BodyMeld – new choreographies Contemporary dance, choreography and dance workshops by Zornitsa Stoyanova

BodyMeld Performance Research Academy

professional level training

6 sessions from
March to June 2023
in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Archive Photos from our session in 2023.

A total of 26 artists from Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Turkey, Israel/Germany, France, Belgium, Ukraine, Hungary, and Denmark took part in the first BodyMeld Performance Research Academy. In addition, more than 50 different people took part in our open workshops with the guest choreographers and Zornitsa Stoyanova. Below you can find some photos.


BodyMeld Performance Research Academy is a professional multigenre program led by 5 international teachers in Sofia, Bulgaria. The academy has the goal to offer further education as well as a place for research in multigenre performance for working artists between 25 and 99.

We focus on instant composition and devised performance merging dance and the use of voice and emergent text/poetry. We base our inquiries within the body and sensation, using a universe of compositional tools to bring forth our inner worlds.

We are focused on the making of new performance, working toward shedding our armor and finding the power in being vulnerable and authentic. Only then do we feel we can start creating the rich poetic potential coded in our bodies and tie it to the years of knowledge and experience we share.

Who is this for:

The Academy is open to all nationals between 25 and 99 years. It is an in-person-only program. A prerequisite is at least two years of professional experience in the performance field, either as a choreographer/dancer, actor/director, performance artist, or singer/performer. Please, note that our base is always movement, so you should feel comfortable moving and aware of your body in order to delve deeper into all of the possible compositional modes. We are seeking mature people, who are interested in expanding their own knowledge and possibilities within this field. The goal of this program is to create a cohort of multigenerational researchers that by the end would share knowledge, language, and tools to continue creating and expanding their own practice of devised performance.

We do not accept students enrolled in a different higher education program.

The official language of the academy is English, but translation to Bulgarian is offered when needed.


international teachers


week-long sessions


International participants

FREE Tuition

once accepted


Five international teachers each of whom have more than 20 years of professional experience in instant composition working with dance, voice, and text.

Peter Sciscioli (USA)

Zornitsa Stoyanova (USA/BUL)

Paolo Cingolani (ITA)

Megan Bridge (USA)

Stephen Batts (N. Ireland)


In order to attend the academy you have to commit to all six modules. Please, note that some modules are half days and some modules are full days over the span of a work week (5 days). We are hoping that this makes it more possible for people who are working or rehearsing for other projects to attend.

IN-PERSON AUDITION – Jan. 29th, 2023 10:00h – 14:00h in Sofia.

This will be an open class, mutual audition led by Zornitsa Stoyanova. Once you submit your application you will be notified if you are invited to the in-person audition. 35 people max will be invited to the in-person audition.

ALTERNATIVE ONLINE AUDITION – if you are unable to attend the in-person audition, please submit your application with as much detail and video of your work as you think we would need. We will contact you for an interview to meet and see if the program would be a good fit.


Peter Sciscioli

Peter Sciscioli (pronounced sh-SHOL-ee, he/him/his) is a Brooklyn-based interdisciplinary performer, creator, educator, and producer whose work encompasses dance, music, theater, and film. Since 1997 he has been creating performance works through a choreographic lens with a wide variety of collaborators for concert, site-specific, and theater venues around the world. In 2008, he created Peter Sciscioli Performance Projects, and in 2012 founded the International Interdisciplinary Artists Consortium, a network of artists and producers working across disciplines and cultures.

Peter has worked extensively with composer/singer/director Meredith Monk since 2003 in a variety of capacities including performer, rehearsal assistant, workshop coordinator, and producer. He is a co-founder of The M6: Meredith Monk Music Third Generation, helping to preserve Ms. Monk’s extraordinary musical legacy. He has also performed in work by such luminaries as Matthew Barney and Jonathan Bepler, Ping Chong, DD Dorvillier, Daria Faïn, Philip Glass and Mary Zimmerman, Susan Marshall, Fiona Templeton, and as a member of Jane Comfort and Company (2004-2010) in U.S. and European venues including BAM, Barbican Centre, City Center, Goodman Theatre and The Joyce Theater. From 1996-2002, Peter was also a performer and choreographer with the Chicago Moving Company and Hedwig Dances in Chicago, Illinois.

