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ECIPA - European Center for Immersive Performative Art  / VARIANT culture is a place dedicated to creation, that uses the bodies of the audience, performers, light, sound and ordinary objects to present immersive art acts.
Immersion happen when the body is physically active, in possession of all its senses and sensitivity, interacting with other bodies or objects at the same space in a movement directed towards the inner self, exploring the limitless internal theater that each human being possesses. 
ECIPA is located in the space of "VARIANT culture", 67 avenue Vassil Levski, Sofia / Bulgaria and supported by the National Fund of Culture / NFC Bulgaria - EU Program for recovery and development of private cultural organizations.

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Team members

Christian Bakalov 


  After studying at the National Ballet School of Sofia and at The Young Ballet of France, Christian started working for Robert Wilson, Jérôme Bel and Florentina Holzinger, amongst others. His artistic journey ended up in close collaborations with Jan Fabre, Miet Warlop and Ivo Dimchev. In 2013, he began developing his first immersive performative installation, BRIGHT, in which the audience plays the main role.

Blurring the boundaries between performative action and installation, Christian develops a series of immersive methods which introduce the audience to a parallel universe, individually engaging their different senses and inviting them to reconsider the audience—art object—performer relationship.


Milena Dimitrova

Manger & Co-Director

Over the past ten years, Milena Dimitrova's professional development has been mainly focused  on social and education works in a field of art for childrens, peripheries not included minorities, human rights, developing and researching new audiences for contemporary arts, etc. She has over 10 successful projects as an event manager and PR expert in the fields of music, literature, education and visual arts. Milena Dimitrova is a philologist by education, a long-time journalist in radio and print media, she worked for the development of audiences for classical and jazz music in Jazz FM and Classic FM and a long-term communication expert for large national and international projects.


Juliana Saiska 


Juliana Saiska is an actress, director and psychodrama therapist. After the National Academy for Theatre and Film Arts, she gradueted in MA Artistic Psycho-social practices and MA in Film and TV Art at NBU in Sofia / Bulgaria and acquired the qualification of psychodrama therapist at the Bulgarian Society of Psychodrama and Group Therapy (member of FEPTO) and the Centre for culture and debate The Red House. Since 2011, Saiska has been a social worker consultant at the Daily Counseling Center for Children, Adolescents and Parents at the Prevention and Information Center on Drug Addiction. In the period between 2018 and 2021 she has been a consultant at the creative studio at Pavilion 19: a model for working with local and migrant communities in the area of ​​the Women's Market". Juliana Saiska is a founder of the EMERGENCY THEATER Foundation and a producer of her performances - “Scenes at Dawning” Saiska/Sofronieva/Dimitrova, “Bait, passion and power  in Terra Incognita”, INTERVIEWS WITH THE SOUL, “Spanking: portrait 1”.  As actress she had performed for Vassilena Radeva, Tedi Moskov and Ivo Dimchev in various theater in Bulgaria and Europe. 
In 2022 Juliana Saiska started a project, called "Dramaturgy of Intimacy", where she leads a psychodrama group and works with members of the LGBTQ+ community. This group will continue in 2023 in the local of ECIPA / VARIANT culture, every Friday. 


Teodor Kotov 


Psychotherapist and certified Psychodrama Director, Master Degree in Psychotherapy Science from Sigmund University Vienna/Paris, currently supervising projects and initiatives focused on education and artistic psycho-social work with artists and young people. Individual and group psychotherapist with private practice in Paris.


Daniel Denev 

 assistant / performer / teacher

After his career as a Dancesport competitor, winner of the Bulgarian Cup and part of the Bulgarian national dance team, Daniel settled in Vietnam, as one of the professional dancers in the dance show "Dancing with the stars" for 6 seasons. During his 10-year stay, he worked in show business as a dancer, choreographer, model, actor and music concert director. Dance teacher at Vietnam-Australia International School, as well as Event manager at the biggest fitness club - CFYC.For the last 2 years, Daniel has been in Bulgaria, where he dances and choreographs on the independent dance scene. He is holding workshops for Dancesport, dance movement workout and  teaching dance meditation and dance therapy. After his first participation in Christian Bakalov's project - UNREAL, he decided to dive into the immersive performance art, as an assistant and part of ECIPA.


Nikolay Barzakov

assistant / performer / teacher 

Nikolay is a multi-disciplinary artist with expertise in visual and performing arts and theatre pedagogy. He has lived and created in Budapest, Hong Kong and currently based in Sofia, Bulgaria.

 He has extensive experience in acrobatics, stage combat, juggling, clowning, pantomime, martial arts and dance improvisation. Long-term researcher and practitioner of the techniques of Grotowski and M. Chekhov. Currently, he is working on his doctoral thesis exploring the "Psychology of gesture and behavioral perception in cinema and theatre".


Mihail Bonev 

performer / teacher 

Mihail is a socially engaged artist, a humanist. Extremely sesnsitive to the world and the people around him. He likes to express his inner world trough his body.
Михаил- социално ангажиран артист, хуманист. Сензитивен към хората и света около себе си.Обича да изразява вътрешния си свят чрез тялото си и да се самоизследва и самоанализира непрекъснато.


Tatyana Petrova 

assistant / performer

After graduating in Master of Theology at Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski", Tatyana Petrova has being working as sell manager in clothing for Zara, H&M and Balenciaga. In 2014 she start assisting and performing in "BRIGHT", the first immersive performative installation of Christian Bakalov and continue since then to be part of all his projects. Tatyana was also assistant at IMAL center for digital art space in Brussels from 2019 - 21, and has participated in the organization of "Working title festival" for Workspacebrussels. 


Demir Berisha 

assistant / performer

Demir Berisha is a Belgian self-taught performer, who studied information science and photography.
He has been assisting, and performing for Christian Bakalov since 2017.
He has performed in works by Katharina Zimmerhackl, Ilke Gers, Benjamin Vandewalle, Jan Martens, Selma and Sofiane Ouissi, Fabrice Samyn, and Tetsuya Umeda, amongst others.
He currently lives and work in Brussels.

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