Amiran Gabrilenko: “I’m not Armenian, but my soul cries out whenever I perform Armenian dances…”

Amiran Gabrilenko can be considered one of the breakthrough dancers performing at the “My Armenia” Pan-Armenian Festival organized by the RA Ministry of Diaspora. Amiran was born in Daghstan, but loves the Armenian people so much that he expresses his love by performing Armenian dances. Amiran is one of the members of the Hayasa Dance Ensemble that is adjunct to the Armenian Diocese of Moscow and Nor Nakhichevan. He gave the interview to “Hayern Aysor” in Russian. When asked what Armenian words he has learned so far, he smiled and said: “Barev Dzez” (Hello), “Vonts Ek” (How are you?), “Utem Kez” (I want to eat you up), “Pogh Chka” (There’s no money)…He also said the dance ensemble’s artistic director Arpine Amiryan has promised to teach him five words in Armenian every day.

Amiran Gabrilenko considers himself a full-fledged member of the ensemble. He says he’s surrounded by people who love and respect him. Perhaps one of the reasons is because the blood of an Armenian runs in Amiran’s veins to a certain extent…

“Hayern Aysor”: Amiran, how was it that you joined Hayasa Dance Ensemble?

Amiran Gabrilenko: It all started with my friends, Hovhannes and Artur, who are also members of this ensemble. I was invited to Hovhannes’s brother’s birthday party. Everyone was dancing and having a good time. The dance moves drew my attention, and I started asking my friends about Armenian dances. They suggested that I join Hayasa Dance Ensemble because of the friendly atmosphere and said the directors would teach me Armenian dances with pleasure. I immediately decided to join the ensemble, and I’ve been dancing since January. I can proudly say that when I first joined Hayasa, I realized that I’ll never give up performing Armenian dances.

“Hayern Aysor”: Was it easy for you to learn the Armenian dances?

A. G.: Can you imagine that I didn’t face any difficulties? I’m hard-working, and that helped me learn them quickly. My friends and dance instructor also helped me a lot by supporting me with everything. I don’t feel like a foreigner.

“Hayern Aysor”: How do you feel when you perform Armenian dances?

A. G.: First, I must say I love the Armenian “Kochari” and “Shalakho” dances. Generally speaking, my soul cries out whenever I perform Armenian dances, even though I’m non-Armenian. However, I must say that, to a certain extent, I have Armenian roots. My great-grandmother was from Karabakh. My parents told me about that. Perhaps that’s why I’m so cordial towards the Armenians.

“Hayern Aysor”: What do you know about the Armenians?

A. G.: I know the Armenians are a nation that experienced genocide perpetrated by the Turks and that next year marks the 100th anniversary of that tragedy. I also know that the nation has seen wars and an earthquake, but hasn’t lost hope, has gotten back on its feet and has continued to live. I’ve heard a lot about how hospitable Armenians are. I came here and became convinced. I’ve always been interested in your history. I study it and read books devoted to Armenian history.

“Hayern Aysor”: You’re visiting Armenia for the first time ever. What did you especially like about Armenia?

A. G.: When I stepped off the plane, the first thing I felt was the clean air in Armenia that makes you feel fresh. When I sit on the bus after the performances, open the window and breathe the air, I don’t feel tired anymore. I like Armenia’s architecture, especially the buildings made from Armenian red tuff.

Gevorg Chichyan

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