Peter’s interdisciplinary works and collaborations have been presented throughout New York City and Chicago; in Alaska, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Mexico, North Carolina, Utah, and Vermont; and in Brazil, Honduras, Croatia, North Macedonia, and Mexico. He has been a resident choreographer at The Yard, White Oak Plantation, Earthdance, the National School of Dance in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and the Zagreb Student Center-Culture of Change in Croatia. Peter has also received support from the U.S. Embassy Tegucigalpa, BAX/Brooklyn Arts Exchange, Dance Theater Workshop/New York Live Arts, Movement Research, and the Trust for Mutual Understanding for his work and projects.

As a teacher, Peter has offered his Voice as Movement ​classes and workshops since 2009 at Duke University, MIT, National Center for Arts in Mexico City, Oberlin College (his alma mater), Pratt Institute, Stanford University, Trinity College, University of Maryland and University of Utah, as well as in the capacity of LEIMAY LUDUS Guest Teacher (2016-2017) at CAVE in Williamsburg, and as the voice teacher for the Trinity/La MaMa Performing Arts Semester program (2011-2016) in New York. In 2017 he co-initiated The Sounding Body series at Movement Research. Peter has also given vocal coaching to company members of such choreographers as Jane Comfort, ECHOensemble, Milka Djordjevich, Maré Hieronimus, LEIMAY, Thea Little, Juliana F. May/MAYDANCE, Elisabeth Motley, Edisa Weeks/Delirious Dances and Yackez (Larissa and Jon Velez-Jackson). 

Since Summer 2012, Peter has served as curator and facilitator of the International Interdisciplinary Artists Consortium residency and Moving Arts Lab at Earthdance in Western Massachusetts. In 2020 the first online version of the residency and lab took place over zoom. In 2022, the residency will shift to Tremper in upstate New York, and the newly minted Interdisciplinary Arts Lab will take place at Movement Research in New York.

Zornitsa Stoyanova

Zornitsa Stoyanova (USA/BUL) is an award-winning performance artist, curator, writer, lighting, and video designer. Based between Sofia, Bulgaria, and Philadelphia, US, 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 use the female body as an abstract object revealing ideas of strength in female sensuality and emotionality. On stage, she explores the power dynamics between dancers and audiences, and personal stories using vulnerability as a strength.  Her esthetics merge the mundane with the fantastical and futurist sci-fi imagery. Since 2013 an overarching theme in her work has been exposing the “otherness” living within us, as a way to recognize that all humans are the same.  Since 2020, she has been researching a movement and speaking practice – Brutal Honesty – that has the goal of not censoring oneself.  Brutal Honesty will culminate in a public performance that comments on self-illusion and the search for truth using a socio-political lens in contemporary western culture.

Her performance AndroMeda was commissioned and presented by The Philadelphia Museum of Art (2020), and her solo performance Explicit Female (2016) was awarded a “Rocky” – the Philadelphia contemporary dance award. Her choreographic work has been shown at festivals around the U.S. as well as in Bulgaria and France.  As a dancer, she has performed for Eiko & Koma, Boris Charmatz, Sasha Waltz, Cie. Willy Dorner, Lionel Popkin, Group Motion, Zhana Pencheva, and others. Her screendance films have been shown across the U.S. and in Mexico, Argentina, Uruguay, Bulgaria, Ireland, Germany, Austria, and Bangladesh.

Zornitsa is also a supporter of a sustainable dance community and is deeply invested in helping further conversation and collaboration. As BodyMeld she values the exchange of ideas and sharing of methodologies, rigorous research, and experimentation in the field of performance. She strives to create a community curious and excited about the blending of genres in performance, experimentalism, and surviving and thriving in hard political climates.  She teaches improvisation techniques for performance, dance on camera, and composition and has done so in Philadelphia, France, Hungary, her native Bulgaria, and now online.  Zornitsa is also an editor for and a mother of two.

