Who We Are?

Our story

Established in September 2014, the Bulgarian folklore dance ensemble “Golden Thrace” embodies a deep commitment to preserving and sharing the essence of Bulgarian music and dance. Our mission extends beyond the art form; it’s about fostering a sense of community and joy within the Bulgarian community in Toronto.

With a vibrant collective of over 200 dancers ranging from ages 5 to 65, Golden Thrace proudly represents the heart and soul of Bulgarian folklore. Our ensemble showcases an impressive repertoire of more than 45 traditional “horo” dances, alongside a rich assortment of choreographed performances representing diverse ethnographic regions of Bulgaria.

At the helm of Golden Thrace are our esteemed Founders, Artistic Directors, and Choreographers, Mariya Zasheva and Mihail Kochankov. Their unwavering passion and dedication have steered the ensemble towards a profound appreciation and portrayal of Bulgarian heritage through dance.

Golden Thrace isn’t merely a dance ensemble; it’s a cultural beacon that radiates the beauty, spirit, and tradition of Bulgaria. Through spirited performances and a shared love for Bulgarian folklore, we strive to create a space where heritage thrives, friendships flourish, and the joy of dance unites us all.

Maria ZasheVa

Maria is an enthusiastic dancer/instructor who started dancing at the age of 6 at the local ensemble in her hometown, Pavel Baniya, where over 120 children rehearse on a weekly basis as part of the Bulgarian Folklore Dance Ensemble ”Detelini”. Subsequently, Maria graduated from high school with honours in Choreography and Dancing. Over the past 30 years, Maria was fully immersed in dancing, fulfilling various roles: dancer, instructor, and a role model for many, who dedicate their leisure time to dancing and embracing culture in all its forms. 

Today, while enfolding her career as a Police Officer, she continues to establish herself in the field of dancing by teaching Bulgarian folklore dances to children and adults from 5 to 65 years old. Besides being a lead choreographer of Dance Ensemble “Izvor” in Detroit, USA, Maria is now a proud founder and a choreographer of Ensemble for Bulgarian Folklore Dances “Golden Thrace” in Toronto, Canada, where she tirelessly and with immense dedication teaches children and adults.

Mihail kochankov

Misho was born in the city of Plovdv, one of the cultural centers of Bulgaria. He started dancing Bulgarian folklore dances at the age of six, and he was taught by some of the most respected and well-known figures in the field at the time. Misho’s talent and dedication fast-tracked him to a professional level of dancing, where he established himself as a leader and a role model for many children and adults who wanted to follow his footprints to being a successful dancer who travels the world, wins numerous competitions and promotes Bulgarian culture and traditions at their best. 

Mihail is now a choreographer of Dance Ensemble “Izvor” in Detroit as well as founder and choreographer of his own Ensemble for Bulgarian Folklore Dances “Golden Thrace”, Toronto, Canada. He now teaches folklore dancing to over 200 people from all group ages and sets an example for many who admire not only his dancing skills, but also his commitment to spread his knowledge and serve others.