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.
In 2008 Zornitsa Stoyanova was also 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 the deconstruction of communication through 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.
Since moving back to Bulgaria, Zornitsa has presented her works: “Window to the other side”(2022) at the Leap Off Page festival in V. Turnovo, “A Woman in Red”(2022) at the National Art Gallery, Kvadrat 500, as part of Antistatic Festival, and “The Beach” (2022) as part of BodyMeld’s outdoor festival called Alternative Stage as well as the ongoing touring duet with Megan Bridge called “Altered States: a performance conversation”(2021) in Etud Gallery as well as the international co-creation project “The Hidden Level”(2022) presented at National Student House in Sofia.
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. Bulgaria and France. As a dancer, she has performed for Sasha Waltz & Guests, Eiko & Koma, Boris Charmatz, Cie. Willy Dorner, Lionel Popkin, Group Motion, Zhana Pencheva, and others. Her screendance films have been shown in festivals across the U.S. and in Mexico, Argentina, Uruguay, Bulgaria, Ireland, Germany, Austria, and Bangladesh. In May 2023, Zornitsa will have her first solo month-long exhibit of her visual art and films at Toplotcentrala Gallery in Sofia, Bulgaria.
Zornitsa Stoyanova is a supporter of a sustainable dance community. From 2006 until 2019, she was an on-and-off member of Mascher Space Cooperative in Philadelphia USA, where throughout 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 on making websites 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 an 8-month-long residency and is going to this day. Along with fellow artists Kristen Shahverdian and Jacelyn Biondo, Zornitsa curated Move Dance Think Fest in 2016. She created and administered a guest artist residency for Polish dance artists in Philadelphia in 2018 and 2019 in collaboration with Movement Research.
Some of her partners include Art Station Foundation, Poland; Movement Research, USA; Philadelphia Dance Projects, USA; The Fidget Space, USA; Mascher Dance, USA; and others.
She teaches Improvisation Technique for Performance, Dance on Camera, and Composition and has done so in Philadelphia, France, Hungary, her native Bulgaria, and now virtually. Zornitsa writes periodically for thINKingDANCE.net, where she is an editor. As a mother of two children, she continues to work to promote the needs of parent artists in the dance field.
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.