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

Composing with gesture – dance improvisation intensive

Jan, 26th, 27th and 28th, 2022
⏰15:00 – 16:30 Central European Time (Berlin)
⏰14:00 – 13:30 Greenwich Mean time (London)
⏰9:00 – 11:30 East Coast Time (New York)

🎞️can also attend through recording of the classes


Gesture reveals a plethora of information – the nonspoken, the unrealized, or the potential for meaning. In contemporary and post-modern European-centric dance, gesture is often missing.

In the center of Zornitsa’s 20+ years of dancing and choreographing has been the idea of the potential for meaning. NOT creating meaning — But rather creating the potential for reading the ephemeral and ever-changing body.

This is one of many dance practices Zornitsa has developed over the years getting toward the potential for meaning and composing in the now. Composing with gesture practice works with recognized or unrecognized gestures, as well as livening the face, fingers, and toes to be as expressive and specific as any other body part we are trained to move through space here and now.

In addition, gesture is one of the most accessible opportunities for humor.


Join award-winning choreographer Zornitsa Stoyanova in a workshop intensive exploring gesture, posture, and facial expression in contemporary dance composition and instant choreography. Tools we will explore during the workshop.

📅 Jan 26th
👉Composing with known gestures vs. with gestures that lack cultural meaning
👉Gesture as its own dance vs. as decorative add on to existing choreography
📅Jan 27th
👉Distorting the self
👉Shifting meaning one gesture at a time
👉Shifting meaning through full-body transformation
📅Jan. 28th
👉Translation through gesture
👉Composing with rhythm, repetition, and space

Get all recordings from the sessions by Feb. 4th, 2022
***Drop-ins are welcome.


💳7 to 25 EURO per class sliding scale – or pay what you wish💳

Wondering how to determine what to pay? Here is a useful infographic.

We are also accepting payments directly through PayPal at or Venmo @zstoy… If you are sending payment through there, please indicate somewhere “composing with gesture” and the date.

***no one is turned back for lack of funds *** – if the above price is prohibitive to you, please email Zornitsa directly and we will figure something out –

Zornitsa talks about her history with dance and improvisation:

Over twenty-plus years, I’ve studied contact, compositional and emergent improvisation with teachers from all over the world.
My work and research focus on improvisation for performance and I always approach the compositional techniques with an eye toward to presence of the dancer – focusing on methodologies to make my performance alive and in the NOW. I’ve been using gesture and speech in my choreography for over 15 years, developing a specific methodology of listening to the senses that bring language forth. I’ve taken workshops in contemporary Indian dance and have always explored gesture as a potential for meaning, as well as a tool to create comedy. I am fascinated by how classical and folk dance forms use gesture and contemporary and postmodern European centric dance forms largely ignore it.

When I teach…

♾️I synthesize my knowledge and use it toward a practice of openness in Performance.
♾️I set up scores and choreographies of states that create unique yet telling experiences using every theatrical and dance skill in my arsenal.
♾️One of my most influential teachers is Deborah Hay, from whom I have borrowed methodologies in presence, open possibilities, poetics, and composing outside of my rigid compositional brain.
♾️In teaching and making work I adapt a lot of Meg Stuart’s scores in working with power dynamics on stage, morphing the body into recognizability and emotionality both in the face and body.

Other noteworthy teachers of mine are Ishamael Houston Jones, Janine Durning, Danny Lepkoff, Nancy Stark Smith, Susan Rethorst, and many others. From 2005 to 2008, I worked with the Emergent Improvisation Project, researching new forms of improvisation borrowed from biology and neuroscience. Dancing in this project, I was on the cover of the book Composing While Dancing by M. Buckwalter. With Graffito Works (2015 – 2017), again an improvisation company, I danced in various museum and art collections outside the theater. In 2021, I initiated the beginning of PIC – Platform for Improvisation and Composition in Sofia, Bulgaria. I have also danced for Eiko & Koma, Boris Charmatz, Cie. Willy Dorner, Lionel Popkin, and many other less-known names. For me, dance improvisation is an opportunity to reveal the true nature of life, the dancer their psyche, and the reason to be on stage at this moment.


Feb 04 2022


Central European Time
3:00 pm - 4:30 pm

Local Time

  • Timezone: America/New_York
  • Date: Feb 04 2022
  • Time: 9:00 am - 10:30 am








  • Zornitsa Stoyanova
    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 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.
    Her last group 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 in festivals around the U.S. as well as in Bulgaria and France. As a dancer, she has performed for Eiko & Koma, Boris Charmatz, Cie. Willy Dorner, Group Motion and improvisation companies Emergent Improvisation Ensemble and Graffito Works. Her work with Emergent Improvisation brought her on the cover of “Composing While Dancing” book by Melinda Buckwalter. Her screendance films have been shown in festivals across the U.S. and in Mexico, Argentina, Uruguay, Bulgaria, Ireland, Germany, and Bangladesh. Among her most influential teachers are Deborah Hay, Danny Lepkoff, Meg Stuart, Susan Rethorst, Eva Karczag and others. Her work has been supported by National Cultural Fund of Bulgaria, Citizen for the Arts Pennsylvania, Pew Center for the Arts (previously Dance Advance) amongst others.
    Zornitsa is also a supporter for a sustainable dance community and is deeply invested in helping further conversation and collaboration. Through BodyMeld she has created workshops, residencies, and showcases – most notably her partnership with Movement Research(NYC) and Stary Browar Novie Taniec(Poland) in bringing Polish artists to Philadelphia. She teaches improvisation techniques for performance, dance on camera and composition and has done so in Philadelphia, France, Hungary, her native Bulgaria, and online. Zornitsa is also a writer and editor for

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