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July 10, 2018 @ 3:24 PM

The Armenian picnic and festival season is upon us. My six week course (July 11, 18, 25, August 1, 8, 15) will focus on dances popular at these events.

Kharbert Jurjena features shuffle steps in the unique 10/8 rhythm.
Vana Loorke has this region’s krnkatahp (hop step step) and looreh (rocking) movements.
Alashgert Kocharee, among a long list of Kocharee dances, evolved from the movement and even gait of the ghooch or aits. The horns also played a part. Armenians from Eastern Anatolia use the name Halai. The dance is performed shoulder to shoulder.
Bitlis Popoori (other regions have claims to Popoori with distinctive ...

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March 13, 2018 @ 7:14 PM

Tomorrow Wed. Mar. 14 starts a new 6 week course at Karavan Dance Studio. I made it 6 weeks because I leave for Armenia Apr. 25. We start tomorrow regardless of weather, so be there 7:45 pm for registration. First level 8 to 9:30 pm; second level 9:30 to 11 pm. Incidentally, Karavan Studio is right near Central Ave. Metrolink. I'll continue with the beginners program concentrating on dances popular at So. Ca. weddings, festivals, picnics, etc. I do include solo dance. If there's a demand, I'll teach Greek, Lebanese, Russian. Don't forget this is a short course for $60. (Sorry credit cards not accepted.) And don't miss classes as it's difficult to make up. My program is on several CD's and always available for ......

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December 12, 2017 @ 1:20 PM

I just returned from two weeks teaching in Japan in a variety of cities. This marks my eighteenth visit. My tour started with an all-day party on Thursday, November 23 from 10 am to 4 pm. The program was based around the over 150 dances I have taught over the years. This was my fourth party since 2009. I still can't believe how they don't forget. The Asians are excellent students and retain most of what I taught. We make videos for each visit but you still cannot see every little detail. I did a lot of reviewing of past dances. The weekends were in Tokyo and Kyoto. I contacted the Armenian Embassy in Tokyo and they helped with the promotion. There are about 100 Armenians living throughout Japan, mostly merchants. All travel was by ...

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August 1, 2017 @ 10:40 PM

Here is some information about dances from my Volume 7 CD. 

Derek Votk-Tars Bar (rhythm 4/4 - 6/8) is originally from the Gareen region around its capitol Erzerum, southeast Anatolia.Yerek Votk means three steps. Tars means opposite because Tars Bar is led to the left. Bar in Armenian means circle dance. 

Geghami Shoorj Bar (rhythm 6/4 -2/4 -6/8) is from Yerevan, the capitol of Armenia. There are three parts: the first part is pinky hold, the second part is handhold, and the third part is shoulder hold. Gegham is the name of a man. Shoorj means circle. The dance honors Gegham, who used to lead the dance. It is traced back to the 1920’s. 

Echmiadzin (rhythm 6/8) Is from Erzerum. Echmiadzin is the center of the ...

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July 27, 2017 @ 10:42 PM

Greetings fellow dancers,

I'm back from Armenia after a successful tour with Japanese folk dancers. We stayed at the Hyatt Place hotel. Accommodations were excellent. We went on three excursions; first to Echmiadzin/Khor Virap including Sts. Hripsime and Gayane cathedrals. I'm always overwhelmed by the Badarak and the choir. We finished the excursion at Zvartnots ruins. We had an excellent English speaking guide and of course my Japanese organizer translated everything into Japanese. Our mini-buses were comfortable and air conditioned. Then we went on another day to Tsitsernakabert monument and museum. All photographs are captioned in Armenian, Russian, and English.

Then we went to Matenadaran, ancient book depository followed by ...

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July 3, 2017 @ 2:52 PM

I leave for Armenia Wednesday, July 5. I'll meet 17 Japanese who flying in from Tokyo on LOT airlines, Tokyo to Warsaw and then to Yerevan. We'll meet at Zvartnots Airport in Yerevan and we'll be bused to the Hyatt Place Hotel right next to the Republic Square. Then it's seven days of full activity with several excursions planned, dinners at a variety of restaurants, concerts, visiting dance rehearsals, and going to several of the famous Armenian museums. This will probably continue annually and I'll want to plan a similar tour for my Armenian dance students. Several of the restaurants we are going to have live orchestras and I've arranged for them to play Daldala, Tamzara, Kochari, dances of the Hamshen, Pompoori, ...

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May 30, 2017 @ 11:01 AM

I'm in Armenia for my annual visit. The visits have continued annually since I have graduated from the Choreographic School in 1975. The purpose is to collect Armenian regional traditional song and dance. Also we attend concerts and dance locally. In addition this trip is to set up a tour of Armenia for 16 Japanese who have been my students since I've been teaching in Japan starting in 1978. I'll be back in Armenia with them from July 7 to July 14. We'll meet in Warsaw, Poland then fly together to Yerevan on July 7. We will visit Echmiadzin, Khor Virap, Garni/Gerhard, and a variety of museums in Yerevan. The tour includes learning Armenian dances and attending concerts among other things.Trip is fully booked. Look for me to ...

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April 25, 2017 @ 4:09 PM

Kochari comes from the Persian word GHOOCH, which is a type of goat. In Armenian the word is AEETS. There are a variety of Kocharis and the movements can be traced to the movements of that animal, its gait, its jumps, etc. Over the centuries, the HOVIV (shepherd) has mimicked this animal since a large part of the day he is connected with his herd. There are different styles of Kochari depending on the region. Plains areas find the Kochari to have smaller movements, more foot play; we call that VOTKEE KHAGH. Mountainous areas find the Kochari to have larger steps involving more jumps, larger leaps. Alashgerd Kochari movements are larger than Moosh movements (MSHOO KHRR). Each region finds different syncopations. Enjoy your next Kochar!


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April 25, 2017 @ 4:00 PM

I leave for Armenia May 22. The purpose of the trip is to set up activities for a Japanese tour group I'm organizing in July. The tour will focus on the major Armenian sites plus Armenian song and dance. My Japanese students are very familiar with Armenian song and dance because I've been going to Japan on teaching tours since 1978. The trip will also involve my work with the Karin Dance Group and Gagik Ginosyan. The dates for the Japanese tour group are July 6-13, 2017. We'll be staying at the Hyatt Hotel next to Republic Square. A lot of the Armenian activities will be spontaneous. There are a lot of restaurant with live music plus excursions will always find villagers playing music. Yerevan has many outdoor theaters and the ...

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November 14, 2016 @ 7:44 PM

I'm going to be at the St. Garabed Armenian Apostolic Church annual festival in Palm Desert, CA all day Saturday, November 19, 2016. Join me for an excellent DJ who will play all our requests. In addition there's excellent food and a place to meet a lot of new friends. See you there.

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