Battle of the November Dances - St. John Armenian Church, Detroit, MI ACYOA
Detroit's "November Dance: Fall Fantasy" hosted by the St. John's ACYOA Seniors was a smashing success once again this year. Held at St. John’s Armenian Cultural Hall, the event brought together over 300 ACYOA members, other local Armenian youth, and out-of-town visitors from all over the Midwest and as far away as Massachusetts and California.
A longstanding tradition in the Detroit area, November Dance was initiated to take advantage of young people being home for the Thanksgiving holiday. Originally entitled "Turkey Trot" the dance has been hosted by the Detroit chapter since the founding of ACYOA in 1946 and even earlier, being held originally under the banner of "Sons and Daughters of the Armenian Church."
Arriving guests were greeted at the door by St. John’s supportive parent and ACYOA alumni volunteers, who assisted in all aspects of the evening. Guests were “wow”ed by this year’s theme, “Fall Fantasy,” created by Central Council member and St. John’s parishioner Karen Dardarian, along with St. John’s Youth Director Lisa Mardigian and their experienced team of Detroit girls (and some out of town guests!). Along with the beautiful décor, guests enjoyed mezza (realizing that Detroit's interpretation of the word is pretty broad!) and took part in the 50/50 raffle, with proceeds going to ACYOA's current supply drive to benefit the FAR Children's Center in Yerevan.
Music was provided by Detroit's own Nigosian Band, featuring Greg Nigosian, oud and vocals, George Nigosian, clarinet, Mike Kazarian, dumbeg, and Bedros Kudanian, guitar. The band pulled everyone onto the dancefloor with their unique, high energy, rock'n'roll-infused interpretation of Armenian kef dance music. Local favorite DJ Esso (Ara Avedissian) was joined for the first time on the November Dance stage by Detroit ACYOA member DJ M (Mike Kalfayan), an up-and-coming talent on the dance party scene. They kept the dancers grooving to the latest American, Armenian, and Arabic hits till an unprecedented 3:00 AM, topping it off, as always, with the famous Greek "Zeybek." As the last of the young men Zeybek-ed their hearts out, whirling with snapping fingers, stamping feet and agile bending of the knee, everyone was having so much fun that the committee literally had to force people to leave!! As the guests began to file out, search for their coats, and head out into the cold Michigan night, everyone mentioned how it had been one of the best November dances they had ever been to, and they all knew they would be back next year at St. John's.