ARAM KHATCHATURIAN • Sabre Dance • live

“Sabre Dance” is a movement in the final act of Aram Khachaturian’s ballet Gayane (1942), where the dancers display their skill with sabres. It is Khachaturian’s best known and most recognizable work. He apparently felt that its popularity “deflected attention from his other works.”

Its middle section is based on an unnamed Armenian folk song.According to Tigran Mansurian, it is a synthesis of an Armenian wedding dance tune from Gyumri tied in a saxophone counterpoint “that seems to come straight from America.”

“Sabre Dance” is considered one of the signature pieces of twentieth-century popular music. It was popularized by covers by pop artists, first in the U.S. and later in other countries such as the UK and Germany. Its use in a wide range of films and television series over the decades have significantly contributed to its renown.Sabre Dance has also been used by a number of figure skaters from at least five countries in their performances.