Tag Archive: Arman Grigoryan


Artur Babajanyan, Arshak Ghalumyan, Arman Grigoryan, Vahe Martirosyan, Arsen Mehrabyan, Tigran Mikayelyan:
“Forceful Feelings”
118 pages, colored and b/w photos
confident Markenkommunikation Winterthur / Switzerland
October 2022

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2022 by Ilona Landgraf

1. H.Spoerli, T.Mikayelyan, V.Martirosyan, A.Grigoryan, A.Mehrabyan, and guest dancers, Forceful Feelings, photo by courtesy of T.Mikayelyan © T.Mikayelyan“I can’t do this.”
Thus opens Forceful Feelings – a book by six Armenian-born dancers: Artur Babajanyan, Arshak Ghalumyan, Arman Grigoryan, Vahe Martirosyan, Arsen Mehrabyan, and Tigran Mikayelyan. This sentence heralded the disbanding of their company – the Forceful Feelings of the title – spelled out by their oldest member, Tigran. This was July of 2019, minutes before the curtain rose on a performance at the Pjazza Teatru Rjal in Malta. It was the last show Forceful Feelings would ever perform. The book, compiled by their mutual friend François Chappuis, assembles individual memories that trace back the paths that led to this finale.
The six boys, as they call each other, have a lot in common. Each of them was trained at the Yerevan National Ballet School and pursued a career in the West. Each of them struggled, some to the point of questioning whether a career in ballet was worth it at all. No one gave up. They were supported in their work by their close friendships (from boyhood) and the unvarying support and guidance provided by their parents. Artur’s father, for example, did not allow his son to quit after failing a few exams: “It’s okay to drop out. But not this way! Prove one thing before you quit: prove to them that you can dance. Don’t let them decide that. It’s not the circumstances that choose your fate – it’s you.” Artur took the challenge, throwing himself into the training – and it paid off. In 2003, he had already trained in Zurich. (more…)

Giving Perspectives

Tigran Mikayelyan and “Forceful Feelings”
Munich, Germany
June, 2016

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2016 by Ilona Landgraf

1. T.Mikayelyan, Bavarian State Ballet © S,KletzschI doubt whether Armenia was on the international ballet map twenty years ago. That this has changed is due to Tigran Mikayelyan. He was the first to leave his home country in 1997 for the sake of dance. Others followed. In 2006 he founded the ballet troupe “Forceful Feelings” with his best friend, Arsen Mehrabyan. They were joined by three fellow Armenians, Arman Grigoryan, now soloist of the State Ballet Berlin, Vahe Martirosyan, first soloist of the Royal Swedish Ballet and Artur Babajanyan, who dances with the Joffrey Ballet. Mikayelyan is principal of the Bavarian State Ballet; Mehrabyan, also principal, dances with the Royal Swedish Ballet.

For a number of years the five have been building bridges for their art between their home country and the west. All were born in Yerevan, trained in the Armenian National Ballet School, and left their country to pursue their careers abroad. They are as close as brothers, not related by blood, but kindred spirits. Also their families are closely connected. Now geographically separated, their paths came together again in Zurich where they danced with Zurich Ballet under Heinz Spoerli’s tenure. The next performances of “Forceful Feelings” at the end of June will bring them back to Switzerland’s global city. (more…)

A Bright Spot

State Ballet Berlin
Deutsche Oper
Berlin, Germany
May 26, 2016

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2016 by Ilona Landgraf

1. Ensemble, “Jewels” by G.Balanchine, State Ballet Berlin © S.BalloneSince Nacho Duato took over as artistic director of the State Ballet Berlin in 2014 positive news about the capital’s company has been rare. Neither has the repertory aroused enthusiasm nor has Duato been in favor with the local press. Though the dancers’ pay disputes and strikes dragging on for months last year met with the audience’s understanding, they caused no positive headlines either. It was high time to reclaim a reputation suitable for a State Ballet. Exactly what the company managed to do with George Balanchine’s “Jewels” which premiered last week. (more…)

