SAN DIEGO – Armenian Composer George Kirazian’s new ballet based on the Book of Ruth will be produced by Mojalet Dance Collective and premiering in San Diego on April 29-30, 2023.
The Book of Ruth: A Ballet, will be choreographed by Faith Jensen-Ismay, Mojalet’s Founder and Artistic Director. Based on the Old Testament story of the Hebrew woman Ruth and her family, the new work will combine traditional and modern dance components, choreographed by Jensen-Ismay to Kirazian’s music, recorded by The Parnassus Ensemble of San Diego.
Mojalet Dance Collective has been entertaining and inspiring San Diego audiences for more than 30 years with traditional, modern and contemporary dance productions, including many world premieres, as they are dedicated to developing new and groundbreaking work. They are also developing The Book of Ruth: A Ballet, for a larger-scale production in Fall 2023.
The Book of Ruth in the Old Testament might well be the world’s first short story. When the elder Jewish woman Naomi loses her husband and both her sons, she implores both her widowed daughters-in-law to go back to their native land of Moab. One of them, Orpah, leaves. The other, Ruth, insists on staying with her mother-in-law Naomi, to embrace her people and her God. They go to Judah, where after a period of poverty, they meet a generous landowner named Boaz, who changes their lives. The story teaches its audience that love and devotion can heal after great losses and enable us to rise above our harmful prejudices against others. Although Ruth’s story has often been retold and depicted in films, it has never been set to music as a ballet.
A longtime member of the Armenian community who helped establish the first Armenian Church in San Diego, composer George Kirazian is a retired college instructor of Humanities, Composition, and Opera Appreciation. Born and raised in New Jersey, he completed his undergraduate and graduate studies at New York University and taught English Literature and Composition at Grossmont College for nearly 40 years, and served as Chairman of the English Department. He also taught Opera and Music Appreciation at San Diego State University. He is a longtime resident of San Diego with his wife Dikranouhi. They have three daughters: Yvette (husband John Harpootian), Andrea (husband Steven Urrutia) and Lisa (husband Steve Kradjian), and six grandchildren: Mark, Eric, Zari, Dante, Ani and Mari.
Kirazian’s musical compositions include The Book of Ruth: A Ballet, various art songs, hymns, and a new version of The Divine Liturgy of the Armenian Apostolic Church, which has been performed and recorded by Pacific Camerata of San Diego, the Paros Chamber Choir of Armenia, and also performed by members of the Armenian Church of San Diego. He has also published fiction and non-fiction: Easy Writing: A Practical Guide for Practically Everybody; A Time for Fathers (short novel), and five young reader books: The Sleeping Violet, Perry the Peacock, Beyond the Koala Kingdom, Leo and the Mulberry Flute, and The Princess of December. His website is georgekirazian.com.
The four premiere performances of The Book of Ruth: A Ballet will be April 29, 4:30 and 7pm; and April 30, 2pm and 4:30pm, at The Vine Arts Village, Oaks North Plaza, 12540 Oaks North Dr., San Diego, CA 92128. The performances will be combined with three other original dance pieces, Aftermath, Tainted, and a New Solo. A reception will be held in between each day’s performances, as well as a brief Q&A after each show.
For more information and tickets, visit https://www.mojalet.com/bookofruth or call 858 243-1402.