Otets Paissii Folk Dance Ensemble

The BMNECC’s Performing Folk Ensemble “Otets Paissii” has been delighting local and international audiences for many years. The group was formed in 1955, commensurate with the First Annual Pittsburgh Folk Festival. The ensemble presents its annual concert each spring, and performs regularly at venues in Pittsburgh and southwestern Pennsylvania. The ensemble is an annual participant in the BMNECC’s “Na Megdana” Bulgarian Festival, as well as the “Verea” Bulgarian Festival in Chicago.

Bilyana Stoyanova Stafura is the Artistic Director, Denise Nedev is Managing Director of Operations, and Beth A. Stafura is Managing Director of Marketing. Together, they all manage the wardrobe and help keep the group well-dressed.

The ensemble is named for Otets Paissii, the monk who wrote the first comprehensive history of the Bulgarian people.

If you are interested in performing with the ensemble, or having them perform at your event, you may contact Bilyana at or by phoning the Center at 412.461.6188.

Here’s a look at the Otets Paissii dancers in action:

The BMNECC also sponsors two other dance groups: the Danka Group and the Shareni Chorapi Children’s Ensemble. Contact Aleksandar Zankin if you would like to become a member of the Danka group. Click here for information on the children’s ensemble.

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