Pacific Ballet Dance Theatre to Present ‘The Best Of Khachaturian’ at Alex Theater

From l to r: Stephen Nelson (Prince Zvezditch), Felicia Guzman (Baroness Schtral), Ellen Rosa (Nina) and Moses Navarro (Arbenin) in a scene from Pacific Ballet Dance Theatre's "Masquerade" (Photo by Olga Ivanova)
From l to r: Stephen Nelson (Prince Zvezditch), Felicia Guzman (Baroness Schtral), Ellen Rosa (Nina) and Moses Navarro (Arbenin) in a scene from Pacific Ballet Dance Theatre's "Masquerade" (Photo by Olga Ivanova)

From l to r: Stephen Nelson (Prince Zvezditch), Felicia Guzman (Baroness Schtral), Ellen Rosa (Nina) and Moses Navarro (Arbenin) in a scene from Pacific Ballet Dance Theatre’s “Masquerade” (Photo by Olga Ivanova)

BURBANK—Pacific Ballet Dance Theatre with artistic director, Natasha Middleton, will present “The Best of Khachaturian,” an evening of ballet and instrumental music written by iconic Armenian composer Aram Khachaturian including the famous “Saber Dance” and “Lezginka” from “Gayane,” as well as selections from “Spartacus” and “Masquerade,” and a new work entitled “Remember,” set to selections from the “Cello Concerto In E-Minor,” in memory of the Armenian Genocide. The performance will be presented at the Alex Theatre, 216 North Brand Boulevard, Glendale, on Sunday, September 17 at 5 p.m.

Natasha Middleton, Artistic Director of Pacific Ballet Dance Theatre, said: “We are honored to close Pacific Ballet Dance Theatre’s 15th Anniversary Season with a tribute to the music of the beloved Armenian composer Aram Kahachaturian in our program, ‘The Best Of Khachaturian,’ which will include a new piece I am setting in memory of the Armenian Genocide, entitled ‘Remember.’”

Kristine Gregorian in Pacific Ballet Dance Theatre's "Gayane" (Photo by Tom Pease)

Kristine Gregorian in Pacific Ballet Dance Theatre’s “Gayane” (Photo by Tom Pease)

Principal Dancers will include: Inga Demetryan (of Redondo Beach) as Phrygia in “Spartacus;” Eduard Sargsyan (of Redondo Beach) in the title role of “Spartacus;” Elen Harutyunyan (of Tarzana) in the title role of “Gayane” and Principle in “Remember;” Grigori Arakelyan (of La Crescenta) as Arbenin in “Masquerade” and Principle in “Remember;” Alina Bormotova (of North Hollywood) as Nina in “Masquerade;” Alexander Fost (of Pasadena) as Prince Zeveditch in “Masquerade;” Natalie Grina (of Burbank) as The Baroness in “Masquerade” and Soloist in “Remember;” Edgar Nikolyan (of Glendale) as Armen in “Gayane;” Nataliia Leparova (of Sherman Oaks) as a Principle in “Masquerade;” and Oleg Leparovi (of Sherman Oaks) as a Principle in “Masquerade.”

Soloist Dancers will include: Ashley Dawn Smith (of North Hollywood) in “Remember,” “Gayane” and “Masquerade;” Hannah Hart (of Sherman Oaks) in “Remember,” “Gayane” and “Masquerade;” Julie Teerlink Sanches (of Santa Clarita) Aerialist in “Masquerade” and Jacob Magana (of Los Angeles) in “Masquerade” and “Gayane.” Musetta Rubin (of Sherman Oaks) will appear as a Demi-Soloist in “Remember,” “Gayane” and “Masquerade.”

Edgar Nikolyan as Armen dancing the Sabre Dance in _Gayane_ part of Pacific Ballet Dance Theatre's "The Best of Aram Khachaturian" (Photo by Olga Ivanova)

Edgar Nikolyan as Armen dancing the Sabre Dance in _Gayane_ part of Pacific Ballet Dance Theatre’s “The Best of Aram Khachaturian” (Photo by Olga Ivanova)

Corps De Ballet members include: Chloe Verkinder (of Rancho San Margarita) in “Remember,” “Gayane” and “Masquerade;” Hagop Tanashian (of North Hills) in “Remember, “Gayane” and “Masquerade;” Razmig Tanashian (of North Hills) in “Remember,” “Gayane” and “Masquerade;” Raffi Bilemjian (of Granada Hills) in “Remember,” “Gayane” and “Masquerade;” Shoshana Mozlin (of Los Angeles) in “Masquerade” and “Gayane;” Elissa Brock (of Sun Valley) in “Masquerade” and “Gayane;” Devon Riesenbeck (of Burbank) in “Masquerade” and “Gayane;” Charlotte Harrop (of Burbank) in “Masquerade” and “Gayane;” Megan Vanderen (of Glendale) in “Masquerade” and “Gayane” and Patrick Fitzsimmons (of Santa Clarita) in “Remember,” “Gayane” and “Masquerade.”

