PHOENIX–The Hamzkayin "Ani" Dance Company made its Phoenix, Arizona debut on March 8 before an audience of over 700 people at North Canyon High School. The evening was sponsored by the Armenian Relief Society, Ararat Chapter of Phoenix and under the auspices of the ARS Western US Regional Executive.
The Hamazkayin "Ani" Dance Company was established in 1974 in Los Angeles, California under the leadership of artistic directors, Suzy Barseghian-Tarpinian and Yeghia Hasholian.
After her welcoming remarks, Mistress of Ceremonies, Denise Tourian, invited ARS Ararat Chapter Chairperson Arsho Sassounian to deliver the opening remarks. Sassounian welcomed Rev Zacharia Saribekyan and the audience, and also extended her appreciation to her colleagues, ARS "Ararat" Chapter, Dance Performance Committee, Armenian Revolutionary Federation "Kevork Chavoush" Gomideh, Armenian National Committee-Western Region, Armenian Youth Federation "Kedashen" Chapter, and Homenetmen "Phoenix" Chapter, as well as sponsors, supporters, the audience and honored guests, the Bekelian family, for their support and encouragement, without which that evening would not have been possible. In her speech, Sassounian emphasized the importance of ARS’ humanitarian activities throughout the Armenian community and the Phoenix chapter that has been established for fifteen years.
The program consisted of traditional and modern, as well as theatrical dances in intricate costumes, designed by Jane Hasholian, for an appreciative audience. Each of the dances varied in its unique styles, movemen’s and subsequent messages. The selected music intertwined masterfully with the dancers on the stage, resulting in unsurpassed artistic grandeur.
Highlights of the program were Hoy-Nazan, Donagan followed by Ouzoun Dara soloists Lana Jerejian and Rima Oganesyan. Additionally, Givan Gasparyan’s Armenian Suite numbers, such as Koucha Koucha, Sari Lala, Ashkhemed soloist Suzy Barseghian-Tarpinian, Mansourian’s Melody Soloist Taleen Kizirian, Tina Kizirian, Mary Balian and Lana Jerejian. Melina Minassian danced Al Ayloughs and Rima Oganesyan danced They Took My Love Away. Other dances included Ara Gevorkyan’s Dle Yaman’soloists Nanneh Chehras and Garik Atabekyan.
Following the intermission, the second part of the program featured Azkagran, Gumri, Cilicia, Sayat Nova’s Ashkharoums soloists Taleen Kizirian, Tina Kizirian and Mary Balian and Shalakho soloist Nazaret Torossian. The entire dance company and the directors alike were enthused about their debut performance, and they executed the dances with high energy and outstanding presentation. Once again, "Ani" excelled in its production and exceeded the audience’s expectations.
In addition to the Phoenix performance, Ani Dance Company has enjoyed extraordinary success throughout United Stated and beyond. The dance company has visited our homeland Armenia and Karabagh four times and received unparalleled praise from the audiences.
After such a successful evening, the ARS “Ararat” chapter, executive and dance committee members welcomed the dance company for a farewell party at the Armenian center where they became better acquainted with local dignitaries and celebrated until the early hours of the morning.
The Armenian community is anticipating Hamazkayin "Ani" Dance Company’s return for an encore performance and congratulating them for their upcoming 35th anniversary as well as a successful journey. The next performance for "Ani" Dance Company will be on August 23 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.