists whose destinies and lives have been tied to the city.
They got married when Rosalia was back on holidays from the Bolchoï. When visiting his new bride in Moscow, Dimitri Kirov started to draw and paint her, and soon they came back to Bulgaria, to Plovdiv.
With very little money to live on, they were put up for a long time in a small part of one of their friend’s house in the old side of town. But Rosalia’s career in Plovdiv grew more and more and Dimitri’s paintings started to sell. She became the star of the ballet of the opera, created the school of ballet of Plovdiv while she was still a dancer.
She gave this city the first ballet school it ever had. Today, girls and boys from Plovdiv and all the villages nearby have a chance to discover ballet, to get the dancing education which could lead them to the great school of ballet in Sofia. Rosalia gave this opportunity to two generations of dancers. It’s been opened for the last 45 years.
Our interview with the beautiful, moving and lively Rosalia Kirova was a very intense moment. We got to visit all the rooms filled with paintings of her husband’s, many inspired by her dancing. Dimitri Kirov died a little more than a year ago and this “grand homme” as she calls him, still lives in her, in memories and with all the art. His things haven’t been moved nor his radio turned off and Rosalia along with her friends are doing their best to open a Dimitri Kirov museum in Plovdiv other than the walls of the old town – I mean.
Rosalia is a clairvoyant person. I don’t know if she was always like this, but today after a long and fulfilling career, she can reflect on her life, she knows she was meant to stay here. In Plovdiv she could have an impact, she could be the étoile de ballet she wanted to be. She could teach and share her experience.
Dancing as music is governed by contest and competition. Rosalia knew that the Bolchoï was not for her, she doesn’t say this with any regret, she understood the importance of finding one’s place and Dimitri who could have had a career anywhere, in Paris, in Istanbul where he was born, and in all the cities of Europe, only wanted to stay in the city with the red and blue houses, the city where Rosalia could shine bright and be the accomplished dancer she was.
Today she does her best with the small means that the school has. With 30 students in her class, she teaches classical ballet, danse de caractère, and brings a teacher from Sofia to teach a modern jazz dance class every tuesday. The classes go from Monday to Friday from 8 am to the afternoon. But the school cannot pay the heating system during the week-end. Each year she organizes a ballet with all her students, often in the Antique Theatre of Plovdiv, this year it will be Pakita and the three best 16-year-old girls in her class are preparing for the roles. Caroline Lemière will help this week and bring the French school in this Russian style class.
Rosalia regrets only one thing. She loved her period of life, the time when classical dancing was regarding with admiration, the time when working hard and with a lot of efforts was highly valued. She sees that people tend to choose the easy way and classical dancing and music in her country suffer the consequences. But she will not give up, she will continue to inspire young dancers.
I will ask Caroline Lemière to give you her insight later.