ARKA Ballet Invited to Armenia

Date: April 27, 2004
Contact: Tania J. Chichmanian, ARKA Ballet
(301) 587-6225; [email protected]


ARKA Ballet is the first American ballet company officially invited to
perform in Armenia. The Armenian State Philaharmonic has invited the
Washington, DC-based troupe to appear at the National Opera and Ballet
Theatre in Yerevan on August 6 and 7, 2004. The company of 16 will present
two programs of mixed repertoire featuring works by contemporary American
choreographers as well as recent works by Artistic Director Roudolf

The Philharmonic, which is the successor to Armenia’s Armconcert, will host
the company for a one-week stay in Armenia, covering expenses in Armenia for
the touring company, including lodging, meals, in-country transportation,
rehearsal space and all performance-related PR and marketing. The tentative
schedule even includes a little sightseeing! ARKA Ballet is now frantically
working on air travel arrangements for which it has launched an aggressive
PR campaign. Upcoming events to watch for include a pre-trip ‘preview gala’
at the American Dance Institute on June 12, as well as an art exhibit May 21
to June 21, 2004.

ARKA Ballet was founded by Roudolf Kharatian and launched at the Kennedy
Center in 1999. Since then, the company has performed at many venues
throughout the Washington, DC area including the Kennedy Center, the Lisner
Auditorium, and the Kay Theatre. In 2001, ARKA Ballet was commissioned by
the Diocese of the Armenian Church to create two ballets based on key
moments in Armenia’s Christian history. The two works, Vartanank, to the
music of Edgar Hovanessian, and St. Gregory’s Prayer, to the music of Alan
Hovaness, were premiered in New York during the 1700th Anniversary
Celebrations in Central Park.

ARKA Ballet features young, dynamic, classically-trained professional
dancers. The company’s repertoire includes many of the classical favorites
as well as more contemporary works. ARKA Ballet also serves as a vehicle to
educate US audiences about Armenia and its rich culture, by presenting works
that use Armenian history, legends or music as their basis.

The tour to Armenia has been a long-time dream for the company and marks the
troupe’s first-ever tour abroad. It also opens the door for ongoing
cultural exchange and dialogue between the American and Armenian dance
communities, helping to strengthen the ties between these two nations. Upon
its return to the US, ARKA Ballet plans to broadly publicize its Armenia
tour through performances in a variety of venues, using the trip as an added
opportunity to showcase Armenian themes. Plans for 2005 include the
development of a new ballet commemorating the 90th Anniversary of the
Armenian Genocide. The Armenian National Opera and Ballet Theatre has
invited ARKA Ballet’s Artistic Director Roudolf Kharatian to create a new
full-length ballet based on St. Gregory of Narek’s Book of Lamentations.
The ballet will premiere in Armenia in 2006.

ARKA Ballet dancers are excited at the prospect of experiencing Armenia
first hand after hearing so much about the nation from Kharatian, whom they
fondly refer to as “Mr. K.” Many have also expressed the desire to stay
on for a few days following the performances in order to take in more of the
sites and have a chance to immerse themselves in the country, albeit for a
short while.

For more information about ARKA Ballet and its planned tour to Armenia,
please contact Tania Chichmanian at 301-587-6225 or [email protected]; or
visit ARKA Ballet is dedicated to the continued
development of the artform of ballet.

# # #