Bulgarian Cultural Center- Ripni Kalinke (Sunnyvale, CA)


  • Name:Ms. Virginia Snyder

Organization Address

  • Organization Name:Bulgarian Cultural Center- Ripni Kalinke
  • Address:1643 Kitchener Dr
    Sunnyvale, CA 94087
    United States

Organization Phone

  • Main phone:(408) 733-5529

Organization Web

User Email


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  • Mission:
  • Ripni Kalinke’s mission is to preserve and disseminate Bulgarian culture and traditions primarily through dance and the newly created traditional singing groups. Both parts of the mission - to preserve and spread Bulgarian culture - fit very well with the current activities of Ripni Kalinke. The class in Bulgarian dance allows the group to practice and maintain live Bulgarian folk dances (and thus preserve them), and the presentation of theatrical choreography from the representative group is extremely powerful way to spread Bulgarian culture and traditions, while preserving them. The new Bulgarian vocal classes with recording artist Maria Bebelekova pass traditional songs and singing techniques to adults and children. We are particularly interested in involving the many grandmothers who are in America to help raise their grandchildren.

  • Overview:
  • Bulgaria is a poor country, with a rich heritage, located in the southern part of Eastern Europe, at the crossroads of East and West on the Black Sea. Bulgaria has a long and unique cultural heritage, exemplified by the highly unusual rhythms of the energetic dance and music. Dance and music are an integral part of Bulgarian culture, both as art and in life’s events, big and small. Bulgaria as a country began with the union of Slavic tribes with the Bulgarian Huns, sharing a joint conflict with the Byzantine Empire. Both Bulgarians and Byzantines eventually fell victim to Turkish conquest, cutting them off from contact with Western and Central Europe. This separation and the conditions of Ottoman rule led to a separate cultural development until modern times. For Bulgarians, music and dance remain a special link to the past, unique to Bulgaria. Each village and region has its special dances and we have Ripni Kalinke in Silicon Valley.

    Bulgaria is a small country but the home of an unusual rhythmic pulse, a pulse that is uneven, with the dance flowing in five, seven or even eleven or thirteen beats if divided in the Western European classical thinking. The dance and music is felt in measures made of unequal pulses. This originates in Bulgaria and is unique both in dance and music. Composer Bela Bartok found this music and its rhythm fascinating and composed works based on the exciting energetic rhythms of Bulgaria’s folklore dances. It is this dance heritage we wish to preserve and bring to a wider audience, as well as maintain the village life closeness and friendship that the dancing together brings to modern people, whether of Bulgarian heritage or not, something that is very important in Silicon Valley where life is so often in transition. Bulgarian dance, whether dancing with friends, performing or watching brings people together with joy, creating beauty and a bond between all.

    For over four years the group has sponsored and participated in a variety of activities including:

    ~Classes for Bulgarian dance for multiple ability levels.
    ~Commissioned and presented new choreography by Yulian Yordanov, trained in Bulgarian folkloric dance and choreography at the Academy of Fine Arts in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.
    ~Presentation of folk choreography locally and nationally.
    ~Performances with some of the best traditional Bulgarian musicians in the world, Vassil and Maria Bebelekovi, former teachers at the folkloric music academy in Shiroka Laka Bulgaria, Bulgarian Rom (Gypsy) musician Rumen Shopov and others.
    ~Major events which centered around dance performance, but included many aspects of Bulgarian culture, such as a public dance concert featuring the Bulgarian/American group Orkestar Meze, and the Bebelekovi family, open dancing, traditional cuisine and an art fair featuring works by Bulgarians located in the Bay Area.
    ~Holiday parties for Koleda (Christmas) and picnics for Orthodox Easter include traditional dance, some live music and singing by group members and tradtional food. Celebrations for International Women's Day.
    ~ A large party is held yearly for Ripni Kalinke's Birthday which attracts many people including some non-Bulgarian speakers, giving them a chance to enjoy the dancing, music, food and fun of a traditional Bulgarian event.
    ~ Performances for school events such as the International Fair at Escondido School in Palo Alto, as well as leading public general dancing for all, demonstrating live music and helping with an informational booth.
    ~Performance at a wedding, presenting the bride's Bulgarian culture to the non-Bulgarian guests, working with world renown bagpiper Vassil Bebelokov and recording artist Rumen Shopov.
    ~Teaching a few Bulgarian dances to non-Bulgarians at the San Francisco Free Folk Festival.
    ~ A new and exciting singing program taught by Maria Bebelekova, which is targeting the parents and grandparents of the children of the Bulgarian School in Sunnyvale and also provides singing instruction for the children.

  • History:
  • No matter how successful an immigrant has become in his or her new endeavor, the lost connection with their homeland, relatives, and culture always leaves an emptiness and longing. In the famous Silicon Valley, a group of Bulgarian immigrants found a piece of their homeland through their wonderful folk dance and music. Founded by two enthusiasts on October 26, 2010,

  • Year established:2010
  • Endowment:Unknown


  • Executive / Trustee board size:5
  • Advisory board size:0
  • Staff size:4

Board and Executive Names

  • Board Members / Trustees:
  • Vassil Bebelekov, Occupation: Professional musician, graduated, with honors from the Plovdiv Folklore Academy, in Bulgaria. Residence: San Jose. Board Member since 2013.

