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Armenian folk dance main feature at international festival in Scotland
Armenian folk dance main feature at international festival in Scotland
27 Յուլիս 2018 , 10:21

Findhorn (26.07.2018) — Armenian folk dance was the main theme of the international Findhorn Festival of Sacred Music, Song and Dance, held 14-20 July 2018, at the Findhorn Park in Scotland. The Festival, now in its 27thth year, celebrates the transformative and healing power of circle dance and brings hundreds of people together every July to dance in Scotland.

 

Shakeh Major Tchilingirian, an acclaimed solo dance artist, choreographer and teacher, was the special guest teacher at the festival, where she conducted daily workshops for nearly 100 participants, accompanied with presentations on Armenian history, culture and folk dances.

 

Laura Shannon, known worldwide for her pioneering work with women's ritual dances, said: “Shakeh teaches with great awareness of the sacred dimension of Armenian dances and their capacity for personal transformation, as well as historical context.”  She explains that the “motifs and patterns” of Armenian dances “are very ancient, forming a nonverbal language of movements which are deeply symbolic, powerfully evocative and profoundly spiritual.” 

 

Shakeh brought traditional Armenian dance to the Festival for the first time. The repertoire included a mixture of folk and lyrical style dances.  Her program was designed to give the participants an opportunity to experience, as she put it,  “the living and blossoming culture of the Armenians in the homeland and the Diaspora.”  Particular dances and music were chosen to create a sense of spiritual connection with the land, with nature, and human roots that continue to flourish.  “This was a journey of discovery, connection and reflection through dance,” explained Shakeh.

 

London-based musicians Tigran Aleksanyan (duduk, zurna) and Ara Petrosyan (dhol) accompanied her with exhilarating live music.  Resident teachers at Findhorn, including long-standing community members Barbara Swetina, Peter Vallance, Rory O’Connell and friends, Sheila Pettit (choir) and Maya Buckley (orchestra) shared their knowledge and experience with a series of master classes.  The Festival Choir and Orchestra provided music for the final night’s celebration.

 

Laura Shannon, who has travelled widely to research Greek, Armenian, Balkan and Roma traditional dances in their original settings, taught deeply meditative circle dances. Kostantis Kourmadias and Nikolas Angelopoulos accompanied her classes with exquisite live music, as well as played with the Armenian musicians on two special occasions.

 

Sacred dance in Findhorn serves as a spiritual practice and combines traditional circle dances with modern choreographies.  It took root in the Findhorn community in 1976, when visiting dance master Bernhard Wosien shared a collection of traditional circle dances and modern meditative choreographies as tools for group connection and inner work.

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One of the world's oldest civilizations, Armenia once included Mount Ararat, which biblical tradition identifies as the mountain that Noah's ark rested on after the flood. It was the first country in the world to officially embrace Christianity as its religion (c. A.D. 300).In the 6th century B.C. , Armenians settled in the kingdom of Urartu (the Assyrian name for Ararat), which was in decline. Under Tigrane the Great (fl. 95–55 B.C. ) the Armenian empire reached its height and became one of the most powerful in Asia, stretching from the Caspian to the Mediterranean seas. Throughout most of its long history, however, Armenia has been invaded by a succession of empires. Under constant threat of domination by foreign forces, Armenians became both cosmopolitan as well as fierce protectors of their culture and tradition. Over the centuries Armenia was conquered by Greeks, Romans, Persians, Byzantines, Mongols, Arabs, Ottoman Turks, and Russians. From the 16th century through World War I, major portions of Armenia were controlled by their most brutal invader, the Ottoman Turks, under whom the Armenians experienced discrimination, religious persecution, heavy taxation, and armed attacks. In response to Armenian nationalist stirrings, the Turks massacred thousands of Armenians in 1894 and 1896. The most horrific massacre took place in April 1915 during World War I, when the Turks ordered the deportation of the Armenian population to the deserts of Syria and Mesopotamia. According to the majority of historians, between 600,000 and 1.5 million Armenians were murdered or died of starvation. The Armenian massacre is considered the first genocide of the 20th century. Turkey denies that a genocide took place and claims that a much smaller number died in a civil war.read more: Armenia: Maps, History, yerevanvideo.com Geography, Government, Culture