Sometimes when you try to describe a performance you feel unable to find the right word for it, because no words can exactly describe what you feel when watching it. Such was the annual concert given by the students of the Hamazkayin Choreographic College and the "Erebuni" Dance Ensemble. The performance took place at the weekend of June 25-26, 2016, at "Hamazkayin" Hall of the Armenian Youth Center of Toronto. More than 900 hundred spectators attended the concerts in two days. The performance, due to the dancers’ gorgeous costumes, unique staging and excellent quality, will undoubtedly stay as a memorable event in the history of the Armenian Community of Toronto and of the Gladzor Chapter of Hamazkayin Toronto. The performed artistic program filled our hearts with pride. The "Puy-Puy Mouse" reminded us about our childhood, the "Memoirs" took us to our past, "Artashat" made us stronger, "Kalinka" took us far away to Russia and "Kochari" transfered us to our eternal anchor called Homeland.
The little dancers of C and D groups of Hamazkayin Choreographic College, with smiling faces and wide open eyes, were standing behind the curtain and were impatiently waiting for their turn. They were rolling their heads to right and left, and their forefingers on their lips, they were watching one another and following their instructors that were carefully guarding them.
As soon as the music started the children ran out to the stage and started to exercise on their carpets. It was one of the open dance classes displayed to the audience. The instructor joined the group, carefully examined each of the dancers, gave instructions to them, and the rehearsal of the dancers from Hamazkayin Choreographic College and "Erebuni" Dance Ensemble started. Artistic director and dance instructor Lori Najarian has been working with children for more than 6 years.
The song "Hayastan" (We and Our Mountains) started, and from both sides of the stage the college juniors entered the stage and started their performance. The bright rosy cheeked dancers were so enthusiastic when they hand in hand and in proportionate steps entered the stage, turning the concert into a real feast and receiving roaring applause. Then, the next dance started immediately.
Mother mouse (Karin Matossian) entered the stage and started to examine all around, while the little mice (young dancers of B group) would appear on the stage shaking their long tails right and left. "Puy-puy Mouse" was on stage.
The moving pictures on the screen gave additional charm to the performance. The mice continued their exciting play on the stage when the cats appeared (Adrineh Artin and Titer Karkotsian).
Then, from children’s world we moved to the world of heroic Artsakh. The boys in silver and blue velvet costumes were singing "Gyulum Jan" ("Erebuni" Dance Ensemble) standing side by side in imposing posture, which showed the assertiveness of Artsakh people. Instructor Lori Najarian's solo dance in a very gorgeous costume attracted everybody’s attention.
"Enzeli" was performed by older students of the college. They captured attention with their harmonious and graceful movements and costumes in bold and vivid colors. Shaking us over the waves, they transferred us to the blue world of love.
The dance "Memoirs" woke the memories of the past. For a moment it seemed we were in Teryan's "Twilight Dreams" when the graceful girls of "Erebuni" Dance Ensemble smoothly entered the stage. They were dancing as if wrapped in the clear blue sky and were gracefully gliding in the air with sparkling ornaments on their heads. Very gracefull and attractive was Maria Martirosyan’s solo dance.
The solemn entrance and the playful dance of our naughty shepherds, sheltered in the native mountains, and of their chief shepherd (Armen Artin) created a lot of enthusiasm in the hall. The boy "Cranes" appeared on the stage and took us into their proportionate flocks, after which the clocks turned back, and we found ourselves in the arms of a legend - the very inspiring dance called "Spindles" and performed by the girls of "Erebuni" Dance Ensemble. "Folk Dance" started and the snappy movements of dancers excited the audience.
Now, the "Vagharshapat" Trio (on Saturday – Meghedi Gosdanian, Melina Galtakian, Dvin Garachian and on Sunday - Sarin Charshafian, Marina Kalousdian, Karin Matossian) is on stage. We should note that each dance was accompanied by corresponding images on the screen in the background, which perfectly enriched the overall performance. The short videos made by Armen Garo Melkonian and Artur Grigorian, displayed during the program, expressed the feelings of dancers towards the dance, and what the dance ment to them.
The dance "Armenia is mine" by children of A. Group was performed with high sense of pride. The dancers were like little bold soldiers. Sardarapat monuments was on the screen. From among the trees, the tricolor waved high and the dancers of "Erebuni" performed the dance "Haygazunner". It was a great, harmonious and dynamic performance showing our combative spirit of liberation struggle. That spirit will help us have Armenia. The hands were in the air, and there were feet-beating and continuous clapping. "The song of Armenia" gathered the dancers of all ages on the stage creating a gorgeous view.
Then, in the second part of the program, the famous Russian "Kalinka" was performed. The sparkling costumes, flawless flights and sinuous movements of "Erebuni" boys and girls impressed the audience, especially the Russian audience, which highly appreciated the performance at the end of the evening.
The pictures of white-walled houses and the blue waters of the Mediterranean took us to the country of Greeks. Opa՜ ... was heard and "Sirtaki" started. The accurate line of the young girls and their proportionate steps were impressive.
From Greece we moved to Spain. Lana Ter-Petrosyan's dance from "Erebuni" was passionate and very impressive. She performed Spanish Flamenco, which brought even more diversity to the program.
We couldn’t help admiring the Ukrainian "Hobak". The girls with striking head gears and dressed like dolls and the boys in red shoes and with tied up waists were like from the world of fairy tales. From that fairy-tale land, we moved to the world of epic heroes, called the land of Artsakh, and the dance "Artashat", dedicated to our heroes, thundered the stage. This superb dance was performed by "Erebuni" adult dancers. Then, the G group little dancers performed "Hayastan" with great inspiration, which was followed by a delicate dance of "Erebuni" girls called "Blossomed Cherry". It was accompanied by gentle music and beautiful view in pink colors. Then, once again "Kochari" started and made everybody be up. The passionate dance of "Erebuni" boys closed the evening and everybody in the hall hand in hand created groups and started to dance. The glorious evening reached its peak.
The audience stood up. Long applause continued.
The spectators really enjoyed the performance. The expressions on faces of dancers, their cocky, imposing postures, smooth, proportionate movements, perfectly staged by Lori Najarian dances really had inspired the audience. Long-term dancer Hovhannes Harutyunian presented a bunch of flowers to Lori. She delivered a speech, thanked everybody, and informed that from September she is going to continue education in the field of choreography in Armenia. Gladzor Chapter’s Chair Melody Etyemezian spoke about Lori’s virtues, and her meticulous, selfless and dedicated approach to her work, wishing her success and progress. She also highly appreciated the work of the Dance Committee representative Alin Donabedian-Tosunian for her diligent, consistent, unselfish and tireless volunteer work for six years. The memorable evening was closed by Archpriest Rev. Fr. Gomidas Panossian’s cordial congratulation speech, prayers and blessings.
The performance was an evident success due to Lori Najarian’s high quality teaching and artistic taste and the consistent hard work of the Hamazkayin soldiers. Titanic undertaking and titanic work had been done. By Lori, Executive Board members, auxiliaries, parents, sponsors and finally, by more than 150 dancers from the Choreographic College and "Erebuni" Dance Ensemble. We left the hall full of pride, wishing the best for Lori. The Hamazkayin will surely continue its mission, and in the nearest future, the Armenian dance will once again be presented and promoted on the stages in the head of a new instructor. As Lori said, the Armenian dance is a cultural treasure, which every Armenian should know and appreciate. It is a treasure, which we should and must preserve and propagate. We wish luminous way to Lori and strength and vigor to Hamazkayin. Our dance is eternal like our mountains.
Tamar Donabedian Kuzuyan