In this article I will share with you my thoughts on Bulgaria’s 5 balls routine 2021. I have previously written about their mixed routine (with 3 hoops and 2 pairs of clubs, link here) from 2021 and that article received a lot of love, so here is Part 2 of the Bulgarian saga! 😉 I have contemplated writing this piece for a while, and now seems to be the perfect time, as the 5 balls routine has been refined and polished to perfection, as evident at the Grand Prix (GP) Marbella last weekend. So much so, that if this routine was a gemstone, I think it would be worthy of sitting on top of the Queen’s crown! 👑 Not to mention the increased difficulty of Bulgaria's group routines which is more than humanly possible. It is therefore not a surprise at all that this is the first group to cross the 50 score mark for a routine at a major international competition (GP Marbella 2021).
Simona Dyankova, Madlen Radukanova, Erika Zafirova, Stefani Kiryakova and Laura Traets became the Olympic Champions in the group event in Rhythmic Gymnastics in August 2021. The Olympic Games are considered the most prestigious, career-defining, and important competition in rhythmic gymnastics and most other Olympic sports. It was therefore interesting to see what happens next for these talented athletes, who have already (metaphorically) ‘climbed Mount Olympus’.
To my utter delight, and – I am sure - to many other fans’ delight, they will soon compete at the World Championships in Kitakyushu, Japan which starts in just over a week (27-31/10/2021). This is exciting because, despite being one of the most celebrated and accomplished groups in RG during this past Olympic cycle, the Bulgarian group has not won an all-around title at the World Championships. This would be their opportunity to claim the only gold medal missing from their extensive collection.
Grand Prix Marbella – Focus on 5 Balls Routine
Following the Olympic Games, I was wondering how they could possibly build on the already insanely difficult routines they had showcased. At the GP in Marbella, however, the team proved that it was possible to stretch even further the boundaries of rhythmic gymnastics! They have evidently increased the difficulty of their routines, as exemplified by their record-breaking score of 51.6 which they earned in the 5 balls final. See below my detailed analysis of this routine and my comments on why I think it is so impressive.
Firstly, I was impressed by the structure of this routine. The geometry these 5 gymnasts create on the carpet is second to none. It is like endless constellations being recreated before your eyes. The formations are very clear and create the feeling that this is an extremely well-crafted piece of RG work. It is like a carefully-engineered piece of machinery where every knob and tooth is in the right place so that it can move without friction.
I noticed the apparent effortless flow from element to element, transitions in and out of formations, which demonstrates the mastery of these gymnasts. After all, if you can make something so difficult look easy, isn’t this the ultimate mastery? Finally, there is choreography and theme to this routine, which must be so hard to achieve when every millisecond is dedicated to the difficulty score. They have managed to do it, perhaps because the music is close to their roots - it is a modern mix of Bulgarian folk tunes. The next section of this article is entirely about the music of this routine.
Musical Mix – ‘Earth’, ‘Water’, ‘Cosmos’
The music for Bulgaria’s 5 balls routine is a modern mix of 3 Bulgarian neo-folk songs entitled ‘Earth’, ‘Water’, and ‘Cosmos’, which are created and performed by Elitsa Todorova and Stoyan Yankulov, and Miroslav Ivanov (‘Cosmos’). The duo ‘Elitsa and Stoyan’ are famous for their experimentation with Bulgarian ethno music and intertwining folklore with contemporary music styles.
Their song ‘Water’ was part of the Eurovision contest back in 2007 and gained a lot of popularity, ranking Bulgaria 5th in the finals. The live performance (as seen in the video below) featured a lot of screen animations of water and lightning demonstrating the artists’ fascination with the natural elements. Traditional singing performed by Elitsa Todorova is accompanied by percussions instrumental performed by Stoyan Yankulov.
In contrast to the other two tracks, ‘Cosmos’ has a techno and futuristic sounding thanks to the musical contribution of avant-garde musician Miroslav Ivanov. ‘Cosmos’ completes the story/mix beautifully representing the ether that permeates existence. The name is also appropriate, as it aligns with the cosmic style of gymnastics of the Bulgarian team.
I like this music mix as the choice for Bulgaria’s 5 balls routine, as it provides a mix of tradition and modernity, making it very interesting to watch and listen to. The gymnasts are evidently moved by the music and enjoy performing to it, which makes their routine even more impactful.
Thank you for reading this article. If you enjoyed it, press the little heart icon (❤️) at the end, so I know what type of content to make more of, and consider sharing it with other RG fans. If you have not read my article on Bulgaria's mixed routine yet, you can do so here.
See you next time,