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Armenian sketches
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 17 - 04 - 2013

ON THURSDAY 11 April at the Gumhouriya Theatre, with a strong Armenian-community presence, writes Nora Koloyan-Keuhelian, the audience enjoyed a folk dance night by the Zankezour Ensemble. The programme included 17 dances and a sketch: mostly Armenian folk performances, an Indian dance — admired by everybody — and an Italian Tarantella performed by the troupe's children. The dances worth mentioning included Let's Kiss (by Lia Nigolian and Harry Soultanian), Kochari, the Gindo Dance (a duo by Alen Karkour and Vartan Terzibashian), the Spindle Dance, Vagharshabad, Ouzundara (a solo performance by Perla Avanian), Im Nazany and Avarayr. At the end of the performance, 63 members of the troupe — all amateurs — appeared on stage to perform the Final Dance. Their ages range from six to 25.
The sketch Kach Nazar (Nazar the Brave), a fairy tale by Armenian writer, poet and activist Hovhanness Tumanian (1869-1923), was also particularly admired by the audience. It is the story of a lazy man who, announcing the number of flies he has killed, suddenly appears on the throne as a result of the ignorance of people and the guile of the priest who spread the false news that Nazar the brave defeated a 1,000-men army with a single swat. The sketch was performed by Alen Karkour, Alissa Depoyan and Nairy Hagopian.
Zankezour was founded in 1970, and in the 43 years of its presence in the community's cultural life, the troupe has given 14 performances, stopped for 12 years (1975-1986). It has had six choreographers, most of them hailing from Armenia. The present choreographer, Suzan Hagopian-Karkour, 50, an Egyptian-born Armenian, had been among the troupe's dancers since her childhood when in 2008, she took the post and is now assisted by Vartan Terzibashian, a dancer since 1999.
The evening was held under the auspices of Bishop Ashod Mnatsaganian, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Orthodox Church in Egypt, and presided over by Mr and Mrs Jirayr Depoyan. Armen Melkonian, Ambassador of Armenia in Egypt, was among the guests.

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