Boston’s Sayat Nova Dance Company always celebrates its big anniversaries in Armenia

After moving from Beirut to Boston with his family in 1970, founding artistic director of Boston’s Sayat Nova Dance company Apo Ashjian took his parents’ advice and started joining theater, song, dance and other clubs so that he wouldn’t forget Armenian and could preserve his national identity. The 14-year-old boy was immediately captivated by Armenian dances and went on to choose dance as a profession.

In 1986, after acquiring skills, Ashjian established the Sayat Nova Dance Company with the purpose of introducing the Armenian youth of Boston to unique Armenian dances, and not only that.

Throughout the years of its existence, the dance company has gained recognition in Boston and other U.S. cities, and evidence of that are the dance company’s concert tours in several Armenian communities. Currently, the dance company has 56 dancers, and there are changes every year. The dancers can be between the ages of 16 and 30.

Apo Ashjian has also created a school/studio for 4-15-year-old children, adolescents and teenagers. The graduates can join the dance group, if they wish.

The dance company celebrates every big anniversary in Yerevan, and Apo Ashjian elaborated on that. “First of all, we consider it our duty to organize a concert dedicated to our heroic soldiers, and only after that do we feel at ease and give a concert for the public at large in Yerevan. For instance, on the occasion of the dance company’s 20th anniversary, we gave eight concerts in different cities of Armenia, reaching Gyumri and even Artsakh. This summer, in the year marking the dance company’s 30th anniversary, we are getting ready to visit Armenia and stand with Armenian soldiers and the Armenian people on that festive day,” the dance company’s artistic director told Hayern Aysor, adding that these visits allow the boys and girls to discover Armenia and go sightseeing, which makes them very happy.

This year’s visit will become unforgettable for the dance group since they will be performing during the “My Armenia” Pan-Armenian Festival organized by the RA Ministry of Diaspora for the first time. The members are excited about their performance during the festival.

Apo Ashjian also informed that the dance company regularly exchanges experiences with various dance groups of Yerevan and holds master classes that also serve as one of the best examples of the partnership between Armenia and the Diaspora.

The dance company often receives invitations to participate in citywide events in Boston. It is during those events that foreigners are introduced to Armenian dances and express their words of admiration.

One of the recent events that Apo Ashjian remembered was the festival that was held in the yard of Boston City Council and gathered about 7,000 people.

Gevorg Chichyan


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