About Us

The International Ballet Association SARA-NORA PRIMA

and the Bourgas State Opera are organizing for the first time an International Ballet Competition in the city of Bourgas only for professionals: ballet schools’ students and artists from ballet companies.

The Competition is named after the renowned Bulgarian prima and long-time director of the Ballet of the Sofia Opera, Ms. Sara-Nora Krysteva.

The Competition aims at supporting professional ballet-players and their future development. To this end, the event comprises also a ballet academy with master classes led by undeniable names of the world ballet.   

International jury will assess and award the winners and the awards, except prize-money, shall be: guest performances in various ballet theatres, one-year contracts, participations in other competitions, specializations as well as training in world-renowned institutions. 

The event will be annual and the Association is supported by the Bourgas Municipality for the first edition. Patron of the First International Ballet Competition will be the City Mayor, Mr. Dimitar Nikolov.    

We wish success with the first edition to promoters and participants!!!


graduated from the National Dance School in 1996 in the class of Kalina Bogoeva. While she was still a student, she had successful ballet performances in 1995 as follows: Award for Ballet Achievements and Award for the Most Promising Young Performer in the National Ballet Competition Anastas Petrov. In the 1995/1996 school year she was awarded with the Anastas Petrov scholarship.

As soon as she graduated, she joined the ballet company of the Sofia Opera and Ballet and went through all categories from ensemble to a soloist although she performed hard solo parties as soon as she was appointed there. Since 2003 she was a Prima and from January 2009 until September 2021, she was the youngest and the longest serving Director in the history of our National Ballet.

Repertoire: inter alia, Kitri, Karmesita and Queen of the Dryads – Don Quixote; Myrtha – Giselle; Odetta-Odilia – Swan Lake; Zobeida – Scheherazade; Lilac Fairy and Aurora – Sleeping Beauty; Effie – La Sylphide; Marguerite Gautier – Lady of the Camellias; Elina – The Goat Horn; Marina and Madame Hortense – Zorba the Greek; soloist in productions of Balanchine; Black Knight – Crusaders; Evil Sister and Mother – Cinderella.

Both individually and with the National Ballet Company, Ms. Sara Nora Krysteva had guest performances in Spain, Italy, Greece, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, Russia, Hungary, Germany, Turkey as well as in South America – Peru and Bolivia, and also in Japan. 

In 2002 she graduated from the State Academy of Music, Sofia in the field of ballet pedagogy.


  • Crystal Lyre of the Union of Bulgarian Musicians and Dancers for the Black Night role in Crusaders
  • Silver Ryton from the Minister of Culture, Mr. Stefan Danailov for outstanding services to the promotion of Bulgarian culture
  •  Golden Muse for contribution to the Bulgarian-Russian cultural relations
  •  Golden Age from the Minister of Culture, Vezhdi Rashidov for outstanding services to the promotion of Bulgarian culture

It was under her leadership that the Ballet Company was awarded the Golden Feather and the Sofia Award.

Ms. Krysteva took part as a member of the jury in international ballet competitions in Bulgaria, Russia, Italy, Estonia, Serbia and France.

Over the thirteen years, being in charge with the Ballet Company of the Sofia Opera and Ballet, she premiered 34 works, some of them produced for the first time in Bulgaria, such as inter alia, La Bayadère; Le Corsaire; In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated by W. Forsythe; The Concert by J. Robbins, The Firebird and Petrushka; Stepping Stones, One Thousand and One Nights, The Lady of the Camellias, Carmen, The Sleeping Beauty, Scheherazade,  as well as productions of G. Balanchine, and productions based on music by Bulgarian composers and Bulgarian choreographers and many other.

Ms. Krysteva played a particularly important role in the history, development and preservation of the art of ballet in Bulgaria by persisting two times and succeeding in changing the law for early retirement of ballet dancers in the Bulgaria – from 57 to 45 years and for qualifying their work again as first category work. Another important thing is that she took the initiative to change the law and to allow foreign artists to be appointed to dance companies in Bulgaria, something which was not possible before.


