Armenians Perform in Boston Ballet’s World Premiere of ‘The Nutcracker’

By Ara Arakelian

BOSTON, Mass.—Students of Armenian descent who attend the Boston Ballet School, as well as a new soloist member of the Boston Ballet Company who joined the troop this year from Armenia, are among the performers in Boston Ballet’s debut production of Mikko Nissinen’s “The Nutcracker.” The show, which started on Nov. 23 to rave reviews, will have 43 performances, ending on Dec. 30.

Lori Sahakian, 15, has been performing in ‘The Nutcracker’ for the last 4 years.

The Boston Ballet School students have been a vital part of celebrating the holiday season with the magic of “The Nutcracker” for over 44 years. Boston Ballet’s 2012 production showcases the talents of the Boston Ballet’s company dancers and features all new costumes and sets.

Avetik Karapetyan, 27, performs as soloist in the Russian Dance and Chinese Dance segments in Act II. Karapetyan graduated from Yerevan National Ballet Academy of Armenia in 2003 under the direction of Hovannes Divanyan. He was then invited to study at the Heinz Bosl Ballet Academy of Munich, where he trained with Alexander Prokofiev. Upon graduating in 2005, he worked in Staatsoper in Vienna for a year, before dancing with the Royal Swedish Ballet in Stockholm, Sweden. He is the recipient of outstanding prizes and awards, including the Bronze medal in Sergey Lifar Ballet Competition in Kiev, Ukraine; first place in the 2009 Rome Primo Ballet Competition; first prize in the 2012 International Istanbul Ballet Competition; and second place in the 2011 Beijing Ballet Competition.

Lori Sahakian of Lexington, a 9th grade student at the Lexington Christian Academy, performs as a Soldier in Act I and as Tea/Chinese dancer in Act II. Sahakian has been attending the Boston Ballet School for the last 10 years, with appearances in the previous production of “The Nutcracker” for 4 consecutive years. Students Hazelyn Aroian and Talia Der Sarkissian are making their first appearances in this year.

The students of the Boston Ballet School were hailed by the Boston Globe as “adorable, focused, and disciplined,” handling serious pattern and partner work with “impressive aplomb.” All of the children performing in “The Nutcracker” are students of the Boston Ballet School and were coached by an experienced staff, including Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen, Boston Ballet School Director Margaret Tracey, Ballet Mistress Melanie Atkins, and the school’s world-renowned faculty. The students have an exciting schedule through the month of December, which includes rehearsals with company dancers, costume fittings, experiencing the unique backstage atmosphere at the Boston Opera House, and numerous performances accompanied by Boston Ballet Orchestra and enthusiastic audiences.

Nissinen commissioned Robert Perdziola to design the immaculate new sets and a total of nearly 350 new costumes. Perziola illustrated more than 40 sketches that have been brought to life over the past year. The previous production, which the Company featured for 17 years, was set in 1835 during the Biedermier period. Nissinen and Perdziola brought the new production back 20 years, to what many know as the Jane Austen area.

The Boston Ballet School is the largest ballet school in North America, now operating studios in Boston, Newton, and Marblehead, and other programs throughout New England. For more information about “The Nutcracker,” including events around Boston, blogs, videos, and images of the production, visit

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Guest contributions to the Armenian Weekly are informative articles or press releases written and submitted by members of the community.

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