Paolo Cingolani

Paolo Cingolani is an Italian dancer specialized in the art of improvisation and instant composition. His work is characterized by a specific training on intuition as the first tool to create dance and text in performance. Since 2012 he is a member of Allen’s Line company of Julyen Hamilton. Allen’s Line presented its productions in Milan, Berlin, Brussels, Paris, Strasbourg, Oslo and Rome. Paolo has also dedicated to create performances with other artists, dancers, musicians and visual designers. His way to compose choreographies and characters on stage defines a clear poetic of time and space in the contemporary scenic arts. In this freelance context, he has performed extensively through Europe (2005-2023).  As a teacher, he has developed his personal body’s technique resulting from the combination of Tai-Ji and Qi Gong with the principles of contemporary dance. Since 2006 he has been teaching in schools, universities and festivals all around Europe.

Megan Bridge

Megan Bridge is an internationally touring dancer, choreographer, producer, and dance scholar based in Philadelphia. She is the co-director of Fidget, a platform for her collaborative work with composer, designer, and musicologist Peter Price

She is particularly interested in the historical lineages and discursive frameworks that situate her work. Her teaching practice is focused on improvisation and contemporary Western dance. She is currently an adjunct faculty member in the dance departments at Bryn Mawr College and Temple University, where she has taught a variety of studio and lecture classes. She regularly teaches and performs as a guest artist at Universities throughout the Philadelphia area. 

Bridge has worked with Jerome Bel, Willi Dorner, Lucinda Childs, David Gordon, Susan Rethorst, and Group Motion, and has studied with Deborah Hay, Steve Paxton, and Lisa Nelson. She holds a BFA in dance from SUNY Purchase, and an MFA in dance from Temple University where she received a Professional Achievement Award and a Professional Dance Educator Award. 

Bridge has presented her choreography at The Philadelphia Museum of Art, FringeArts, and many other venues throughout Philadelphia and the United States. On tour, Bridge’s performances have taken her to New York, Vienna, Berlin, Bogotá, Sofia, Plovdiv, Tbilisi, Skopje, Rennes, Dresden, Dusseldorf, Warsaw, Kraków, Lublin, Bytom, Poznań, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Phoenix, Johannesburg, and Zurich. 

In 2013 she was named “Best of Philly” for stage performance by Philadelphia Magazine. She has received funding support from American Dance Abroad, USArtists International, and more. She has published articles in Dance Chronicle, Dance Magazine, Pointe Magazine, and at

Steve Batts

I have been dancing as a central and professional, part of my life for around 40 years. I have been teaching, performing and creating internationally for many years.

I am based in Derry in Northern Ireland where I am the artistic director of Echo Echo Dance Theatre Company. The company creates a wide programme of productions, touring, participation projects, classes, workshops and artistic collaborations. We work with a wide range of people including all ages from babies to old folk and those with all kinds of disability as well as with experienced and professional dancers and other performing artists. Part of our programme takes place in our own studios on Derry’s historic city walls. The rest involves various forms of outreach into different local, national and international communities.

 My family moved to Northern Ireland from England when I was 12 and I grew up there in the 1970’s. It was a turbulent time, with ever present political tension and violence, even in the relatively quiet area that I lived in. I left after school to study in England. I got a degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from Oxford University, but by the time I finished there my life had become devoted to movement and dance. I spent three years in full time study to be a teacher of The Alexander Technique. I’ve been a certified teacher of The Alexander Technique since 1987.

After creating companies and projects in both England and Netherlands I set up Echo Echo Dance Theatre Company, in Amsterdam, with Swiss dance artist Ursula Laeubli in 1991. We created performances and projects all over Europe, particularly in the countries of post-communist Eastern Europe. We moved the company to Derry in 1997, near the beginning of a “peace process” that has now been going on for over 25 years. Ursula died in 2011 and I have been the artistic director of the company on my own since then.

My work is concerned with proposing an alternative to both the hyper-objectivising attitude typical of much dance training and to the hyper-subjectivizing attitude typical of somatic alternatives to it.

In one form “the body” as an object, a machine, an instrument, or a tool, is at the centre of the conception of what we do when we dance. In the other “the body” as a location of private subjective experience is at the centre. The second is often a sort of understandable reaction to the inhumanity of the first.

I see dancing differently, from another perspective, outside of this dichotomy.