    Danail Kirov, Occupation: Software Architect. Holds MS in Engineering from Technical University in Sofia, Bulgaria. Residence: San Jose. Board Member since 2013. Current role: Treasurer and Vice President.

    Sonia Kirova, Occupation: Staff Software Quality Assurance Engineer. Holds MS in Mathematics and Computer Science. Certified teacher in Mathematics in Bulgaria and California. Taught High School level of Math in Bulgaria, Canada, and California. Residence: San Jose. Board Member since 2013.

    Virginia Snyder, Occupation: Actuarial Analyst (retired). Directs a community band and choir specializing in Eastern European music. Holds two degrees in music (bachelors with concentration on ethnomusicology) and one in mathematics. Residence: Sunnyvale, CA. Board Member since 2013. Current role: Secretary.

  • Executive Director / President:
  • President: Damyan Marinov, Occupation: Director of Analytics. Residence: Sunnyvale, CA. Joined the board in 2013. Current role: President

Staff Names

  • Key Staff:
  • Mr. Yordanov, (currently on hiatus due to surgery) created the performance group's choreography and trained the dancers. Yuliyan Yordanov grew up in Doyrentsi, a village in the Lovech region of North Central Bulgaria, where he was immersed in dancing and singing from a young age. He later completed his studies at the Academy of Music and Dance Art in Plovdiv, and for nine years worked professionally in Lovech as a traditional Bulgarian dance instructor, choreographer and artistic director of youth ensembles.

    While Mr. Yordanov is on hiatus, Damyan Marinov and Magdalena Marinova are directing the performance group and share the choreography responsibilities with Vera Ivanova. Damyan and Magdalena have prior leadership experience in Bulgarian folkloric ensembles in Boston and Dallas. Vera Ivanova is from Varna Bulgaria where she trained with a folklore ensemble and learned folklore traditions from her mother, a well-regarded singer. Damyan Marinov conducts the weekly classes and has organized an excellent instructional program.

    Vassil Bebelekov, musician, joined Ripni Kalinke 2010. Vassil Bebelekov was born in the Rhodope Mountains to a musical family. Like his grandfather, Vassil plays kaba gajda, a bagpipe from the Rhodope Mountains in Southern Bulgaria. He studied at the renowned folk music school in Shiroka Luka, which has the mission of preserving traditional Bulgarian music and dance, and went on to graduate with honors from the Plovdiv Folk Music Conservatory. Vassil played and recorded in Bulgaria, and taught at the Shiroka Luka Music School for many years. Since relocating to America, Vassil continues to play, teaches many workshops, and builds traditional instruments. Vassil is a master of traditional Bulgarian music and a gem in the folkloric world. He assists Ripni Kalinke by providing authentic dance music at many performances and other public events, allowing the public enjoy dancing to traditional Bulgarian music as it has been heard for millennia.

    Maria Bebelekova, vocalist, musician, joined Ripni Kalinke 2010. Maria Bebelekova grew up in Shiroka Luka in Southern Bulgaria. Her grandmother and mother taught her to sing, and she learned the traditional songs of Bulgaria from them. She is a master of the unique style of Bulgarian mountain singing popularized by the Mysterious Voices of Bulgaria’s Grammy Award winning album. Her voice is clear and beautiful, the ornamentation and timbre preserve thousands of years of tradition. She studied at the Shiroka Luka Folk Music School, as well as the Plovdiv Conservatory. She returned to her home and became an instructor at the music school in Shiroka Luka. She performed, recorded and taught in Bulgaria until relocating to America. Maria currently performs with her husband, Vassil Bebelekov, and gives many workshops in Bulgarian style singing and folklore songs. With her husband Vassil, she provides authentic music for many of Ripni Kalinke’s performances and public events and now conducts a singing program underwritten by Ripni Kalinke for adults and children.


  • Organization type:Grantseeker
  • Country of registration:United States
  • Tax Determination Letter:Unknown
  • IRS Section:
  • Tax ID:90-0993620

IRS Business Master File Information

  • EIN:900993620
  • Sort (Secondary) Name:
  • Care Of Name:
  • Organization Address:3295 PAPPANI WAY
  • Organization City:SAN JOSE
  • Organization State:CA
  • Organization Zip:95148-3843
  • Group Exemption Number:0000
  • Subsection Code:03
  • Classification Code(s):2
  • Subsection/Classification Desc.:Educational Organization
  • Affiliation Code:3
  • Ruling Date:July, 2014
  • Deductibility Code:1
  • Foundation Code:16
  • Foundation Code Desc.:Organization that normally receives no more than one third of its support from gross investment income and unrelated business income and at the same time more than one third of its support from contributions, fees, and gross receipts related to exempt purposes. 509(a)(2)
  • Activity Code(s):
  • Activity Code Desc.(s):
  • Organization Code:1 (Corporation)
  • Exempt Org. Status Code:01 (Unconditional Exemption)
  • Tax Period:December, 2016
  • Filing Requirement Category:02 (990 - Required to file Form 990-N - Income less than $25,000 per year)
  • Accounting Period:December
  • NTEE Code:A99
  • Asset Amount:$0
  • Asset Code:
  • Income Amount:$0
  • Income Code:
  • 990 Revenue Amount:$0
  • Last Updated:2/21/2018 5:02:23 pm

This information is directly from the IRS Exempt Organization Business Master File at Exempt Organizations Business Master File Extract. This information is not under the control of the Common Grant Application and is collected and compiled and can only be changed by the IRS.