“We’ll lay on the rug we have woven“ – Neska Robeva, the grand of Bulgarian gymnastics
Neshka Robeva was born on 26 May 1946 in Rousse. She trained the national gumnasts from 1974 to 1999. Under her leadership, gymnastics saw a the tops of the world’s appreciation. From World and European championsips and from the Olompic Games her ‘golden girls’ brought 247 medals alltogether.
After she finished working with the national team, she started to establish dance shows based on Bulgarian folklore which charm the viewers with their vitality and beauty, and fascinate with the combination of the choreography and the music.
Mrs. Robeva, do yo think that the maxim “Beauty will save the world” is true?
I wish i could say that, but I am not very optimistic. I think that if this ever happened, it would not be very soon. Very often, I have to ‘save’ myself – mainly from myself, my thoughts and my feelings.
Do hystory and floklore help for the survival of a nation? Are you personaly proud of being Bulgarian?
Yes, to a certain degree. I love Bulgaria and this is more than pride. I love Bulgarians, although some say that we have lost some of the values while trying to overcome the everyday difficulties.
What recharges you? What inspires you?
I cannot point out one thing. Maybe the thought that i have work. Yes, it is different from what is commonly accepted, but it is me who has to do it. Honestly, I admit making many mistakes in my life. May they be forgiven. However, people need idols and that is why the catch phrase “Neska makes no mistakes” was around for some time. This changed my life to a great extent.
And your achievements? When you say you have made it to the top?
I have no time think about this. The top? I think there is noone who knows everuthing that he can say he has reached the top. I am like Radichkov’s character – the frog. I always wonder and ask myself “How come?” I sometimes get angry with myself and ask myself “What kind of person are you – why aren’t you like the rest?” But I have found no answer so far.
What did you dream to be as a young girl? A gymnast?
I wanted to be a ballet dancer. I got into gymnastics by accident. When I decided to become a trainer, I knew I could do it, that I can prepare the girls better than anyone else. Making things happen is a chance, and chance was on my side and did everything I could to keep it longer. That had to be paid for and I paid a very high price. I subjected everything to my work.
After so mch siccess, do you have dreams that you have not made come true?
I do not dare dream!. Time is never enough. I have objectives, tasks, some fuzzy wishes (perhaps these are the dreams) and I try to achieve them.
When did you become interested in floklore? Do you have a favourite flok song or a dance?
My PE teacher sparkled my interest in folk dances. I graduated fom a choreographic school.
And the more I got into the world of dance, the more my curiosity grew. I like all dances.
I recently went to a prom in Ghighen. There they danced ‘kopanitza’, which I call Ghighen horo. I was looking and I could not believe my eyes. Very complex musical accompaniment, stuning tangle of steps, and people’s performances, who were amateurs, were close to virtuosity.
There was another impressive thing – the inspiration they danced with. Inspiration that the great Lorca called “duende”. About songs, I love all Bulgarian songs. There is one I heard sang by duet “Eva” – “Ibbish Aga. There is so much sadness, so much dramatics I have never heard in any other song.
What makes you set up dance shows?
Shortage of work, ofcource. I was robbed of the chance to do gymnastics and I started setting up shows. I am worried by the fact that the young people live in timelessness. They must know < as Paisii said, their people and their history. They must be proud of their past and the folklore. That is why I make these modern shows based on folklor, which present Bulgaria to the world. One of the shows is called “Orisia”1. When it comes to preordain, it is in the first place ours, Bulgarian, then it is mine…
Do you believe in fate?
I believe ther must be something preordained.. Sometimes it is difficult, yet I am thankful to God for my fate. And I pray for it not to change. If it is preordained, I’ll make more shows!
Tell us your secret – how do you manage to find your way to the hearts of the viewers from around the world?
The audience reacts to both good and bad, no matter whcih part of the world they are. I have always loved them and they have responded to me the same way.
Each individuak, or nation, weave their own ‘rug’. You do it through dancing, music, and legends – what are the colours and the sounds of the Bulgarian rug?
Our nation’s fate is woven into the Bulgarian rug, with all its dramatics, with our ups and downs. The colours are strong, passionate, like our feelings. We have to remember one thing, though: ‘We’ll lay on the rug we have woven’. Whatever the rug – soaked in our ancestors’ blood – it is ours, and we should save it.