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Antranig Dance Ensemble Complete Whirlwind Four-Month Schedule

When it rains, it pours. That must be the way many members of the AGBU Antranig Dance Ensemble feel after wrapping up a busy winter season that saw the group perform a half-dozen programs in New York City and surrounding areas.

The group's schedule came to a rousing crescendo Saturday, March 1 as they served as guest performers at the elegant 30th Anniversary Dinner-Dance of the St. Gregory Church Armenian School in Westchester County, New York. What may have started as a pleasant plan for a few dances to entertain a sold-out dinner, turned into a 45-minute program of energy, excitement and out-doing their best.

Whatever was in the air that night transformed the dancers into top-level entertainers, and the audience contributed to the atmosphere with plenty of encouragement and appreciation. The
Antranig dancers have built a reputation on providing a hundred percent effort into their programs, but this was one night they walked away realizing they delivered one hundred ten percent, and leaving their audience in a quite different mood than when they entered.

The Antranig Ensemble's winter season actually began in November with two performances in New York City on the same day. Early afternoon found them at the Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center as part of the Anahid Sofian Dance Company's annual mix of international dance performances. Although only one part of a large show, Antranig left their stamp on the audience with a number of selections from its current repertoire prepared by choreographer Gagik Karapetian.

With another engagement just hours later, it was into cars and vans and a winding trip through Brooklyn to dance at the annual multi-cultural event presented by the Brooklyn YMCA. This is the third year Antranig has been invited to be a main feature of the show, and the audience wasn't disappointed. The Armenian folk dances were just what was needed to stir the crowd, and make them a part of the Armenian culture for a short while.

Two weeks later, the Antranig Dance Ensemble started a series of appearances at high-profile holiday events. The Armenian Club of Hudson Valley is a group encompassing areas north of Westchester County and south of Albany, New York. A little too far from both church communities to regularly take part in their activities, this Armenian Club has taken it upon themselves to have seasonal events in their own backyard.

Their Christmas dinner was attended by over a hundred area residents, and once again Antranig provided the excitement. In a one hour program that highlighted the many dance stylings of the
group, the Antranig dancers held their audience captive. Many attendees were so motivated as to seek out information on upcoming shows, to purchase music cassettes of past shows, and even make arrangements for a feature article in the Poughkeepsie Journal newspaper. As the night went on, the Antranig performers danced with their audience and even gave impromptu demonstrations of new dances being learned.

Speaking of learning, the members of the Ensemble weren't exempt from once and twice weekly dance rehearsals during this period. The training sessions became a combination of plans for their next performance and learning completely new dances for future shows. Clearly, they kept it all straight when they got on stage.

Another unique holiday event for the Antranig troupe was a performance for the Persian-American Association of New Jersey. The organization held its annual holiday dinner at the Wayne Manor in New Jersey and invited Antranig as their featured entertainment. Over one hundred attendees felt right at home with the Armenian dances, and clapped and cheered their way through an entertaining event.

The season wouldn't have been complete with a visit of over twenty-five dancers to the Armenian Home for the Aged in Emerson, New Jersey. It goes without saying that the residents truly
appreciated the show put on for them, and especially meeting and talking with the young dancers afterward.

If it sounds like a busy four months for this accomplished dance group under the Directorship of Joyce Tamesian-Shenloogian, it was. Best of all, no dancer complains when the schedule is full.
Instead, the question is always, "When's our next show?"

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