“Cirque du Soleil” Troupe of Nork Children’s Center Wows Audiences in


At the invitation of AGBU and the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church
of North America, the award-winning performing arts troupe of the AGBU
Nork Children’s Center in Yerevan toured the western United States this
past November, performing in Dallas, Texas, several locales in Southern
California, as well as San Francisco, with wildly enthusiastic audiences
in excess of four thousand.

This one-of-a-kind tour de force, coined as the “Armenian Cirque Du
Soleil,” is a mosaic of music, dance, poetry recitation, choral
rendition, thrilling gymnastics and aerobatics, which showcases the
talent, spirit and vitality of 52 young performers, ages 10 to 19. They
present a remarkable repertoire of traditional Armenian and contemporary
art forms, which Minas Kojayan, in a Nor Gyank review, likened to “a
piece of the Armenian homeland, sky and sun.”

Another reviewer in Nor Gyank, Kevork Keushkerian, described the
troupe’s performance and its impact on his imagination: “At times, it
felt like we were watching a River Dance by the Irish performers, at
times it felt like we were at the opera watching one of Carmen’s gypsy
dancers, and at times it felt like we were in the highlands of Armenia
living our dreams of unity against the national threats…It was a
nationalistic cry for repatriation and a call for unity.”

In charge of this group is Father Krikor Khatchadourian, general
director of AGBU Children’s Centers in Yerevan (besides the one in Nork,
there are centers in the Malatya and Arapkir districts of the city).
Spearheading it is artistic director Aida Andriasyan, with Sossie
Kelegian serving as artistic consultant. The group’s dance instructors
are Gayane Grigorian and Arman Djulhakian. The gymnastics trainer is
Avetis Ginosian. The group is comprised of the Haykazunk Ethnographic
(Folk) Ensemble, Narek Dance Ensemble, Nork Circus Ensemble, Armens
(previously Vahagn) Drum Ensemble, and Assoub Step Ensemble.

The Western U.S. tour marks the second visit of this troupe to this
country, the first having taken place in 2005, during which audiences in
Boston, Chicago, Montreal, New York, Racine, WI, Toronto, and
Washington, DC were mesmerized by the youthful performers.

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