The Hamazkayin Eastern Region, Hamazkayin New Jersey, and Hamazkayin Philadelphia are extremely saddened by the untimely death of Baron Tovmas Harutyunyan.
Harutyunyan was born in Tbilisi, Georgia. He started dancing at the age of 9, attending the “Children’s Dance Studio” under the guidance of famous Georgian-Armenian cultural figure Albert Sarkisyan. Over the next 20 years, he established a professional career.
In 1977, Harutyunyan moved to Yerevan, where he started to dance in the “Kanaz” ensemble, becoming the main dancer in just a year. He also performed as one of the principal dancers in the “Song and Dance” ensemble of the Trans Caucasian Military Region. In 1981, Harutyunyan began dancing in the Armenian State Dance Ensemble, directed by artist and famous choreographer Vanush Khanamiryan, the People’s Artist of the Republic of Armenia. In 1986, Harutyunyan starred as a bridegroom in the movie “Fire Dance,” a famous and favorite film among the Armenian community. Being one of the main dancers in the Armenian State Dance Ensemble, Harutyunyan often toured across the former USSR, Europe, and Mexico, performing on many world-famous stages. In 1993, Harutyunyan moved to the United States. Since 1996, he had been teaching the art of Armenian dance to the young generation of Armenian Americans in New York. From 2004-08, Harutyunyan was the principal instructor of the Yeraz Dance Ensemble. Under his direction, Yeraz reached its peak and gained the recognition of the Armenian community of New York. Harutyunyan, with his wife Lyudmila Harutyunyan, established the Vanush Khanamiryan Dance Ensemble in New York and Connecticut, which became a great success.
Since 2010, Harutyunyan was the beloved dance director of the Hamazkayin New Jersey Nayiri Dance Ensemble. Under his talented tutelage, Nayiri became the premier Armenian dance group in New Jersey, teaching more than 100 students authentic Armenian dances and choreography. Under Harutyunyan’s masterful guidance, the ensemble performed in dozens of venues, most recently on Oct. 24 at Bergen PAC, in Englewood, N.J., with the talented Nune Yesayan from Armenia and Sibil from Istanbul.
Since 2011, Harutyunyan also directed the Hamazkayin Philadelphia Meghry Dance Ensemble, which blossomed and grew under his guidance, gaining great acclaim and success.
Harutyunyan is survived by his wife, Lyudmila, and son, Davit.
The entire Hamazkayin family and all of the dancers are mourning the loss of this talented dance instructor, choreographer, and, most importantly, a kind human being. Hamazkayin dancers have taken to social media to express their sense of loss and grief—paying homage to a man they knew as the “father” of dance. Their very touching and emotional statements, photos, and videos attest to not only Harutyunyan’s ability to teach dance and the love of dance, but also the love he had for his students. As a tribute to Baron Tovmas, they have all vowed to continue dancing, dedicating their performances to their beloved director.
Harutyunyan’s wake will take place on Sun., Dec. 27 from 3-7 p.m. at St. Vartan Cathedral in New York. His funeral is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Dec. 28, at St. Vartan Cathedral. He will be buried at All Saints Cemetery in Great Neck, N.Y.