0607 GMT February 22, 2019
A group of Iranian artists are taking part in 2016 World Folklore Festival in Bulgaria.
Organized by the Bulgarian chapter of World Folklore Academy in cooperation with the Association of Folklore Festivals of Nessebar and Burgas municipalities, the festival will open today and continue until August 28, said the conductor of Aylan Dance Group, Tohid Haji-Babaei in an interview with Iran Daily.
Sponsored for the sixth consecutive year by Bulgarian National Folklore Commission, the event will host 1,200 musicians, singers and artists who will compete for 'World Champion' title as well as other awards in 90 sections in Burgas, Obzor, Nessebar, Sveti Vlas and Sunny Beach.
Aylan Dance Group, which includes 11 artists, will take part in the festival to present traditional Iranian customs, said Haji-Babaei, adding, the group, which specializes in Azarbaijani folklore dance, will conduct three performances in the festival.
He said that the ensemble was formed in 2007 to promote the culture of Iran's northwestern region of Azarbaijan in general and its traditional and folklore dance in particular. It has since staged several performances in a number of cities and festivals, he noted.
He recalled that the group was awarded at the 17th Traditional and Ritual Theater Festival held from August 23 to September 1, 2015. It will also perform in the second half of September at the 11th International Street Theater Festival of Marivan, in Kurdestan Province.
"I was born in Tabriz and my deep interest in Azarbaijani art and culture led me to establish Aylan Dance Group in Tehran. I have dedicated my life to teaching, writing and directing the group," he said.
Speaking about Azarbaijani folklore dance, Haji-Babaei explained that it is a combination of art, sport, beliefs and traditions of the Azarbaijani people.
Based on the recovered stencils in Arasbaran region, this folklore dance is Iran's native art which has been formed and developed indigenously.
The 2016 World Folklore Festival is one of the leading festivals in the world in terms of colloquial and folklore traditions and beliefs. It is held annually in Bulgaria hosting artists from different countries who introduce their traditions.
A panel of jury will evaluate the groups and the top ones will be awarded.
He said that Iran will take part in the festival with a children group consisting of eight boys and two girls.
"We have designed a kind of dance-like battle between the Iranian members who are supposed to have rodomontading before beginning the battle."
He said, "In fact, we created some initiatives in Azarbaijan folklore dance and combined it with narration."