Macedonian, Croatian, Serbian
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George Tomov was born and raised in Strumica, Macedonia. George earned degrees in sculpture and architecture form the University of Skopje and, in addition to speaking English, was fluent in five other languages. His sculptures had won wide aclaim by authorities and collectors both in the Unites States and abroad.
For 16 years he was an artist, choreographer, and lead dancer with Yugoslavia's state ensembles LADO and TANEC.
George left his native Yugoslavia in 1968. He began teaching folkdance sessions in New York City and gave dance master classes across the country, Canada, and Australia.
In 1974, he formed his own dance company, the TOMOV Folk Dance Ensemble, which rose quickly to rank among the country's foremost ethnic dance companies. He had envisioned a broader stage on which to present the richness of the Yugoslav folklore traditions he knew so well. In the summer of 1977, the Ensemble, along with its parent organization, the Folkdance Foundation, moved into the newly renovated Tomov Studio on Union Square. George also was the artistic director and choreographer of the Goce Delčev Ensemble, which toured many of the North American Macedonian communities and received many prizes for their excellent performances.
George was a noted authority on the music, dance, and culture of the ethnic regions comprising the former Yugoslavia. Between lecturing and giving master classes around the United States, he found time to fashion new material for the Ensemble's repertoire.
When a severe earthquake struck Yugoslavia, the Ensemble immediately arranged to give a benefit concert with all proceeds going to earthquake victims. Then, in 1980, the Ensemble had the honor to perform for the athletes at the Winter Olympics Games in Lake Placid. The Ensemble toured Yugoslavia in 1979 and again in 1981 at the invitation of the Yugoslav government.
George conducted frequent tours to the former Yugoslavia especially designed for those interested in folk dance. He taught at many folk dance camps, including the New Mexico August camp in 1985.
He retired his dance studio in 1986. In 2005, he was awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor for enriching American history by incorporating his own heritage.
George Tomov recorded with his own musical group, the TOMOV Folk Orchestra, and produced some fine recordings of Macedonian dance music.
George's publications and articles included
- "Macedonian Folk Songs." Viltis. XXXII, No. 2 (1973), 14-15.
George died on August 5, 2008, in Wayne, New Jersey, surrounded by members of his former New York City dance troupe and Macedonian friends. He is survived by his brother Janko and nephew Bobi in Australia and by niece Violetta in Macedonia.
Dances that George taught in the United States included Bosanska Tresenica, Dupljaja, Janino Oro, Kirčino Oro, Koljino Oro, Kopriva i oj Sviraj Svirče, Mista Kolo, Oj Rastiču, Povrateno, Prigorski Drmeš, Ranče, Ravno Oro, Skudrinka, Slavonsko Kolo, Slovenski Plesi, Žalna Majka, and Žensko Čamče.