FLASHBACK Dance tour armenia – OCTOBER 2007
Autumn colours near Sewan Lake
Autumn colours near Sewan Lake

Remembering the October 2007dance tour in Armenia
This was a busy year: three dance tours in one year, of which the October tour was again a visit to Armenia.

The fact is that twenty-five participants from five European countries and the North American continent said goodbye to each other as a very close group of friends.

It is always hard to choose the highlight of a tour: was it the visit to Sasnashen? The village of descendants of refugees from the Sasoun region who fled from the genocide in Anatolia and today make an effort to preserve their traditions and dances, passed down by former generations? The meeting and lunch in the scenic apple orchard certainly became a feast, and it was hard to say who was exotic to whom. Were the dancers exotic to the foreign visitors or was it the other way around?

The sound of the melancholic duduk also left a deep impression, especially given the setting where it was played: inside the Garni temple, dating from the 1st millennium A.D.

To offer a variety of food, one day we had lunch in a family’s house in very basic circumstances, where the dynamic lady of the house served us many homemade dishes. We ate lavash (Armenian bread) freshly baked in the traditional tonir (pit in the ground) and visited a range of restaurants with excellent food accompanied by Armenian folk music. We surprised and impressed other restaurant guests with our dancing and were taught the Armenian way of giving a speech while making a toast. Actually, some people became really fanatical about practising this newly acquired skill.

Once again, Armenia’s impressive landscapes, culture, architecture and its kind population delighted our tour members. For some it was the second time round, and one person even joined the tour for the third time.

It makes me happy to see that the love of Armenian dance is the key that opens the door to all this wealth of experience.

Please feel welcome to join and see for yourself!

 

 

Liudvig teaching us traditional dances with live music
Liudvig teaching us traditional dances with live music

 

Paylak's teaching a graceful dance for women
Paylak's teaching a graceful dance for women

Feed-back of participants

The trip was wonderful! I am still mulling over all my impressions and experiences.
Thank you to you and your team for the job that you did.

Eta Markowicz (Canada)

No toast without a speech
No toast without a speech

Singing during our lunch in Sasnashen
Singing during our lunch in Sasnashen

Dear Tineke,

Thank you so much for the Armenia trip. It was extremely well organised
- I thought it was just the right balance of things arranged and free time to choose what we wanted to do - never bored but not hassled to get places either. You and Satik kept us in order (didn't lose us!) without being bossy and were always such good fun. Everyone was so nice to be with - so we must all have been feeling well entertained and looked after.

I have so many good memories - the very first day, dancing spontaneously in the car park at Geghard, we thought this is a high point, where do you go from here? but didn't get disappointed. Lunch in the village, dance classes, the lone duduk player in the temple, Yerevan restaurants and streets, the singing in the cathedral, driving through the countryside with Naira's commentary and stories, the market (carpet looks great in my appartment!) I could go on and on. The fat lady singing in the cinema!

Please give lots of thanks to Satik and our guide Naira. I hope they are both well.
Good luck with your next projects, hope to dance with you sometime soon, all the best,

Deb Collins (United Kingdom)

A warm farewell from the children's group of Kanaz
A warm farewell from the children's group of Kanaz
  Dance group in Sasnashen
Dance group in Sasnashen

Tineke,

Bedankt voor deze fantastische reis. Ik huppel nog steeds. Dat is te danken aan jouw inzet en die van Satik, nogmaals, BEDANKT !!!!
Ik heb geen enkele opmerking en zelf had je al de conclusie getrokken om iets meer speling in Praag te nemen.
Een lieve groet voor jou en de dames in Armenie!

Conny Rakké (Nederland)

Fountain show on Republic Square in Yerevan
Fountain show on Republic Square in Yerevan

 

Statue in front of the Opera theatre in Yerevan
Statue in front of the Opera theatre in Yerevan

I would like to propose a belated TOAST (in Armenian Genats) to …… Armenian food!

It was a real treat to eat fresh tomatoes that actually had the taste of real tomatoes! The chicken and the lamb meat also tasted much more flavorful than what one normally can find where I live. I really enjoyed all of the food we ate in Armenia, and I would like to toast Satik for helping to choose restaurants and menus that introduced us to a large variety of Armenian dishes!

We got to taste yogurt soup, barley porridge made with chicken broth, several kinds of lavash, delicious chicken soup and lamb soup, and my favorite: the platter of stuffed tolmas on our second evening.
Satik, you also demonstrated for us some new approaches to: stopping traffic when crossing the street, negotiating at restaurants and hotels, and determining the number of cups of coffee and tea to order!

Tineke, you shared with us your love for Armenian culture and people, and helped us understand aspects that we could never have appreciated without you. Usually I have suggestions for improving things, but for this trip I just cannot think of any way it could have been made better! Our dance lessons and teachers were terrific. Our time was filled with enjoyable and interesting activities, and we experienced a lot of things and people that we would not have done as ordinary tourists. It was a great trip! THANKS!

And - to everybody who went on the trip - THANK YOU for being such a good and eager and thoughtful group of people!

GENATS!!!

Rita de Coursey (Nederland


Noraduz monastery with around 1000 different khatchars (cross stones)

  Ornamentation of Ohanavank Church
Ornamentation of Ohanavank Church

One of the most striking things about this second trip for me was the difference in the group "chemistry". I enjoyed the fact that everyone seemed to want to interact with everyone else and didn't stick only to the people they knew. Of course the fact that the group was smaller (25 as compared with 45) helped, and another thing that helped was no one showed any signs of "primadonna-ism".

I loved everything connected with the dancing: the dance classes and the contrast between the two dance styles and teaching methods (although Liudwig was harder to follow); the two Kanaz groups we saw were charming and wonderful, their teacher was definitely THE authority and he was a keen observer and corrector and clearly loved the children, who weren't afraid of him despite his firmness. And his assistant was such a beautiful dancer!

I can't fail to mention the performance we saw at the Moscow Cinema. We enjoyed the young women's dances and suffered through the many songs on video with the great soprano, but that was okay because out of it came many jokes about fishnets and poor young girls flinging themselves off cliffs. Great melodrama.

Thank you for another joyful experience in Armenia. You and Satik are very special, and I can safely say that everyone I spoke to on the tour has the same opinion. I can't imagine anyone else being so concerned about the participants' welfare and organizing so many different activities (especially knowing how hard the organizing is for technical and other reasons).

Best regards,

Elise de Boyer (Canada)

Many people bought a carpet
Many people bought a carpet
  Freshly baked lavash tastes best!
Freshly baked lavash tastes best!
Saghmosavank Monastery
Saghmosavank Monastery
 
Spontaneous dancing near the bus joined by Armenians and parking attendant
Photostop along the roadside
Photostop along the roadside
 
Tsitsernakabert genocide monument

  Anne Guri ordered an Armenian costume and Odette shows her new vest
Anne Guri ordered an Armenian costume and Odette shows her new vest
 

Armenian priest in Edsmiadzin
  Roof decoration at Geghard Monastery
Roof decoration at Geghard Monastery