Ashot Ghazaryan: “Dance is movement, rhythm and life that is constantly breathing, living and making one live”

One of the beloved and interesting programs of the RA Ministry of Diaspora is the “My Armenia” Pan-Armenian Festival, which has gathered 48 well-known Armenian dance companies from 25 countries around the world. With their unique dances and interesting performances, they have been cordially received by the Armenian audience and have received warm rounds of applause. The editorial office of Hayern Aysor electronic newspaper is conducting interviews with the artistic directors of the dance companies and members of community structures and cultural organizations. One of guests was my interlocutor, director of the cultural organization of the Armenian community of the Kaluga region of the Russian Federation, Merited Artist of the Republic of Armenia, well-known dudukist Ashot Ghazaryan, who is representing the Tashir Dance Ensemble of Kaluga during the festival.

Hayern Aysor: Mr. Ghazaryan, the name of the dance ensemble already reminds one that great benefactor and businessman Samvel Karapetyan has provided great support to the dance ensemble. Is that true?

Ashot Ghazaryan: Of course! You are right. We owe a lot to Samvel Karapetyan, who helps and sponsors us to preserve, protect and enhance cultural life in the Armenian community of Kaluga. This is one of the major factors and preconditions for preservation of the Armenian identity outside of the Homeland.

Hayern Aysor: You have merit and are recognized in Armenia. Why and how did you settle in Kaluga? Were you invited?

A. G.: Yes, Samvel Karapetyan personally invited me and urged me to revitalize cultural life and help develop the art of the Armenian duduk within the community and teach the delicacies of our wonderful national instrument to those who wish to learn. I assumed the responsibility with great pleasure and do my job with a sense of responsibility. Besides Armenians, there are also two Russian girls who also want to learn how to play the Armenian duduk. One of them loved the Armenians and our culture so much that she got married to an Armenian boy from Tsalka living in Novorosiysk and continues to play the duduk.

Hayern Aysor: Is this the first time that Tashir Dance Ensemble is participating in this festival? Besides Kaluga, where else has the dance ensemble performed?

A. G.: This is the second time that we are participating in this beautiful and substantial pan-Armenian festival. We have mainly performed in Kaluga, but of course, there are and will be new offers.

Hayern Aysor: How old are the dancers? Who are the dance instructors?

A. G.: We enroll dancers between the ages of 6 and 30. There haven’t been older applicants. The dance instructor is a professional dancer by the name of Hayk Sahakyan. He works hard with the dancers because they are not professional and don’t have any professional education, but they have a unique love for Armenian dances. It is that love and interest that makes you want to be dedicated to your job.

Hayern Aysor: How do you provide national costumes?

A. G.: Mr. Karapetyan helps us with that. We have no problems. We order costumes from Armenia and sew them here.

Hayern Aysor: Is there any problem that the dance ensemble hasn’t been solved?

A. G.: There is no problem that can’t be solved. The only problem is that the already trained and successful dancers, mainly the female dancers get married and stop dancing, and we replace them with new dancers and start from scratch.

Hayern Aysor: Which of the performances of the dance ensembles participating in this festival was the first, best and unique performance?

A. G.: Frankly, there was no such dance ensemble. Each dance ensemble was appreciable, but I felt that there was a lack of professionalism. Last year, the dance companies were more professional. The dance companies can always learn from each other. They need to continue to work, refine each dance, fix the flaws and improve. Dance is movement, rhythm and life that is constantly breathing, living and making one live.

Hayern Aysor: Mr. Ghazaryan, I would like to touch upon the Armenian duduk once again. Is there only Armenian music performed during your concerts?

A. G.: There is definitely Armenian music, but in my program I also include the works of world classical composers. The duduk provides that opportunity. There are wonderful performances that both Armenians and foreigners receive very well.

Hayern Aysor: What does the Armenian duduk mean to you?

A. G.: It means the world to me. The duduk is my life. It is life, a territory, infinite space, an inexplicable feeling, without which I can’t imagine my life.

Hayern Aysor: During our interview, it became clear to me that the Armenian community of Kaluga is successful in all regards and that there is a strong and working team…

A. G.: Exactly! Our community is led by a smart person by the name of Vaspurak Poghosyan. The vice-president is Lala Sukiasyan, and my assistant is Mariam Hovhannisyan, who helps me a lot and is very active. Cultural life is very active, and the members of the community are in solidarity and live in a friendly atmosphere.

Hayern Aysor: When did you establish friendly ties and start collaborating with the Ministry of Diaspora?

A. G.: I knew the Minister of Diaspora back in the Soviet era when there used to be a Young Communist organization. We have been friends for many years. I have been working with the Ministry for a long time. I highly appreciate the various kinds of programs and projects of the Minister and her team’s efforts. All the programs and projects of the Ministry of Diaspora definitely contribute to preservation of the Armenian identity, which is a major and pressing issue. The existence of the Ministry of Diaspora was truly a necessity for Armenians abroad and the entire Armenian Diaspora.

Hayern Aysor: What will you be taking with you from Armenia?

A. G.: The energy of the homeland, a sort of supernatural force and warmth from the sun in Armenia.

Hayern Aysor: Thank you for the substantial and interesting conversation. May you always perform with the duduk around the world and let the world know about Armenia and the Armenians! May the Tashir Dance Ensemble continue to perform and perform new and unique dances in the future!

Karine Avagyan

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