Promoting the Future of Dance in Armenia

Arsen Mehrabyan, “Forceful Feelings”
Stockholm, Sweden
September 2015

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2015 by Ilona Landgraf

1. Arsen Mehrabyan, photo Carl Thorborg“Forceful Feelings” is a small ballet troupe created by five Armenian dancers, who, though dancing with various Western companies, are welded together by a determination to foster dance, especially ballet, in their home country. Touring internationally they are also introducing foreign audiences to Armenian culture. All five were born in the capital Yerevan, their families by chance being closely connected to each other; all studied at Yerevan’s National Ballet School where they were classmates, and all left Armenia to dance abroad.
Tigran Mikayelyan is principal dancer with the Bavarian State Ballet, Artur Babajanyan joined the Joffrey Ballet, Arman Grigoryan is solo dancer with the State Ballet Berlin, Vahe Martirosyan and Arsen Mehrabyan dance with the Royal Swedish Ballet, Martirosyan as first soloist, Mehrabyan as principal. Mehrabyan is the troupe’s artistic director and choreographer. I met him in Stockholm’s Royal Opera House in early September to talk about his career, professional dance in Armenia and the intentions of “Forceful Feelings”. (more…)

An Attempt to Live Up to an Epic Story

“Anna Karenina”
Ballet Zurich
Opernhaus Zurich
Zurich, Switzerland
November 29, 2014

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2014 by Ilona Landgraf

1. V.Kapitonova and D.Vieira, “Anna Karenina” by C.Spuck, Ballet Zurich © M.Rittershaus 2014Adapting a complex novel of remarkable scale for a ballet is a courageous undertaking. Christian Spuck, Ballet Zurich’s artistic director, took up the challenge. “Anna Karenina”, his new work, premiered earlier this season. It is based on Leo Tolstoy’s eponymous novel, more than one-thousand pages of intricate family histories, written within 1873 – 1878. Spuck boiled them down into a two-hour ballet. How did he approach this task and with what success?

Next to the triangle between Anna Karenina (Viktorina Kapitonova), her husband Alexei Karenin (Filipe Portugal) and her lover Count Alexei Vronsky (Denis Vieira), Spuck also portrays the other protagonists’ love affairs as well as other lesser characters: Dolly’s and the unfaithful Stiva’s messed up marriage (Dolly: Galina Mihaylova, Stiva: Arman Grigoryan) as well as Kitty’s and Levin’s tentative approach to each other, their wedding and apparently happy rural life (Kitty: Katja Wünsche, Levin: Tars Vendebeek). Princess Betsy (Giulia Tonelli), a socialite with dubious morals, and her companion (Wei Chen) – a wimp whom she makes look like fool – are featured as is the rigid Countess Lidia Ivanovna (Eva Dewaele), Alexei Karenin’s later life partner. The settings include those of Moscow’s and St. Petersburg’s high society, the Karenin’s home, a farm harvest with hands at work (Levin’s environment), the famous horse race, Anna’s and Vronsky’s sojourn in Italy and, of course, some train journeys to get from A to B plus Anna’s last fatal encounter with a train. (more…)

The Recurring Chance to Awaken the Beauty

“Sleeping Beauty”
Ballet Zurich
Opernhaus Zurich
Zurich, Switzerland
April 13, 2014

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2014 by Ilona Landgraf

1. Y.Han and O.Kollmannsperger, Sleeping Beauty by Mats Ek, Zurich BalletHaving the Royal Ballet’s gorgeous production of Marius Petipa’s “The Sleeping Beauty” in mind (with Alina Cojocaru in the title role), I faced Mats Ek’s modern version, currently performed by Ballet Zurich, with mixed feelings. A drug-addicted Aurora seemed to be an all too tasteless twist on the iconic fairy tale. The Zurich company, however, disabused me. Ek’s “Sleeping Beauty” provided around two hours of fascination during which I kept my eyes glued to the stage to miss no single detail. (more…)