Natasha Middleton, along with Ruben Tonoyan, Associate Director and Ballet Master for Pacific Ballet Dance Theatre, will co-direct the performance.

Composer Aram Khachaturian is known worldwide for his ballets, “Gayane” and “Spartacus,” the symphonic suite, “Masquerade” and his “Cello Suite In E-Minor.” The creation of these pieces not only raised Armenian national ballet to the world level, but also noticeably enriched the treasure house of the world musical-dramatic art. Khachaturian’s music is noted for its modal, harmonic, melodic and orchestral generosity, all of which are connected with a broad gamma of thoughts and feelings in his scores.

“Gayane” means happiness and is a celebration of life events in which composer Aram Khachaturian wanted the folk songs and dancing melodies to be integrated and inseparable from the whole of the ballet. “Gayane” is the story of a young Armenian woman whose patriotic convictions are in conflict with her personal feelings upon discovering her husband has committed treason. The “Gayane” score includes the famous Saber Dance. The late filmmaker Stanley Kubrick used the Adagio from “Gayane” for his film, 2001: A Space Odyssey. Likewise, filmmaker Joel Coen used music from “Gayane” in his film, The Hudsucker Proxy.

Eduard Sargsyan as Spartacus in Pacific Ballet Dance Theatre's "The Best of Aram Khatchaturian" ( Photo by Cheryl Mann)

Eduard Sargsyan as Spartacus in Pacific Ballet Dance Theatre’s “The Best of Aram Khatchaturian” ( Photo by Cheryl Mann)

The well-known tale of “Spartacus” is written in modern language, with application of contemporary methods of the musical-theatre form. The main characters in the ballet are represented with specific and repeated musical themes. The storyline concerns the ultimately unsuccessful revolt of the slaves led by Spartacus, a Thracian slave and gladiator, against the Roman Empire in the years 73 – 71 BC. Music from Khachaturian’s “Spartacus” was heard in the film, Ice Age: The Meltdown.

“Masquerade” was written for the 25th anniversary of the Russian Revolution. It is a symphonic suite in the tradition of lavish classical Russian music. Natasha Middleton will stage the piece to enhance the fantasy and put a modern face on this elaborate party, featuring eccentric costuming. The plot concerns a missing bracelet and a woman named Nina who is falsely accused of giving the bracelet to Prince Zvezditch. As a result, Nina’s husband, who thinks she is cheating on him, poisons her at the end of the ballet, only to realize she was innocent. The bracelet had actually been stolen by the Baroness and given to the Prince, who later gave it back to Nina. Natasha Middleton said: “Theatergoers who enjoy Phantom of the Opera, will enjoy “Masquerade” as there are similarities in style.”

Aram Khacaturian wrote his “Cello Concerto In E-Minor” in 1946. It was the last of the three concertos he wrote for individual members of a renowned Soviet piano trio. The Concerto was premiered on October 30, 1946 in the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, with dedicatee Sviatoslav Knushevitsky as soloist. The work is said to be representative of Khachaturian’s painful experience of wartime and contains many allusions to folk material and dance rhythms such as the ashough.

Tickets are $25, $35, $55, $65 and $125, which includes a VIP Pre-Performance Catered Reception on the Alex Theatre Terrace Lobby beginning at 3:30 p.m. The performance begins at 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 17, 2017. Tickets may be purchased online at or or by calling the Alex Theatre Box Office at 818-243-2539 or Ticket Micket at 818-265-0506. Tickets are also on sale at the Concierge Desk at The Americana At Brand and the Glendale Community College Auditorium Box Office.

