Updated: May 22, 2021
Thank you for reading. I am starting this blog as I would like to share my passion and love for the most beautiful sport, which is rhythmic gymnastics.
In this first post, I will provide my thoughts on Boryana Kaleyn’s ball routine in 2021 which she dazzled with at the Grand Prix in Moscow in February. This routine is a masterpiece, and I am excited to tell you why. I would like to start with a brief introduction of the athlete and explain why I chose her for my starting post.
Boryana Kaleyn is one of the best rhythmic gymnasts in the world and my personal favourite from the Bulgarian national team. Her routines are always such a delight to watch, with an excellent blend of difficulty and artistry. She brings her character to the carpet, too, and engages with the audience. Boryana is distinguished among her teammates with her excellent physical qualities – high arches, beautiful extensions and a phenomenal fouette technique which any one of her international rivals would envy. Her work with the apparatus is brilliant, and Boryana demonstrates a diverse range of apparatus handling techniques and mastery, characteristic of the Bulgarian school of rhythmic gymnastics.
Boryana’s new ball routine has been crafted exquisitely to the tune of Bulgarian traditional love song ‘Vecherai, Rado’. The song originates from the Rhodopi mountain in Bulgaria and has the typical for the region lyricism of melody and vocals. Similar to the original, this musical version is poetic, intertwining the romantic piano, the crying violin, and the beautiful voice of Bulgarian singer Desislava Dobreva. To this wonderful tune, Boryana’s routine is perfectly orchestrated to articulate the emotional sensitivity of the piece. Her body movements flow from one to the next with ease, despite the difficulty of each move. What makes this routine so captivating, is that it creates a sense of oneness when all the elements come together – music, body movement, colour. This routine brings pure joy to the senses. It teleports the audience into a world of beauty, grace, and love.
At the Grand Prix competition, Boryana showcased a new stunning white leotard embellished with Swarovski crystals arranged in shapes from the Bulgarian folklore. It has been designed and crafted with a lot of attention to detail. I did some reading on Bulgarian folk gowns (‘nosii’) and I noticed resemblance between certain elements of Boryana’s leotard and the folklore gown typical to the region of Kyustendil, in the south-west of Bulgaria. The leotard overall resembles the top part of the gown, called ‘saqna’, which consists of the basic white cotton shirt, and the ‘saq’ over it – an embellished topcoat open at the front. Boryana’s version of the ‘saq’ consists of colourful stripes arranged in a round neckline. There are two paisley-shaped ornaments at her front waistline, which represent another typical feature of the Bulgarian folk gown, the ‘gaitani’. The lower part of the leotard loosely resembles an apron, which is another essential to the Bulgarian folk gown, and is embellished by a square pattern called ‘shevitsa’ which is traditionally embroidered on various pieces of clothing in Bulgarian folklore. The white back of the leotard features another bigger ‘shevitsa’ as the centrepiece.
The amount of detail, meaning and tradition incorporated in this leotard are astonishing, and perfectly complement the rest of the routine. I love how Boryana’s ball routine brings together past and present, folklore and novelty, lyricism and athleticism, grace and strength.
I look forward to seeing Boryana Kaleyn perform at the World Cup in Sofia – a highly competitive rhythmic gymnastics event, which will take place between 26-28th March 2021, and will also kick-start the big competitions for this year. I will be following the event and sharing my thoughts and observations with you.
See you next time,
Video of Boryana's ball routine:
Video of the leotard:
Picture of national gown:
Picture of gown with ‘Shevitsa’: