Zornitsa Stoyanova (USA/BUL) is an award winning performance artist, curator, writer, lighting and video designer based between Philadelphia, USA and Sofia, Bulgaria. A native of Bulgaria, she holds B.A. in Dance and Sound Design from Bennington College, VT (’06). After concluding her studies, she moved to Philadelphia, PA and in the summer of 2020, the pandemic and need for help with her children made her relocate again to her hometown of Sofia, Bulgaria.
Based between Sofia and Philadelphia, she directs her company BodyMeld which along with presenting her work, focuses on creating programs in support of independent choreographers in both her locales.
Her stage, video and photographic work uses the female body as an abstract object revealing ideas of strength in female sensuality and emotionality. On stage, she explores feminist ideas, the power dynamics between dancers and audiences, and personal stories revealing vulnerability and strength.
She is deeply inspired by artists like Anthony McCall, James Turrell and Japanese choreographer Naoko Tanaka. Mylar reflective material and custom lighting are integral part of her work.
In 2008 Zornitsa was a fellow with Headlong Performance Institute (Philadelphia), where she focused on abstract character building, clowning and interactive theatrical performance. Later, her studies with Deborah Hay sparked an interest in performance presence and deconstruction of communication thorough posture and gesture. Since then, Zornitsa has sought out professional development opportunities researching art practices both digital and analog in abstracting the body and looking for emotional content and potential for meaning in the body. Her most influential teachers include Meg Stuart, Miguel Gutierrez, Michelle Boule, Ishmael Houston Jones, Susan Rethorst, Fay Driscoll, Luciana Achugar, Danny Lepkoff amongst others.
While an artist in residence at Meet the Next Generation program, part of eXplore Dance Festival 2011 in Bucharest, Romania, she studied with Meg Stuart. To this date Zornitsa uses Stuart’s methodologies in working with power dynamics and physical states in performance.
In September 2015, she started a yearlong residency at <fidget> space in Philadelphia exploring personal narratives along with custom lighting and Mylar multimedia interaction. Her residency brought her to producing a collection of photography and dance on camera she calls Body Etudes as well her first full evening length award winning solo called Explicit Female. In 2018 she was invited to show work for the first time in her native Bulgaria as part of Etude and Friends performance Festival, which resulted in making her next solo performance Un-seen. In 2019 she was commissioned by the Philadelphia Museum of Art to create a performance in relation to their exhibit Designs for Different Futures and AndroMeda was shown on January 31st, 2020.
Zornitsa is a supporter for a sustainable dance community. From 2006 until 2019, she was an on and off member of Mascher Space Cooperative, where thru out the years she served as Membership, Space, Programs and Finance Administrator. She is deeply invested in helping further conversation and collaboration in the local and global dance community. As BodyMeld (previously known as Here[begin] Dance) she has curated and produced Current: an evening of dance and art and Dance Cinema Projects (2007 – 2011). She has hosted and organized multiple workshops for the community and taught free workshops in making web sites for artists and budgeting. In February 2015, she started a community dance workshop in collaboration with <fidget> space called Get What You Need that has since expanded to a 7 month long residency and is going to this day. Along with fellow artist Kristen Shahverdian and Jacelyn Biondo, Zornitsa curated Move Dance Think Fest in 2016.
She teaches improvisation technique for performance, dance on camera and composition and has done so in Philadelphia, France, Hungary and her native Bulgaria. As a dancer she has performed for Eiko & Koma, Boris Charmatz, Cie. Willy Dorner, Lionel Popkin, Group Motion and others. Her experimental dance films have been shown across the U.S. and in Mexico, Argentina, Uruguay, Bulgaria, Ireland and Bangladesh. Zornitsa is also writes for thINKingDance.net.
She is a huge fan of sci-fi, loves dark chocolate and up until recently lived in the trendy Fishtown neighborhood in Philly. Now she dances in her home studio at the bottom of Vitosha Mountains, right outside Sofia, with her much more famous artist husband Greg Dunn and their two boys.