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Burning Embers and Hot Sun

Desi Jordanoff, founder of Zharava (Burning Embers), is passionate about sharing the Bulgarian culture. Since 2006, she has been teaching the ancient dances of this beautiful land to hundreds of people of all ages. Zharava has about 55 regular dancers. On a hot Saturday morning in Meridian Hill Park in Washington, DC, 13 of those dancers donned the authentic wool costumes to perform their original choreography to 3 sections of Beethoven's 9th Symphony.

Valiantly, the dancers performed before the large stair-step fountain of the park, now dry, as the crew filmed from what is normally a reflecting pool. To capture the beautiful patterns made by their dance, we wanted to shoot from above, but in DC, drones are not permitted. We came up with a unique solution, attaching a Hero GoPro to an extension pole, and with several people holding and our cameraman guiding the camera, we film them from above.

When we switched locations to shoot their final dance, the sun was really blazing down. Trying to manage the cameras and capture the intricate choreography was quite a feat. But through it all, they danced as if it were a lovely fresh morning. As they finished each section, spontaneous applause would break out.

After the shoot ended, our camera team traveled over to the Jefferson Memorial, where Zharava was performing along with a number of other Bulgarian artists. On the steps of the beautiful monument, the traditional dances were performed, then joined by onlookers. We could see that there is power in the love of one's roots and culture--and that, like burning embers, that passion can ignite new fires wherever they go.

Lan is vlogging about each group as we go, so you'll get to meet some of these outstanding dancers on that vlog "Following Joy!" Thank you, Zharava!

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