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A New Ballet

Karina Melikyan spent seven years bringing a new version of The Little Prince to life

Article by Bree O'Brien

Photography by Nadezda Zavitaeva

Originally published in Kirkland Lifestyle

Karina Melikyan has been a ballerina her whole life, training in Vaganova style classical ballet  at the Yerevan State Choreographic School. Originally writing off professional dance as not a long-term career option for her, she tried studying language instead. But life continually brought her back to dance. After she’d been a ballerina for years, she began to learn Armenian dances and opened up a dance school on the Eastside. Melikyan started with six students, one of which was her son, and “suddenly there were twenty kids knocking on my door, wanting to take lessons with me,” she said. 

Over the course of the COVID pandemic, she expanded to a bigger school in Kirkland. Karin Kirkland School of Dance specializes in Vaganova technique classical ballet and it is the only school in WA state that teaches Armenian national dances. Since 2017, Melikyan had been thinking about helming a ballet production of The Little Prince, with new music written just for this show. After almost seven years from ideation to the stage, her production premiered in June of 2022, with Elisa Sargsyan as the composer. Melikyan and her friend Shushanik Babayan - with whom she went to dance school - wrote the libretto for the production to give to Sargsyan.

The Little Prince was recorded and Melikyan plans to make a film out of it, with a speech from her at the beginning. As she says, “Production was initiated, created, and brought to life by me and my Armenian friends in America. I just want the world to see how wonderful things are created.”

  • Karina Melikyan