Beyond Nation? A Thrice-Told Tale from Bulgaria’s Postsocialist Soundstage

Main Article Content

Donna A. Buchanan


This article juxtaposes musical and dramatic productions popularized by three prominent Bulgarian national folkloric ensembles during the 2000s to illuminate the perspectival dialogues on nation at play within Bulgarian artistic communities. While presentations by the National Folkloric Ensemble “Bŭlgare” traffic in timeworn but disturbingly powerful primordialist appeals to ethnonationalist sentiment, those of rhythmic gymnast Neshka Robeva’s company “Neshanŭl Art” sidestep and extend the concept of nation by resituating local choreography and movement in a diaspora of international venues and transnational genres. Most strikingly, through strategically composed and choreographed works that call upon diverse regional and international folkloric and popular culture styles, including those of minority populations, the National Folkloric Ensemble “Philip Kutev” is deliberately performing against gender and ethnonationalist stereotypes in favor of productions cosmopolitan in form and postnationalist in content. In so doing, they are redefining the very essence of “national” folklore in direct defiance of a lingering socialist-era cultural policy legacy, while simultaneously parrying market tensions, touristic expectations, and dwindling governmental support.



Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
Buchanan, D. A. (2015). Beyond Nation? A Thrice-Told Tale from Bulgaria’s Postsocialist Soundstage. Anthropology of East Europe Review, 33(1), 1–29. Retrieved from