BY DAVID ALEXANDER
WATERTOWN, Mass.—The Sayat Nova Dance Company of Boston’s 25th Anniversary Production, “Journey Through Time,” premiered on November 19 at Waltham High School, in Waltham, Mass. to a sold out Armenian and non-Armenian audience of more than 1,100. The show burst into life with fire and drama portraying the pagan days of the Armenian people.
This was followed by an homage paid to St. Krikor Lousavorich in “Khor Virab,” depicting Armenia’s conversion to Christianity. Vartanantz and the Battle of Avarayr were remembered with deep, heart-pounding drums vibrating through the auditorium. The journey through time continued with the powerful recitation of Siamanto’s “The Dance” resonating from the dark stage; it was followed by the “Dance of the 20 Brides,” which portrayed the brutalities of the Armenian Genocide of 1915 and the impact it had on the beloved Armenian composer Gomidas Vartabed, who went insane after witnessing the massacres. The audience was in awe by the powerful portrayal of this dance – the acting, dancing, stage props, recitation, music, slides – told of the unspeakable tragedy of man’s inhumanity to man. Then, suddenly, the sounds of traditional Armenian instruments, duduk and dhol filled the auditorium, wrapping up the first half with a folkloric number celebrating the life and survival of the Armenian people. Spectators roared with excitement in their seats, experiencing conflicting emotions of deep sorrow, triumphant joy and overwhelming pride as they lived through a culture’s historic tale and journey through time.
The second half of the program began with three generations of dancers taking over the stage. More than 50 alumni dancers of SNDC’s past 25 years joined hands once again to reunite and perform together with current SNDC members and future dancers from the Abaka Armenian School for the Performing Arts. The audience clapped loudly at the inspiring performance by the past, present, and future of SNDC. Bravo to the performers and for the brilliance of bringing them all together on stage to celebrate SNDC’s Silver Anniversary. It was indeed a glorious celebration of 25 years of magnificent performances which has succeeded in developing a following of very appreciative and enthusiastic audience. The future certainly looks bright for SNDC.
The curtains then opened to a breathtaking scene in the dance of “Jahel Chenk Mnar,” which translates to “We will not stay young forever.” It tells the story of an aging couple who fondly reminisce their own days of youth, as young couples dance around them in a park. The dance touched the hearts of many in the audience one of whom expressed it so well when he said “Being a dancer myself in my younger days, I found myself in the shoes of the old couple who remembered their younger days. I wish I would dance again, but at the age of 79, I will settle with tapping my feet in my seat.”
Beating drums followed during a men’s dance portraying strength and power; the graceful arm movements of the women depicted feminine beauty, and intricate choreography continued throughout this magnificent production. As the show came to an end, the enthusiastic, passionate, and joyful spirit of the dancers poured off stage and energized audience members, leaving them mesmerized and in awe.
Sayat Nova Dance Company of Boston has set a new standard in Armenian dance. After Boston’s rave reviews and raging success, “Journey Through Time” is now touring the country and heading to the West Coast for its first stop in Glendale, California, on Sunday, January 15, 2012. Be sure to spread the word among friends and family about this must-see performance that will give them a unique glimpse into the past Armenian history. This exciting performance of “Journey through time” with its all-new dances, music and stunts, will fill the souls of the audience with pride, passion and have every heart beating in rhythm.
Tickets will sell fast! Purchase them today on www.itsmyseat.com/sayatnova. For more information, visit the website at www.sayatnova.com or find Sayat Nova Dance Company on Facebook.