01 June 2005

Unity Dance (1918-2005)

AZAD-HYE (Dubai, 1st June 2005): May 28, is a great day for Armenians,
the day of the independence declaration of the first republic (1918),
established after miraculous victories in Sartarabad, Pash Abaran and

Commemorating this historical event Armenians decided to have a great
national festivity this year with an aim of displaying unity. The
result was the performance of the first circle dance of its kind in
the world, with the participation of about 150 thousand dancers,
encircling Armenian’s highest mountain Arakadz and creating a human
dancing chain of 163 kilometres.

The chain passed through several regions and involved more than 100
communities in the Arakadzodn and Shirag regions, in addition to
thousands of participants who poured in from the capital Yerevan,
driving on some 60 kilometres.

The dance started under the rhythm of traditional music at 3 p.m. and
lasted for 15 minutes. The participants were standing at about one
meter distance from each other, wearing apricot coloured caps,
symbolizing one of the colours of the Armenian flag. Each group was
assigned to a particular section of the area.

President Robert Kocharian and his guest famous French-Armenian singer
Charles Aznavour took also part in the spectacular dancing session.
Foreign tourists were seen in several points of the cheerful chain.

Along the highway of this round dance a tree planting program (called
tree of love to the fatherland) was carried on since April. The
evening just before the dancing, great fireworks were lighted up,
symbolizing Saint Krikor the Illuminator’s lamp, traditionally
believed to brighten the sky dome over Mount Arakadz, professed to be
seen by the believers only.

Television news had several great shots of the dance. Four helicopters
were covering the event from different locations.

Vanoush Khanamiryan, President of the Dance Union, took part in the
dance together with 6000 professional dancers, representing some 50
dancing groups, all wearing national dresses. Famous musician Ara
Gevorgyan composed a song dedicated to the event.

Hundreds, maybe thousands, spent the night before the dance along the
dance route, singing and dancing around fires, while the day of the
dance had such huge numbers of people that the line at times became
five or six rows deep. In one case, the dancer was one of the Armenian
soldiers who danced the Kochari in Berlin, celebrating the Soviet
takeover of the city in World War II.

The enthusiasm was so obvious that people started expressing the wish
to organize next dance around biblical Mount Ararat.

A parallel unity dance was organized in Artsakh.

Some saw in these festivities a trace of an old Armenian worship of
stone and nature elements.

Videotapes will be sent to the Guinness headquarters for evaluation
and probably there would be reference to this dance in the Guinness
Record Book.

Let us hope that this dancing ceremony will turn into a tradition
connected to 28th May and will symbolize the Armenian unity and joy of
communication and solidarity under the free sky of the motherland.

Picture at www.azad-hye.com: Slogan of the Armenian Unity Dance

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