News & Events

Up to the Mountains (Canada)

Date: 08/22/2017
Category: Regional , USA & Canada
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Up to the Mountains (Canada)

One of the main features of the Armenian character is the infinite love for its culture. One can hardly find an Armenian in the Homeland or the Diaspora, that does not watch an Armenian dance or listen to an Armenian song at least for a few minutes in a day.  While the Hamazkayin Armenian Educational and Cultural Association’s mission is to satisfy the thirst of the Armenian people for the Armenian culture in the Diaspora.

On 24 and 25 June 2017, the Hamazkayin Gladzor Chapter’s Choreographic College and  Erebuni Dance Ensemble gave their annual performance etitled Up to the Mountains.

Despite the difficulties experienced by the ensemble after its choreographer and artistic director Lori Najarian left for Armenia,  the rehearsals started in February under the direction of new choreographers Arevik and Arman Avoyans. It is worth mentioning that from September to January, David Manukian and Hovhanness Haroutiunian directed the rehearsals of elder groups and the choreographic college.

The performance was dedicated to the 150th anniversary of Canada. "A country that has given us every opportunity to survive as a nation and to have our contribution in both Canada and the world," said Chair of Gladzor Chapter, Tamar Donabedian Kuzuian, in her English / Armenian opening speech.

Leon Karagulian  performed the marches of Canada, the Republic of Armenia and Artsakh. Then little reciter Sarine Gabrielian read Hamo Sahyan’s poem My Roots with her sweet and sincere voice, as if taking us up to the mountains.

The little dancers started the program with the dance  Powerful Armenia (staged by Arevik and Arman Avoyans). Then the girls of Erebuni performed the Dance of Tulips (staged by Vanush Khanamirian).  The little girls performed Parmani Dance (music by Khachatur Avedisian and staged by Arevik and Arman Avoyans).  Andre, Vani Yagoupian and Hovhannes Haroutiunian performed the dance Cordial Word (staged by Hovhannes Haroutiunian). Maria Manoogian performed Uzundara (staged by Vanush Khanamirian), Erebuni  Dance Ensemble performed Shalakho (soloists Maria Manoogian and Koko Akikian, staged by Vanush Khanamirian), and Sardarapat Dance (staged by Arevik and Arman Avoyans). In addition to all dances, kanon player Matiana Torosian performed Khachatur Avedisian’s Makhmour Aghjik, which enriched the program consisting of dances of different styles.

The colorful and neat costumes, the little dancers’ disciplined behavior on the stage, the boys’ combative dances and the girls’ refined and graceful movements and elegance reflected the choreographers’ hard and meticulous work, the Board members’ commitment and serious approach, and of course, the dedication of their assistants.

It was a great honor for Hamazkayin to host at the concert MP of Canada, Mr. Shaun Chen, and MP of Ontario Mrs. Soo Wong․ Honorable guests expressed their happiness and gratitude.  They highly appreciated the great efforts of Toronto’s Armenian community in support of the Armenian refugees from Syria, and in favor of the Canadian diverse community.  They congratulated  the Hamazkayin and all attendees for the beautiful concert and granted a certificate of appreciation to Hamazkayin.

The second part of the program started with the little dancers’ My Sweet Armenia  (soloists  Raffi Ohanian and Anna Khosrovafian, staged by Arevik and Arman Avoyans). The Erebuni girls performed Piece of Heaven (staged by Hovhannes Haroutiunian).  The juniors performed Joke Dance (soloists Saro Abelian and Elen Atamian, staged by Vanush Khanamirian).  The elder girls performed Harp Dance (soloist Isapel Janszian, staged by Vanush Khanamirian, accompanied on Kanon by Matiana Torosian).  Soloists Tsila Kuyumjian, Koko Akikian, Hovhannes Harutyunian, David Manukian, Aren Marselian, Narek Gasemjian, Hrag Karamartyan, and Hayk Martoyan performed Dance of Kintos (staged by Vanush Khanamirian).  The boys performed Apricot Dance (music by Khachatur Avedisian, staged by Arevik and Arman Avoyan).  The concert ended with the exciting Wedding Dance (soloist Berla Pushmanian (bride), Koko Akikian (groom), David Manukian (God Father), Adrineh Artin (God Mother), staged by Karen Kevorkian).

Tamar Donabedian Kuzuian expressed her gratitude to the choreographers Arevik and Arman Avoyans, which, in a short period, did a tremendous job to prepare the performance.  She also thanked the Ensemble’s Board members for their dedication and commitment, the assistants, all participants of the performance, and the parents for their patience.  She expressed special gratitude to all the donors, especially to the main sponsors Mr. and Mrs. Alain and Asik Der Minassians, who received a souvenir from the Board.

Then the conductor of the event invited Lilit Najarian to the stage who read Vahagn Davtyan’s words "Do not leave the land, my powerful Artsakh.  Do not ever leave this land for you are the lord of it.  Here you were born, and you have to survive and hover like an eagle, and keep watch over those mountains.″

As the Hamazkayin Choreographic College did not have any name, the Chair of Gladzor Chapter proudly announced the new name of the college - Hamazkayin Artsakh Choreographic School.  Then she said, ″Let the victorious spirit of Artsakh inspire and lead the dancers from now on, and let the College cling to the Armenian Culture as the people of Artsakh cling to their land, and let the teachers teach the students to cherish the Armenian culture.

At the end, the spiritual pastor of the Holy Mother Church, Father Geghard Kuspekian, delivered his heartfelt speech and closed the evening with Preserving Prayer.

The title of the event Up to the Mountains was really meaningful. When any Hamazkayin member makes every effort for the best of the collective work, it  undoubtedly means ″going up to the mountains″.

                                                                                                Artak Der Hagopian

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