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Georgi and Vaerie Terzieff

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Georgi and Vaerie Terzieff


Information: Georgi and Vaerie Terzieff, teachers of Balkan dance.

Georgi Terzieff was born on April 14, 1933. He taught Balkan dance in Buffalo, New York, for many years. He was a native of Bulgaria where he attended school. He escaped into Turkey when he was a teenager. After eight months in a Turkish jail and more than a year waiting for sponsorship, he came to the United States.

In 1970, Georgi Terzieff married Vaerie A. Hansen. Vaerie Terzieff was a co-founder (along with Mary Hillinger and Shirley Notess) and former artistic director of the Balkan Dancers of Buffalo, which began as an outgrowth of a Bulgarian performance group based at the International Institute. The women expanded the repertoire to include not only Bulgarian, but dances of other Balkan and eastern European countries. The Balkan Dancers performed at churches, schools, universities, civic and private associations, and fairs.

Through his influence as performer, teacher, and artistic director of the group, the specialty of the Balkan Dancers again became primarily Bulgarian and Serbian. They included two Bulgarian dance suites staged by Georgi, one choreographed by Francois Legault of Montréal, and a Serbian suite choreographed by Bora Gajicki. Membership in the group varied over the years, with more than 100 dancers passing through and wearing the Balkan tsurvuli. The group usually was comprised of about twelve young adults (with the Terzieff's daughter, Julie, being the youngest). Grants and achievement awards for community service were received from the Niagara Frontier Folk Art Council and the International Institute of Buffalo.

A yearly tradition for the Balkan Dancers, Labor Day Weekend Camp, had a long history in the Buffalo area.

Vaerie was a past president of the Niagara Frontier Folk Art Council. She coordinatd ethnic dance performances throuthout New York State and southern Ontario for more than two decades, and taught international folk dance workshops until 1991. She was also performance coordinator for the Ethnic Heritage Festival for almost 10 years.

Vaerie died on July 7, 1992 in Hospice Buffalo in Alden where she had been a patient for a week. She was 52 years old. Georgi died August 29, 2003, at Hospice Buffalo in Cheektowaga after a long illness. He was 70 years old.

Dances Georgie and Vaerie taught include Donka Bulja si Dumaše, Dudino Oro, Mamo Tenjo Duma, Pravo Traijkisko, and Zaspala e Radko.

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