Hamazkayin “Sardarabad” Dance Ensemble takes center stage

Hamazkayin “Sardarabad” Dance Ensemble

CHICAGO, Ill. — On a crisp March evening, where the snow flurries quietly dusted the streets, the Hamazkayin “Sardarabad” Dance Ensemble presented “Sea to Sea.” The highly anticipated performance encompassed the best of traditional and contemporary dance, under the expert guidance of artistic director and choreographer Hrachya Kostanyan and instructor Sahak Zakarian, who together led a talented group of 47 dancers, ranging from 5 to 35 years old.

The evening’s Mistress of Ceremony was Armine Papazian.

When the curtains opened, the dancers took center stage in traditional daraz, performing “Sardarabad” and Berd— a medley of steps and sway with a double tier performance, full of energy and tradition. 

Dancers perform “Berd”

In the months leading up to the “Sea to Sea” performance and with the community fundraising efforts, the dance group was adorned with brand new costumes, all hand made in Armenia. The traditional Armenian costumes were designed with highly ornamented aprons and gowns, as well as gold embroidered vests and headpieces.  

Over 500 people marveled at the variety of traditional Armenian dances, including the bride’s dance called “Uzoundara” and “Menk enk mer sarere” (We are our mountains), a contemporary dance. The program also featured Armenia’s Marat Kosyan on the dhol.

A highlight of the evening was a tribute to Kilikia, as dancers dressed in white performed with candles in hand in memory of the Armenian Genocide. 

A highlight of the evening was a tribute to Kilikia

Kostanyan started his career as a dancer for the main troupe of the State Dance Ensemble directed by the legendary Vanoush Khanamarian. Kostanyan studied cultural education at the Armenian State Pedagogical University in Yerevan. He has been a member of the International Dance Council UNESCO since 2015. In 2017, Kostanyan was awarded a gold medal by the Ministry of Culture of Armenia for developing the art of dance in the US.

Zakarian, for his part, has been a member of the dance group since his childhood. He has been an active member of the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) and Homenetmen in many capacities as well as an assistant instructor working with young dancers. He studied art at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Both Zakarian and Kostanyan worked long hours with the group to master the choreography of 32 traditional Armenian dances.  

The evening concluded with a full ensemble performance of “Vaspurakan,” which brought the audience to its feet.

Guest Contributor

Guest Contributor

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

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