Pacific Ballet Dance Theatre, originally named Media City Ballet, announced its formation on September 30th of 2001. Over the past decade, the company has gained a notable following and has grown to become one of the major dance companies within the greater Los Angeles area. Pacific Ballet Dance Theatre attracts first-class talent from around the world, including Armenia, Asia, Russia, Mexico and Spain. Company dancers possess credentials of study and performance from such companies as Armenian National Opera Ballet, the Bolshoi Theatre Ballet, the Kirov Opera and Ballet Company, the Korean National Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, and Cirque du Soleil. Pacific Ballet Dance Theatre boasts a large, varied repertoire and produces several major programs annually. Educational outreach programs and performances are performed by PBDT’s youth ballet. PBDT believes dance is the perfect universal expression of the human spirit. By continuing the innovative heritage of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, PBDT believes we are better able to understand our life stories, which elevates our passion and motivates us to express our true selves. PBDT performs captivating ballet presentations and offers engaging educational programs that nurture the talent and artistic creativity within the diverse Southern California Community. To learn more, please visit,

Natasha Middleton (Artistic Director/Choreographer, Pacific Ballet Dance Theatre) was born into a ballet legacy. Her grandmother, Elena Wortova, danced with the Ballet Russes, and her father, Andrei (Bill) Tremaine, with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. She was a ballerina with the original Pacific Ballet Theatre, under the direction of her father. She trained and danced in Los Angeles and in New York with Joffrey II, as well as in Europe and Asia performing in such ballets as The Nutcracker, Raymonda, Spartacus, and Carmen. She is the daughter of former San Francisco Opera Soprano, Natalie Garrotto and the niece of the late film star, Yvonne de Carlo (Lily on The Munsters). With music and acting under her belt, Middleton performed in and choreographed many musicals, operas, television and theater plays. As an actress she studied in Los Angeles under film director Don Richardson. She traveled much of the world studying many forms of cultural dancing, art design and contemporary and classical theatre. Middleton began choreographing professionally on Broadway for Jazz artist Chick Corea and went on the World Tour with Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock. In 2001, she founded the Media City Ballet Company and staged numerous ballets in Los Angeles including Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto #3. She has choreographed the feature film, Love Hurts with Carrie Anne-Moss and Richard E. Grant and such television shows as Hearts Afire with Billy Bob Thornton. She made history with her production of Men of the Ballet Russe honoring her father and other such Ballet Russe greats as Fredrick Franklin, Mark Platt, George Zoritch, Victor Moreno and Paul Maure. She established the Pacific Ballet Dance Theatre in 2012 (named after her father’s former company) and went on to direct three years of summer productions at the John Anson Ford Theatre with Axis Mundi, Dance in the USA and The British Beat. Her work placed as one of the Top 10 Dance Performances in California by the Beverly Hills Outlook. Her newest classical works are Chopin Pieces and the staging of Don Quixote. Middleton’s latest Contemporary works include: Black Coffee, Searching and the full length Carmen. Her latest short film can be seen on Watchable TV is Logan Paul vs Ballet.

Ruben Tonoyan (Associate Director and Ballet Master for Pacific Ballet Dance Theatre and Choreographer) was a Soloist with the Armenian National Opera Ballet for 23 years. He began his training at the age of eight with the Armenian National Academy of Ballet. He continued his training at the Kirov Ballet School and the Vaganova Academy in St. Petersburg, Russia. After graduation, he returned to his native Armenia where he danced numerous ballets, including the leading role in Khachaturian’s Gayane. He has since toured around the world performing in such ballets as Giselle, Carmen, Swan Lake, Othello and The Nutcracker. He has also performed with the National TV Contemporary Ballet for about 10 years. Tonoyan is a resident of Glendale, CA.

Aram Khachaturian (Composer) was a Soviet-Armenian composer whose works were often influenced by Armenian folk music. He was born on June 6, 1903 in Tbilisi, Georgia, Imperial Russia to a poor Armenian family. Although Khachaturian had almost no musical education, he showed such great talent that he was admitted to the Gnessin Institute where he studied cello, and in 1925, he entered composition class there. By 1929, he transferred to the Moscow Conservatory where he studied under Nikolai Myaskovsky. In the 1930s he married the composer Nina Makarova. By 1951, he became a professor at the Gnessin State Musical and Pedagogical Institute and the Moscow Conservatory. Aram Khachaturian, along with composers Sergei Prokofiev and Dmitri Shostakovich, became known as the so-called “titans” of Soviet music, each enjoying worldwide reputations as some of the leading composers of the 20th century. Aside from his ballets, Khachaturian was a prolific composer of a wide variety of music, including orchestral works, vocal scores, concertos and chamber music, to name a few. He died on May 1, 1978 in Moscow.



Discussion Policy

Comments are welcomed and encouraged. Though you are fully responsible for the content you post, comments that include profanity, personal attacks or other inappropriate material will not be permitted. Asbarez reserves the right to block users who violate any of our posting standards and policies.

One Comment;

  1. Natalie Tremaine said: