Roza Khachatryan and Davit Sargsyan began studying together in 2013. Last year, they got married. Roza credits Davit for giving her strength, while Davit says Roza is his source of strength.
Those who know my husband know how outgoing he is but he is also shy and does not like being the center of attention. He is very unique. Some may think that going through certain experiences makes it impossible to move forward in life, but that is not the case. It is indeed possible to overcome even the most difficult hardships and keep living. Davit and his friends will be performing on the stage of the Opera, a culmination of a year’s worth of preparation. I support my husband in every way I can.
Davit is one of the ten men in the Zinvori Tun (Solder’s House) wheelchair dance company.
Davit Sargsyan: Dancer
There was an incident during my military service. I fell when I was returning from my combat position and injured my spine. At the time, I was unaware of the severity of the situation and continued to make my way to the barracks. It was only after I fainted that I was transported to Yerevan and was in a coma for a long time. A lot happened later, but now I dance.
Artyom Gevorgyan: Choreographer
Dance practice is very rigorous. Our aim is to be the best dance troupe out there.
Despite personal pain and emotions, we try to support one another. However, there is also a need for strictness, which is not personal but it’s rather about discipline.
And to be absolutely honest, after every recital, after each performance when we see what is happening on stage and see the audience’s reaction, it’s difficult not to get emotional. Despite the overwhelming feeling, we still strive to keep it under control.
For us, it is crucial that the performance evoke not just memories, sadness and sentimentality, but also embody a forward-looking perspective, a gaze toward the future. It should emphasize that despite their compromised physiques, the boys are living their lives to the fullest and are capable of presenting this beautifully.
Vera Ghazaryan: Dancer
I have been dancing since I was four years old. I’m now 20. I had been watching videos of the boys for a while, and wondering if one day I would have the opportunity to be on stage with them. Finally, last year, I started dancing with them.
On my first day, I watched them practice a dance routine set to music from the movie “Life and War”. Both the music and the choreography deeply affected me causing my eyes to well up and I started crying. One of the boys approached me and jokingly said that he wouldn’t dance until I felt better. I was worried –– how would I be able to stand on the wheelchair, to gather the courage to move? What if I did something unsafe? However, everything went smoothly from the very first practice.
The audience’s reaction during the performances is beautiful. People watch the boys dancing, twirling, doing a traditional Armenian line dance, something they wouldn’t expect them to be capable of. By the end, the audience is emotional as are the boys and as are we.
Andranik Margaryan: Dancer
I was wounded during the 44-Day War. It was in Jrakan (Hadrut region of Artsakh). I had come to Zinvori Tun for one of my treatments when they suggested that I participate in the dance practice. After some thought, I agreed, even though I had never danced before.
My friends and family were very surprised. They knew that I had never been interested in dance before, but now I dance. You could say that dancing is like exercise or training, but it is actually more exciting. It offers much more, both to the dancer and to the person watching.
At first, you get tired quickly. However, as time goes on, it becomes enjoyable and you start experiencing the benefits rather than your tiredness. The atmosphere and environment also play a very crucial role. You come together with the boys and work together toward a shared goal.
Laret Saghatelyan: Dancer
I’ve been in a wheelchair for 20 years now, and my hearing is impaired. This year marks the 20th anniversary of my life with the wheelchair [laughing]
Dance is for me, I have always loved to dance. When the dance troupe was just starting out, it was no surprise that I was the first to sign up. I never get nervous when I’m on stage. I used to perform at school, dancing, singing, and playing musical instruments. Seeing our poster on the Opera building makes me even more excited. Who would have imagined it!
It is better for me to do what I love than to feel sorry for myself and cry. Believe me, the more you feel sorry for yourself, the worse your condition gets and people need you less.
Vardan Vardanyan: Dancer
I was wounded during the 44 Day War by a UAV in Jrakan. The incident happened before dawn on October 11.
Everyone sees a reflection of themselves in our dances.
The performance will start in a few minutes. I’m sure there will at least be someone who will watch and think, “Nothing is impossible,” while others will think, “Life goes on.” We will give our all, but each person will draw from it what is theirs. There will also be people who will simply watch and enjoy a dance performance.
A total of 1 kilogram and 308 grams of metal, including 136 pieces of shrapnel and bullets have been removed from the bodies of the boys performing on stage.
And as the performance begins, many remember that it was on the same stage, during the 44-Day War, where people had gathered to make camouflage nets for the soldiers on the frontline. Who knows, maybe one of the boys is here today because of that.
*Zinvori Tun/ Soldier’s House is a non-profit organization that provides assistance and treatment to individuals who have been injured during their military service or in the defense of the homeland during different time periods.