By Helaneh Nighoghosian
GLENVIEW, Ill.—It feels like just yesterday that the Hamazkayin “Sardarabad” Dance Ensemble of Chicago had its first practice in the Shahnazarian Hall at the All Saints Community Center in Glenview, Ill. On the evening of Oct. 13, the talented group put on an unforgettable first performance that warmed the hearts of the audience in a show dubbed “Dreams of My Land.” Each dancer embodied the mighty strength, pride, and unity of the Armenian nation, as friends and family members sat enthralled.
The traditional “Pert Bar” warmed up the crowd for the different styles of Armenian dance ahead that night. As the curtain slowly opened, a two-tier pert (fort, in Armenian) was turned by both female and male dancers. Other traditional dances included the gracefully constructed all-female dance “Lori,” and the strength-defining “Kochari,” performed by the male dancers, which included members from the Detroit Hamazkayin “Arax” Dance Ensemble.
In addition to the historic dances performed, a unique touch of Chicago style was portrayed throughout the more contemporary pieces. The second part of the show opened with an illuminating display of flashing lights, accompanied by the striking and dramatic melodies of Ara Gevorgyan’s “Dzovitz Dvoz.” A violet horizon of light casted the background as the dancers’ silhouettes set the stage for one of the group’s favorite and original choreography.
The Detroit Hamazkayin “Arax” Dance Ensemble paid a special tribute to the show. In addition to the powerful and mighty “Kochari,” the dancers showcased their strong will and character through the celebratory dance “Donagan,” along with the traditional dance of Van, titled “Varaka Lerni Bar.”
Exemplifying the virtue and power of the homeland, crimson dresses flooded the stage with the crowd-pleasing end performance of “Hzor Hayasdan.” With each move, the dancers represented the strong pride and vitality of the Armenian nation.
The Chicago “Sardarabad” has already performed at a wide range of events throughout the community. Just a week before this big performance, the older dancers performed two numbers at an Armenian-Assyrian wedding, promoting the tradition and culture of Armenian folk dance to a different group of people. A little over a year ago, the group also participated in aid for the Armenian Relief Mission in an effort to raise money for orphaned children in Armenia. The dancers performed an original dance choreographed by Dance instructors Houri Papazian and Sona Birazian for an audience comprised of mostly non-Armenians. Founder Steve Kashian and his wife, Rozik, were more than pleased with the groups’ accomplishment for carrying out such a significant cause.
A great deal of cooperation and preparation was required for the performance to be a success. The Chicago “Sardarabad” chapter extends a special thank you to Hermine Kholamian (better known as “Mama K”) for her hard work and beautiful seamstress skills. She has poured her heart and soul into this organization, and without her, the show simply could not go on. Audience members that night were able to see the stage overpowered with elegance and dignity. The members of the Chicago Hamazkayin group extend a special thanks to those who have made the show possible.