Nickname: VEDA

Founder and Head of Balkan Alliance – Serbia / Belgrade.

Founder and Chairman of the Bulgarian Dance Organization and National Dance Qualification Committee for Art, Culture and Education / NDQC – Bulgaria / Sofia.

Co-founder and Vice-President of World Arts & Dance Alliance / WADA – Russia / Moscow.

Languages: Russian, Bulgarian, Serbian, English.

Author of international cultural projects:

Russia, Bulgaria, Serbia, Greece


1994 – Graduated from Gymnasium with a degree in choreography in the city of Norilsk – Russia / Prof. Lydmila Malinina

1994-1996 – Studied at the State Music College of Arts (Norilsk), Russia – National artistic creativity / Social cultural activity / Pedagogy Educator-organizer of cultural and artistic programs / Choreography arts.

Graduated with honors (Red Diploma). Takes the study program with external, 3.8 years in 2 years. Degree: Secondary – special professional education.

1996 – 1997. Studied at St. Petersburg State Humanities University of Trade Unions – Department of Choreographic Art. With an invitation to be part of the first created course in Russia for pop-jazz dance, in the class of Professor Yuriy Gromov.

1997-2001 – Studied at Moscow State University of Culture and Arts / Management in the social and cultural sphere.

Master’s degree: Manager of social and cultural projects

2000-2003 – Moscow State University of Culture and Arts,

Department of Choreography / Choreographer – director / Contemporary dance.

Master’s Degree: Choreographic Art

2012 – 2014 – Academy of Music, Dance and Fine Art (Bulgaria, Plovdiv) under Prof. P. Lukanov. Department of Choreography / Master’s Degree:  Ballet Director

2016 – Niš State University – Serbia / Faculty of Arts

Scientific report – presentation of a Scientific Project for dissertation.

2017 – 2019 – New Bulgarian University / Sofia, Bulgaria

Department: POLITICAL SCIENCES / European Government / International Economic Diplomacy. Master’s Degree: Political Science.

Work in Russia:

1995-2003 – Head, choreographer, director and producer of the Dance Center at the Youth Theater of the House of Culture, Norilsk, Russia.

1992-2003 – Worked as a TV presenter and author of TV projects for the State TV-Radio Campaign NORILSK

2004-2022 Author and Founder of many international projects and associations dedicated to dance art for children and youth in the Balkans.

2004-2022 was an international judge in IDO and WADA, judge of dance events in Russia, the Balkans and Europe.

Work in Bulgaria & Serbia:

2003 – 2004 BTV – Choreographer on Dance Company of TV show

2003 – 2005 Created & Organized First Bulgarian Dance Organization / Sofia and presented it on International Dance Organization (IDO), organized First IDO Championship in Bulgaria. Was First President of BTO.

2003 – 2016 Give Jazz-Modern Seminars & Classes with Creating Choreographies for Dance Schools of Bulgaria & Serbia.

2003 – 2010  Founder of  Dance Center & Theater ART ACADEMY / Sofia

2013 – Founder of Academy of Music & Dance Arts / Belgrade

2015 – Founder of BALKAN ALIANCE / Belgrade

Awards in Russia:

2002 – Worthy Laureate of the Youth Award – Award of the Mayor of the City of Norilsk – Krasnoyarsk Territory – Oleg Budargin, for the successful development of the Youth Policy of the Northern Region of Russia.

Professional awards in Russia:

2001 year:

The grand prize of the regional dance competition “Snowball -2001” (Norilsk) Russia

Winner – Regional Festival “Student Spring-2001” (Krasnoyarsk) Russia

Laureate of the All-Russian Festival “Student Spring-2001” (Kazan) Russia

2002 year:

Champion of Russia in the discipline Dance Show 2002 in the nomination Formation (St. Petersburg)

Bronze Champion of the International Open Cup of Russia in Dance Show 2002 (Moscow)

Finalist in the top 6 – Becomes the only Russian representative in a world competition with 73 participants from 27 countries at the First World Jazz Dance Championship IDO 2002 in Canada – Toronto.

