Dance is everything for Margarita Arzanyan


Margarita Arzanyan, a professional dancer and teacher of Armenian ethnic dances, shares her history, Armenian culture and the peculiarities of Armenian ethnic dances.

– Margarita, tell us a little bit about yourself?

– I have lived most of my life in Russia where I studied, worked, danced, became a wife and a mother, found myself and my vocation – I became, so to speak, an ambassador of Armenian ethnic dances and, in general, Armenian culture. As a member of The International Dance Council CID, I traveled a lot before the pandemic across Asia and Europe, introducing those the beauty of Armenian culture to those who wish to learn. CID is the official umbrella organization for all forms of dance in all countries of the world. It is a non-governmental organization founded in 1973 within the UNESCO headquarters in Paris where it is based. I have been to the United States earlier and received many requests for teaching masterclasses on Armenian dances and the history of the Armenian people, both from the parents of the children and from the owners of various dance studios.

-What brought you to dancing? How did you start dancing?

-Dancing has been a part of my life from the day I was born. I started dancing because of my love for the culture of my people, moreover my desire to learn new things and a genuine interest in history led me in my youth to the ensemble of Armenian ethnic dances. Armenian dances for me are like a city in which you live all your life, you know every street, every corner, you know how the city has changed and who brought something new to it. An equally important fact for me is that these dances are passed down from generation to generation, they carry the history of Great Armenia (an ancient Armenian state on the territory of the Armenian Highlands), the dances tell a story about the events of past years and bring us into contact with the culture of the ancient people. Then I became an Honorary Member of the All-Russian Dance Organization and dancing has already become not only my hobby but also a full-time job.

-What is the meaning and importance of dances, why are they passed down from generation to generation?

-Armenian national dances reflect the history of the entire nation and help us connect the history and culture. Let me remind you that the Armenian people were subjected to genocide, massacres and forced deportations of more than a million Armenians. Many Armenians were killed, and those who survived after the end of the war were unable to return to their homes. They emigrated to Europe, North America and Australia. Therefore, I consider it my duty to teach the descendants of those surviving Armenians and everyone interested about our dances, culture and history. I live every element of the dance, I understand how it appeared, why our ancestors danced like that and why they put their hands like this and not in another way. I know which movements imitate animals, which movements imitate nature, which dance movements personify the family, and which ones are created to strengthen the spirit and to unite the people, dances showing the life, work of Armenians, and so on.

Each region and province in Armenia have always had their own dances and costumes. Through dance, different regions expressed their lives and customs, cultural features and traditions. In dance, every movement has its own history and meaning. Not a single holiday took place without dancing and, naturally, the younger generation saw these dances, remembered and danced together with adults. It is dancing that is the connecting thread with the past, which introduces us to the life of Armenians in a particular region.

Each region and province in Armenia have always had their own dances and costumes. Through dance, different regions expressed their lives and customs, cultural features and traditions. In dance, every movement has its own history and meaning. Not a single holiday took place without dancing and, naturally, the younger generation saw these dances, remembered and danced together with adults. It is dancing that is the connecting thread with the past, which introduces us to the life of Armenians in a particular region.

-What are your professional plans for the near future?

-I live in New York now, I want to share my knowledge, I want to talk about the customs and types of Armenian dances, I want to bring this culture to the masses and introduce it to as many people as possible. A couple of months ago, I was admitted to the National Dance Education Organization, which rightfully gives me the opportunity to volunteer in the city church and teach Armenian ethnic dances to children there. By reviving dance, we make it clear that we remember every region in which Armenians lived and we will pass down this memory from generation to generation. I also have a schedule of workshops until the end of this year in cities such as Jersey City (NJ), Boston (MA), Los Angeles (CA), Miami (FL), Atlanta (GA), and, of course, New York (NY).

– Thank you very much for such an interesting interview! Good luck with your goals!

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