BOCA RATON, Fla. — The first official event in the US that will mark the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide will be held on Saturday, January 24, at Florida Atlantic University (FAU). The program is organized by the local non Armenian Genocide Commemoration, Inc. (AGC). The Sayat Nova Dance Company (SNDC) takes its name from the 18th century troubadour, whose music and poetry capture the essence of the Armenian soul and spirit.
The SNDC’s mission is to preserve and promote the Armenian culture, to foster an atmosphere of friendship among individuals sharing the pride and indomitable spirit of the Armenian people, and to further educate and elevate multicultural awareness within all ethnic communities worldwide. Their newest choreography was designed specifically for the Genocide centennial commemorations that will be taking place this year.
“The program displays the evolution of Armenian history depicted by dance, music, poetry and storytelling,” said Garen Avetissyan, the group’s general manager. “The production takes you on a journey through pagan times, the adoption of Christianity, the battle of Vartanantz, the cultural renaissance, the massacres of the Genocide, to an ultimate celebration of an independent Armenia. You will experience triumph and despair, sorrow and exuberance as you watch Armenian history come to life. The show combines classical and avant-garde movement to evoke the power of Armenian culture.”
This year, Armenians around the world will commemorate 100 years since the genocide that began on April 24, 1915 when Turkish authorities arrested some 250 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders in Constantinople. Thereafter, Armenians were uprooted from their homes and forced to march for hundreds of miles, depriving them of food and water, to the desert of what is now Syria. Over 1.5 million Armenian men, women and children perished between 1915 and 1923 in what historians recognize as the Armenian Genocide. While 23 countries have officially recognized the events of the period as genocide, Turkey denies the word genocide as an accurate description of the events. In recent years, it has faced repeated calls to accept the events as genocide, but has refused to do so.
Since the Armenian Genocide, genocide has continued to occur. Greeks, Assyrians, Ukrainians, European Jews, Cambodians, Rwandans and those in Darfur have all seen genocide take their people from them. Funds raised by Sayat Nova’s performance will go towards maintaining and expanding genocide awareness and education in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties.