‘The Best of Khachaturian’ with Artistic Director and Choreographer Natasha Middleton

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Ballet recognizes Armenian Genocide Sun., Sept. 17 at Alex Theatre in Glendale

By Gail E. Moss

Pacific Ballet Dance Theatre’s Sunday, September 17 performance of The Best of Khachaturian at Glendale’s Alex Theatre is about celebrating the great works of Armenian composer Aram Khachaturian and bringing recognition to the Armenian Genocide.

Artistic Director and Choreographer Natasha Middleton explained why this is a very special ballet and what it means to her:

How long have you been preparing for this performance?

Three months ago I decided to create a show called The Best of Khachaturian after seeing the film The Promise about the Armenian Genocide. In my heart I wanted not only to bring back this show, but create a new ballet for it called Remember using Khachaturian’s cello concerto to help Americans recognize the genocide.

I have several Armenian dancers in my company that were stars with the Armenian National Ballet and I said this is perfect timing for this performance which also includes excerpts from Masquerade, Gayane and Spartacus.

What does this work mean to you personally?

I can feel through the music, it guides me through what these people must have been through. I can feel the mourning and I feel the obligation as an American to see that this genocide is not overlooked.

This is my way of saying to my dancers my feelings for what their culture has endured. At the end of the ballet the dancers form their bodies to replicate the memorial that is in Armenia.

Middleton was assisted by Ruben Tonoyan, Associate Director, who coached Gayane and Spartacus, for this closing performance of the ballet company’s 15th anniversary.

“The Best of Khachaturian” plays Sunday, September 17, 5pm, at Alex Theatre located at 216 N. Brand Blvd. in Glendale. Tickets start at $25 and up to a $125 VIP reception in the Terrace Lobby, where you’ll find food, drinks and a possible brief visit from Middleton herself before the show. To purchase tickets call the Alex Theatre at (818) 243-2539 or Ticket Micket at (818) 265-0506 or visit AlexTheatre.org or TicketMicket.com to buy online.

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