Artistic Director/Choreographer Anna Djanbazian was born in Tehran- Iran on May 22, 1952 to Sarkis and Fleur Djanbazian. She grew up watching and learning from her father, who was the first male ballet master, dancer, choreographer, producer, and the founder of a ballet academy in Iran.
Anna Djanbazian obtained her BA in Classical Ballet and International Stage dances from Russia. After her father’s death in 1963, his academy remained open and upon her return from Russia, she took over the Academy in 1972. She developed a career as an artistic director, choreographer, performer, teacher and producer. She created many dance numbers and full length ballets, including performances principally staged for foreign guests of late Mohamed Reza Pahlavi, Shah of Iran.
In 1984, Ms. Djanbazian migrated to the United States with her mother. In 1988, she established the Djanbazian Dance Academy in California, while completing her M.A. in Modern Dance Choreography at UCLA. Through the founding of the Djanbazian Dance Company, Anna Djanbazian continued her work, creating critically acclaimed works, touring and performing successfully throughout the United States and abroad. Anna Djanbazian’s Persian-Armenian heritage, love of design and nature influenced her themes and choreography.
Throughout her career, she was honored for her outstanding contribution to the arts. These included receiving multiple Lester Horton Dance Awards, Diamond Awards for Achievement in Arts, Dance Awards of Grand Prix of Italy and the Tirgan Award in Toronto.
Raising awareness through art, she produced Komitas/(Banished but not Forgotten). She also produced widely acclaimed Rumi; Path to Enlightenment, Welcome to Persia and Zal & Rudabeh, based on the Ferdowsi’s mythical tales of Shahnameh.
When Anna Djanbazian, herself a colon cancer survivor, lost her brother Albert after his own battle with colon cancer, she grieved the way that was natural to her - through dance. Her full length ballet, Priceless Soul, was presented on stage in 2014, celebrating Albert's life and fierce battle with the disease.
In 2015 Ms. Djanbazian created & dedicated Carahunge, an original Ballet, to the Armenian Centennial Genocide and received a Medal of “Komitas” from the Ministry of Diaspora of the Republic of Armenia, a prestigious honor of Art in Armenia.
She led her company in national and international tours. Throughout her life, she performed, lectured and taught numerous workshops for institutions and educational venues. She served the greater dance community by participating on the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles Dance Resource Center.
Anna Djanbazian developed an extensive network of audiences throughout her life of serving the community. She was deeply committed to preserving artistic and cultural heritage. Her dedication, professionalism, creative genius and choreography immensely contributed to the performing arts with unique incorporation of international and ethnic dances. She was a mother to all her students whom she taught to believe in themselves and find the beauty of dance within but also taught them strength, responsibility and commitment.
Anna Djanbazian was diagnosed with Lou Gherig's (ALS) in 2015 but continued to inspire and teach until her final days. She passed away peacefully on June 28, 2017 surrounded by her loved ones. She is survived by her mother, Fleur Djanbazian, and thousands of students, parents and art lovers. The Djanbazian legacy will live forever through her art, choreography and dancers young and old.