Text by Yana Avchiyan,
Photo by Karen Minasyan.

It is already over a month there have been rumours in the city as to the fact that some grandiose group from Europe is to arrive in Yerevan for the purpose of demonstrating their grandiose ballet skills. It also bears a similar grandiose name…

After all it DID take place. The concert of modern-ballet “Forceful Feelings and Comrades” demonstrating a program named “Forceful Feelings” did take place on July 29 and 30 in the hall of the National Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre after Spendiaryan which generated considerable public excitement. And if the above-mentioned rumours following the event about which little is known are quite explainable, then it is indeed very difficult to say about the post-concert rumours about the fact that the hall was half-packed. At least on the final day of the tour, the opera hall was packed. It is only the side seats that were not engaged. Most probably, the comments made to the rumours are derived from the same source declaring that the tickets were extremely expensive (the cost ranging from 5 to 15 thousand drams) and that the concert allegedly pursues commercial purposes, the prosperous city dwellers were greedy to make contributions out of their “empty pockets”. If the first objection can be made with regard the poor attendance of people in terms of personal visual and intellectual conclusions, then as for the fact of charity we made our personal enquiries from Artur Akopyan, the staff director, who explained that the concert does not pursue any charitable purposes at all, but commercial ones. In my opinion it did not decrease the significance of the given event.

Now it is time to leave the rumours behind and face the realistic events. The group was established two years ago. In the beginning it was composed of our compatriots – graduates from Yerevan Choreographic School, the winners of numerous international contests who, alas, in the past were included in the list of followers of the European Terpsihore. They are the Honoured Artist of Armenia, the first soloist of Munich Opera and Ballet Theatre Tigran Mikayelyan, the first soloists of Zurich Opera and Ballet Theatre Arman Grigoryan and Vahe Martirosyan and the soloist of Hamburg Opera and Ballet Theatre Arsen Mehrabyan. This year the cast increased in number. This is the reason why the words “and Comrades” were added to the initially-created name “Forceful Feelings”. “And Comrades” includes such outstanding dancers as the Brothers Bubenicheks (Czechia) – Irzhi and Otto, as well as ballet-dancers of Hamburg Opera and Ballet Theatre an Austrian Patricia Tishi, a Japanese Yuka Oishi and an Englishwoman Stefani Minler. Unfortunately, our David Karapetyan from San Francisco failed to come to partake in the concert.

The important employees did not “allow” the guy to come. Besides, the rest of the artists of the group were preparing for this concert during their vacations.

Therefore, there was undoubtedly a risk not to obtain an insurance should they suffer from any trauma outside the theatre-employer. However, Tigran Mikayelyan is an optimist by nature and which might be the reason that the guys were lucky not to face any incidents. But unfortunately we failed to find out to what amount our dancers were insured. At least the sum is not equivalent to the insurance amount of football players, although the energy and the time spent on rehearsals might be equal to theirs. “The point is that the number of football amateurs is rather fewer than that of the ballet fans’ ”, says Tigran Mikayelyan. By the way, talking of rehearsals, it should not go unmentioned that due to the preparation for Yerevan concert, Tigran Mikayelyan had to find time by interrupting his rigid schedule and join the guys in Hamburg. But the results of the final concert were seen here on his hometown where their triumph took place. It should be pointed out here that as Tigran has been recently awarded with the title of “Honoured Artist of Armenia”, the concert organizers applied to the Ministry of Culture, which, by the way, rendered assistance and support in the organization of the concert, requesting that the young artist be awarded with the honourary title right on the stage after the performance. But according to the same rumours, the Ministry is not prepared for that yet. But instead Europe is! In Munich Tigran has been recently awarded with the prize in the sphere of art and culture and presently he is nominated for title of the Best Ballet Dancer of Germany. But let us revert to the concert. The program included many new productions and performances which were first demonstrated on the very Armenian stage. “Arshil Gorki” performed by Mehrabyan and Oishi were mildly supplemented with the works of the renowned artist demonstrated on the screen. Patricia Tishi played in the production of “Siretsi Yaris Taran” (“I loved, but they took away my beloved”) staged by one of our famous choreographer Norayr Mehrabyan. “I easily grew into the role because we do not only work but also make friends with Armenia n guys. And everything that belongs to you in a way became ours”, says Patricia after the performance. The unique play emphasizing the perfect plasticity of the artists made each number (performance)

unforgettable. The duet of “The Intractable Obstinates” (the name of the performance) brilliantly performed by twin-brothers Bubenicheks should not go unmentioned. The second part of the concert was opened with the work “The Inaccessible” to which the Bubenicheks had also their immediate participation not only as performers. Otto is a composer and Irzhi is a stage director. What the bothers mean by “inaccessibility” is known only to them. For the organizers it implied the fact that it was initially intended for 20 people and in the beginning it seemed that the Bubenicheks would disagree to bring it to Armenia. Strangely though, the bothers made some modifications in the number of the cast which was further determined to be composed of twenty people. The concert ended with “Carmina Burana” cantata by Carl Orff. The passion-strain and strength penetrating each note of the famous work developed into the emotional splash of endless applauses and became the worthy final of the concert.

No wonder. “Forceful feelings” on the stage provoked unforgettable impressions in the hall.

FORCEFUL FEELINGS ON THE ARMENIAN STAGE Those declaring that Armenians are very conservative people have not attended the performance of modern ballet “Forceful Feelings and Comrades” held in Yerevan. Armenians not only value a modern ballet, but also have a younger generation of talented ballet dancers.

The public attended the performance not only for watching their compatriots, but also witnessing how beautifully and, I would dare to say, even professionally our compatriots and their foreign colleagues danced.

The performance began with the video screening about preparatory works of the troupe “Forceful Feelings” composed of four Armenian fellows – Tigran Mikayelyan, Arman Grigoryan, Arsen Mehrabyan and Vahe Martirosyan who have long been working within ballet theatres of Germany and Switzerland. This time the troupe appeared before the Armenian audience together with their friends and colleagues among which were twin-brothers Bubenicheks and ballet dancers from Austria, Japan and Canada who dance in the troupe of Hamburg Opera and Ballet Theatre.

The program embraced various works, among which were the productions on the theme of Armenian folk songs “Siretsi, Yaris Taran” (I loved, but they took away my beloved), “Tsirani Tsar” (Apricot-tree) by Komitas and “Arshil Gorki – the last letter”.

The audience displayed emotional reactions to each of the performances which is uncharacteristic for the Armenian audience since it was indeed impossible to remain indifferent to the plasticity and the performance level. In the end, while the troupe was performing a number of “Carmina Burana” by Carl Orff, the entrance of each dancer aroused a storm of applause. Even Vanush Khanamiryan, the dance maestro, waived to the dancers with his cap as a sign of delight.