Some years ago, a group of fun-loving friends spent their free evenings at the Bulgarian Cultural Centre. Mostly of Bulgarian origin, they loved listening to music from the Balkans and teaching each other some basic Bulgarian folk dance steps. In 1996 the group decided to form a professional dance group and promote Bulgarian culture among a larger audience. Belonging to the Jantra community brings joy to an increasing number of young people ever since - may they be dancers, spectators or friends.
The dance group was named after Jantra, a river in northern Bulgaria, beginning in the Balkans and joining the Danube. Most of Bulgarian horticulturist families come from this region. They migrated to Hungary in several waves during the 19th and 20th century, representing the greater part of Bulgarian minority living in Hungary. Members of this community still cultivate a close relationship with the region. Our dance group visits our ancestors’ villages on a regular basis.
Anna Szalay and Dancso Muszev lead our group of more than 35–40 people aged between 15 and 40.
Our members always put their hearts, souls and enthusiasm into all their performances, which is perhaps their most valuable scenic tool. Authenticity and professional planning of each show are also essential. A quality performance is guaranteed by Kaia Ivanova and Christo Ivanov, once choreographers of the Filip Kutev Bulgarian State Folklore Ensemble and currently lecturers at the National Institute of Choreographers in Sofia.
During the first years, the Söndörgő Orchestra accompanied Jantra. Since 2005, the Pravo Orchestra has provided an always lively ambience during and after shows. Originally from Békéscsaba, all members are accomplished folk and jazz musicians. Occasionally the Rila Orchestra accompanies our dancers. Beside excellent Hungarian musicians, Bulgarian formations also support our dance group at important and international shows. The Slavia Orchestra consists of the Bulgarian National Radio soloists. Authentic orchestration is the hallmark of Gaytan Orchestra from the Pirin mountains.
Bulgarian Folk Dance Group, Jantra is one of the most acclaimed performers in Bulgarians’ cultural life in Budapest. They are continuously giving shows in the capital as well as in the countryside. On a regular basis, they have been invited to events organized by Bulgarian ethnic municipalities, Balkan Voice, Folklore Nationalities Meeting in Ráckeve, Gisella-days in Veszprém.
The dance group always ensures high level performances through continuous professional trainings. Our dancers take part in several folklore seminars each year. These trainings take place either in folk dance residencies or in a series of concentrated rehearsal sessions. Bulgarian guest choreographers teach them new suites or help refine their steps through useful exercises.