Awards in Bulgaria:

2004 April – Honorary award of the Bulgarian Dance Organization, contribution to the development of Bulgarian dance culture and art.

2015 – Certificate of Honor from the Director of the Russian Cultural Information Center, Sofia – Sergey Smetyushenko, for the successfully founded and implemented cultural project of the First International Youth Olympiad for Music and Dance.

2018 and 2019 – Certificate of appreciation from Anatoliy Makarov the Ambassador of the Russian Federation in Bulgaria for a successfully implemented cultural project of the International Youth Olympiad for Music and Dance.

Awards in Serbia:

2016 – Worthy laureate of the honorary award of the Ministry of Defense presented by General Ljubisa Dikovic, for fruitful cooperation and successful implementation of the project – the Balkan Arts & Dance Olympiad, within the patriotic programs of the Ministry of Defense in Serbia.

2017 – Letter with  thanks from the Cultural Attaché of the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Serbia for a successfully implemented cultural project of the Balkan Olympiad for arts and dance.


Riolina Topalova graduated from the State Choreographic School in 1987. in Sofia (today – NSDA). For a short time, she was a ballerina in the State stage of National Army “Silver Stars”. In 1988 joined the ballet troupe at the Sofia Opera and Ballet, where for 20 years she performed solo roles in the performances “Sleeping Beauty”, “Don Quixote”, “The Nutcracker”, “Romeo and Juliet”, “The Lady with the Camellias”, etc. She participated in performances, concerts, seminars, competitions, in television music shows, several film productions, with a leading role in the television novel “Risk”.


Master’s degree in “Ballet art – ballet pedagogy – 2004 and ballet directing – 2008. according to the program of A. Vaganova at the Academy of Music, Dance and Fine Arts in the city of Plovdiv under Prof. P. Lukanov, Prof. N. Trofimova, Prof. L. Draguleva, Assoc. N. Tarasova, Assoc. B. Deyanov, M. Abdulaeva.

Creative activity:

Since 2006 is a director, choreographer, tutor, coordinator and ballet master-educator at the Sofia Opera and Ballet. On the stage of the Sofia Opera and Ballet, she performs the ballets “Rhapsody in Blue”, “Cinderella”, “Sleeping Beauty” for children, “The Badly Protected Girl”, the dances in the operas – “Troubadour”, “Don Pasquale”, “La Traviata”, “Eugene Onegin”, “Nabucco”, “Attila”, “Yaina’s Nine Brothers”, “The Woman from the Lake”, “Petya and the Wolf”, “Hansel and Gretel”, “Shegobishko”, “Winnie the Pooh” and others.

With the performance “Rhapsody in Blue”, the national ballet made a successful visit to Qatar. She is the choreographer of the dances in the opera “Orpheus and Eurydice” in the municipal theater of Larnaca /Cyprus/, and the opera “Eugene Onegin” in Teatro Lirico Giuseppe Verdi Trieste – Italy.

Choreographer of the dances in the musicals Mama Mia, Les Miserables, Shrek and Painter Daddy, working with Broadway director West Hyler.

Choreographer of “Night of the Stars” – Encho Keryazov Foundation 2019 and 2021

Choreographer and director of concert programs and dance projects: “Samodiv legends” – part 1, 2 and 3.

Pedagogical work:

Since 2011 teacher and doctoral student at AMTII-Plovdiv.

Head of the Methodical Association “Classical Dance” at the National School of Dance Art and teacher since 2012.

From 2016 to the present, she leads master classes at Art Garage – Center for choreography and modern performing arts in Pozzuoli – Naples /Italy/ – with director Emma Cianchi. Mentor in GC dance events – an international organization that helps to discover and develop young talents all over the world.

Member of the jury at international dance festivals and competitions, where she also leads master classes in classical, modern, characteristic and historical folk dance.

Winner of the “Golden Lira” award of the Union of Music and Dance Actors for high artistic creative and pedagogical achievements – 2017.

Winner of numerous awards as a pedagogue-balletmaster of various dance formats.

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