News & Record (Greensboro, NC)
August 08, 2007 Wednesday
Guilford Record North Edition
Local dancer from Armenia takes students to study in her homeland
JENNIFER ATKINS BROWN
Natalya Igitkhanyan Davison , a native of Armenia, took her first
dance class at 7, and by 9 she auditioned and was accepted as a
student at the prestigious Armenian Choreographic Institute , where
she studied until she was 18 . She continued her dance education in
Moscow at the National Institute of Theatrical Art and became a
professional dancer with the Barekamutyn State Dance Ensemble,
Armenia’s premiere national dance troupe . She had the opportunity to
dance all over the world.
After her first child was born, she decided to take a break from her
dance career, but it did not take long before she felt herself being
pulled back into the world she adored.
"I always knew I wanted to dance," Davison said. "If you love it, you
can’t live without it."
She became a dance teacher and while teaching in Russia she met her
husband, Dexter Davison , who is from Greensboro. After moving to
Greensboro with her husband nine years ago, she helped start Artistic
Motion , a dance studio that offers instruction in ballroom dancing,
ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, modern and hip-hop.
Her native home and experiences with the Barekamutyn Dance Ensemble
were never far from her mind, though. After a visit back to Armenia
in 2006 and bumping into a classmate still dancing with the troupe,
she came up with the idea to do a dance exchange program.
Davison, Debbie Isom-Chodyniecki, co-director of Artistic Motion, one
other teacher and 12 dance students, ages 15 and older, from her
studio and other studios across the country, traveled to Armenia June
23 for an intense two weeks of study with the Barekamutyn State Dance
Ensemble. Although the troupe has traveled extensively throughout
Europe and America, this was the first time they worked in
conjunction with an American dance studio to perform and to enhance
their repertoire by learning from and performing with American
dancers. The American students taught the Armenians jazz and modern
dance, and the Armenians taught the Americans ballet and Armenian
"It was great to see how much our dancers matured from this trip,"
Davison said. "They saw how hard the dancers work in the professional
Brenda Bowman , a ballet dancer with Artistic Motion who traveled
with the group, said the trip was "a chance of a lifetime."
"It was so exciting to see their dancers rehearse and perform,"
Bowman said. "I think this experience will raise the bar for us as
dancers, and I think those of us who went will work even harder."
The culmination of the exchange was a performance at the Opera House
in the Armenian capitol of Yerevan .
"I think this was really a cultural exchange as well as dance
exchange," Davidson said.
When she left the country in 1995 , Armenia was in the midst of a
war. Now, Davison said, the war is over, there is music in the
streets and construction taking place.
"It was so neat for our students to see how important the arts are in
Armenia," she said. "It’s where they get their food for the soul."
Davison hopes to lead a group back to Armenia next year and bring a
group of Armenian dancers to the United States.
"It’s such a great opportunity for the dancers," Davison said. "It’s
so wonderful to be able to share my heritage."
Contact Jennifer Atkins Brown at 574-5582 or