Dance Meets Song In My Home Country

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After SF Ballet’s New York tour I went home to Armenia, to visit my family and to dance there for the first time after 12 years. I danced the full length of Don Quixote in the capital city of Yerevan with my wife and fellow SF Ballet Principal Dancer Vanessa Zahorian. It was the first time she’d danced in Armenia, at the beautiful Armenian National Ballet Theater, and it was a great success!

Me outside the Armenian National Ballet Theater

Me outside the Armenian National Ballet Theater

The day after the performance, it was back to the theater at 6:30 am to take part in a performance project with Paros Chamber Choir—an award-winning group of singers that includes my father. Most of the choir members are survivors from the ’88 earthquake, and as you can see a number of them now use wheelchairs. As a hobby, they came together and in 1993 founded this singing group. They’re all incredible human beings, and have lots of passion in them. I donated my time to share the stage with the choir and dance while they were singing, in a performance to mark the 25th anniversary of the devastating 1988 Armenian earthquake.

Me with the Paros Chamber Choir

Me with the Paros Chamber Choir

Since there wasn’t enough time for me to produce choreography for the song they’d be singing, I listened to it for a few times and started to improvise. With collaboration between myself and the choir’s director, it all came together very nicely. My older sister—who was a dancer too, and who does choreography and teaching—helped me to create an image of what I could dance, and gave me ideas. She also helped the choir participate in the artistic vision and physical movements while I danced around them—something you can really see in this video.

My father was a famous folk dancer before his accident. He injured his back when he was 32 years old at a barbeque with friends—he did a flip off a barre like a gymnast, but his hands were greasy and he fell, breaking his spine. He had a major surgery to reconstruct his spine. He couldn’t walk for a year but then a miracle happened and he could walk. I was the miracle child. To this day, my father lives through the careers that my sister and I have, and he always told us “to live his dream and to finish what he had started”, since he wasn’t able to realize that dream.

Onstage after the performance

Onstage after the performance

I dedicate my dancing and work to my family—especially to my father, for his bravery—and I want to make them proud. Vanessa told me that it was very touching to see my father watching me while I was dancing with the choir. She said, “when Davit was just marking in between takes, his father watched his every move with pride.” It was touching for Vanessa to see my father watching me dance from an outsider’s perspective, bringing tears to her eyes; especially with the knowledge of the history that lay behind everything.

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3 Comments

  1. avatar Vanessa Kachadurian
    Posted December 17, 2013 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

    Thank you Davit and San Francisco for sharing such a heartfelt inspiring story. Davit never stops, he strives to reach and for that perfection. Having passion and reaching deep inside of your life experiences is very important to all artists. Sharing your talent with a group like Paros, is another way of giving back and sharing your talent. I am sure Davits father was equally proud to share the stage with Davit.

  2. avatar Sandi Covell
    Posted December 19, 2013 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    Davit,
    How very touching and beautiful this is!
    Thank you SO much for sharing something so personal and meaningful to you.

    Sandi Covell

  3. avatar Mercedes Sheets
    Posted January 9, 2014 at 1:01 am | Permalink

    Beautiful and inspirational. Thank you, I am always looking for the performance that touches my heart.

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