  • I think people dance, not bodies.
  • I propose that dancing is real movement in real space and real-time engaged in with poetic intent. It can’t be reduced to feeling, sensation, idea or physical function.
  • A dance wants to make sense, in the world, between people. Dancing, in it’s very nature, wants to be seen, to be “read”, just as a poem wants to be read or a piece of music wants to be heard.
  • The intent should be to take armour off, not put it on in either it’s hard, aggressive, athletic, form or it’s soft,defensive, absorbent, form. 
  • The seed of dancing is in the universal human tendency to be poetic in movement, just as the seeds of poetry are in our everyday language. Dancing is the extension of this tendency as poetry is the extension of our poetic tendency in language.
  • The compositional sense, in movement as elsewhere, is intuitive, organic and natural, but so is the desire to educate, refine, tune that intuition through disciplined forms of practice.
  • Being in the moment always involves a deep relationship with past and future – memory and imagination.
  • Improvisation and composition are more like two perspectives on any phenomenon rather than two different things to “do”.

In my movement practice, as artist and teacher, I explore the way that conceptual and practical analytical processes are embraced by, and influence, the intuitive creative impulse to compose. The intuition suggests analytical processes and welcomes the results of them back into itself. I’m exploring presence, space and time through (among other things) explorations of tonus, effort, addressing levels, disposition, vertical journeys, proximity, meter, pulse, rhythm, phrasing. I think my dancing is more deeply influenced by literature and by music and theatre theory and practice than by the theory and practice of concert/art dance. However, the dance work that has deeply moved me includes Goldberg Variations by Steve Paxton, PART by Lisa Nelson and Steve Paxton, admiring La Argentina by Kazuo Ohno, 1980 by Pina Bausch and Wuppertal Dance Theatre, and the original production of Set and Reset by Trisha Browne. I also love the dancing in the films of Fred Astaire. Recently I’ve become very interested in Irish Traditional Dance where it exists outside a competitive framework”.

Why do we do this? How is it FREE?

We create art because otherwise, life is only about survival. And if we only survive, we can never thrive, and we can never be happy. We engage with artmaking and supporting and educating others because we feel this to be the ultimate reason for living on this planet and sharing our life with others.

So we do our best to make art possible for everyone. We start by supporting artists and art makers so they can in turn support others and bring communities together.

BodyMeld Performance Research Academy is a long dream come true!
It is made possible with partial support of the National Fund “Culture” of Bulgaria and the long-term savings of BodyMeld.

We are always looking for partners in making amazing things happen. If you’d like to join in on our vision or would like to donate a little bit of money, we definitely welcome it. If you have an idea for a partnership, just email us or check out how to become a sponsor (corporate or not) below.

We offer a large amount of exposure to communities that care about art, the body, and healthy and active lifestyle in Bulgaria, Europe, and the US.

If you or your company would like to reach that target group we could be great partners.

Here we propose a few sponsorship options:

500 Euro – your logos and links to your company in all printed and digital materials in relation to BodyMeld Research Academy.

1000 Euro – your logos and links to your company in all printed and digital materials in all BodyMeld events situated in Bulgaria including a social media shout-out on Facebook and Instagram.

1500 Euro – all of the above, but for all of the events of BodyMeld created in Bulgaria, Europe and US.

2000 Euro- all of the above plus an opportunity to come to speak, and present your company to one or more of our in-person or digital events.

We are open to any other proposals. Our goal is to make artmaking and education possible, and we understand that in order to do that we need to engage with the capitalist world.

Cost of staying in Sofia, Bulgaria.

While the program is free to attend, we do not offer any financial assistance for housing or travel. We understand that it could be quite difficult for some folks are able to offer letters of acceptance so that you can apply for travel funding from your own country.

Generally, an Airbnb one-bedroom apartment for single people or a couple in Sofia is about 30 Euros per night and is a bit more expensive in the center of the city.

You can find two-bedroom apartments for around 40 to 45 Euro per night to share with another person and very few apartments are available for around 50 Euro a night.

In Sofia, if you go out to the center to a nice restaurant you can expect to pay anywhere from 15 to 50 Euro per person, depending on alcohol consumption and the restaurant. Outside of that you can comfortably cook at home and spend 10 Euro a day on mostly vegetarian food.

Sofia is a 2 mil. people city with many districts, a great metro, and tons of public transportation. In general, is quite easy to get to the center if you choose an apartment in one of the cheaper districts.

Contact us with any questions

contact Zornitsa Stoyanova directly at or

through Viber or WhatsApp at +359 879225799