90 years ago, on 13 March 1929, the person that changed the history of contemporary ballet was born in Bulgaria. Maestro Emil Dimitrov is a respected musician, conductor, professor and public figure, but his greatest merit is the founding and development over the year of the first in the world professional international ballet competition – the Varna Competition. Art manager of the highest class, Maestro Dimitrov has set up the organisational structure of International Ballet Competition – Varna, and this structure has become a model that has given rise to all subsequent major dance competitions around the planet.
Thanks to his selflessness, diplomacy and determination to preserve and develop the Competition, Varna and Bulgaria have found their deserved place on the map of ballet, and Varna Competition continues to be the most prestigious ballet forum.
The prizes won in Varna have been and still are the starting point of a star career on the most elite stages around the world. Almost all the brightest stars of world ballet in the last almost six decades have received their first international recognition at Varna Competition. Among those stars are Vladimir Vassiliev, Natalia Makarova, Eva Evdokimova, Mikhail Barishnikov, Natalia Bessmertnova, Patrick Dupond, Silvie Guillem, Agnes Letestu, Yoko Morishita, Martin Van Hamel, Evelyn Hart, Loypa Araujo, Vladimir Malakhov, Fernando Bujones, Maxikiliano Guerra, Marin Boieru, Rasta Thomas.
A great visionary with ideas about the future of dance forums Maestro Dimitrov has also founded the International Summer Ballet Academy which over the years has provided young talents with the opportunity to learn directly from their idols who are regularly present in Varna as members of the Competition Jury. The Maestro’s ideas have been followed by “International Ballet Competition – Varna” Foundation and before every new edition of the Competition his successors and followers compare their criteria with the spirit of this outstanding person and artist.
Maestro Emil Dimitrov’s overall activities until his last day (25.1.2011) have been dedicated to boosting the Competition position as the most eagerly expected event in the field of dance – he has made the forum a genuine Ballet Olympiad. That is why Maestro Dimitrov continues to be the only and unforgettable Knight of Ballet for the whole ballet world.