Armenian folk dance featured at international festival in Scotland • MassisPost

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FINDHORN, SCOTLAND – Armenian folk dancing was the main theme of the Findhorn International Festival of Sacred Music, Song and Dance, held July 14-20, 2018, at Findhorn Park in Scotland. The festival, now in its 27th year, celebrates the transformative and healing power of circle dancing and brings together hundreds of people each July to dance in Scotland.

Acclaimed solo dance artist, choreographer and teacher Shakeh Major Tchilingirian was the festival’s special guest teacher, where she led daily workshops for nearly 100 participants, accompanied by 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 a great awareness of the sacred dimension of Armenian dances and their capacity for personal transformation, as well as the historical context. . She explains that the “motifs and patterns” of Armenian dances “are very ancient, forming a non-verbal language of movements that are deeply symbolic, powerfully evocative and deeply spiritual”.

Shakeh introduced traditional Armenian dance to the Festival for the first time. The repertoire included a mixture of folk and lyrical dances. Her program was designed to give participants the opportunity to experience, as she said, “the vibrant and flourishing culture of Armenians from the homeland and from the Diaspora.” Particular dances and music have been chosen to create a feeling of spiritual connection with the earth, with nature and human roots which continue to flourish. “It was a journey of discovery, connection and reflection through dance,” Shakeh explained.

London musicians Tigran Aleksanyan (duduk, zurna) and Ara Petrosyan (dhol) accompanied her to exhilarating live music. Findhorn resident teachers including longtime community members Barbara Swetina, Peter Vallance, Rory O’Connell and their 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 the music for the celebration of the last night.

Laura Shannon, who has traveled widely to study traditional Greek, Armenian, Balkan and Roma dances in their original contexts, taught deeply meditative circle dances. Kostantis Kourmadias and Nikolas Angelopoulos accompanied his classes with exquisite live music, and performed with Armenian musicians on two special occasions.

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


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