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The "Sabre Dance" is a movement in the final act of Aram Khachaturian's ballet Gayane (1942). It is widely considered his most famous work. The movement, especially its middle section, is based on Armenian folk music. According to Tigran Mansurian, it is a synthesis of an Armenian wedding dance music from Gyumri and a saxophone counterpoint from the United States.
The "Sabre Dance" was made popular by covers by pop artists, and has been used by figure skaters and in a wide range of films and TV series. Tom Huizenga of NPR describes it as "one of the catchiest, most familiar—perhaps most maddening—tunes to come out of the 20th century." Billboard magazine calls it "a piece that's known to every pops orchestra in existence."
In 1948, the "Sabre Dance", played by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (conducted by Artur Rodziński), the New York Philharmonic (conducted by Efrem Kurtz), and Oscar Levant, reached number one in the Billboard Best-Selling Records by Classical Artists. These three versions of the "Sabre Dance" were included in the Billboard "The Year's Top Selling Classical Artists Over Retail Counters" in 1948. It also became the first million-selling record of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
In popular culture
The "Sabre Dance" has been used in numerous films, animated films, TV series, video games and commercials over the years. The piece's popular familiarity has been enhanced by its traditional use as accompaniment by travelling circuses and on television variety shows such as The Ed Sullivan Show when novelty acts such as plate spinners appeared. The National Hockey League team Buffalo Sabres have used the piece as a theme song since at least the 1970s.
Some notable TV shows that have used it include The Jack Benny Program (1961), A Piano in the House from The Twilight Zone (1962), The Onedin Line (1971 and 1972), The Benny Hill Show (1985), The Simpsons (1991–2011), Two and a Half Men (2004), What's New, Scooby-Doo? (2004), "Peterotica" episode of Family Guy (2006), SpongeBob SquarePants (2007), The Big Bang Theory (2009).
Films in which the "Sabre Dance" was used:
- The Barkleys of Broadway (1949)
- One, Two, Three (1961)
- The System (1964)
- Amarcord (1973)
- Nu, pogodi! 6th episode "Countryside" (1973)
- Jumpin' Jack Flash (1986)
- Punchline (1988)
- Radioland Murders (1994)
- The Hudsucker Proxy (1994)
- Don't Drink the Water (1994)
- I Married a Strange Person! (1997)
- Vegas Vacation (1997)
- A Simple Wish (1997)
- Blues Brothers 2000 (1998)
- Kung Fu Hustle (2004)
- Scoop (2006)
- Sicko (2007)
- Ghost Town (2008)
- Witless Protection (2008)
- Le Concert (2009)
- Pájaros de papel (2010)
The "Sabre Dance" has been used by numerous figure skaters, including:
|1986–88||Debi Thomas||United States|
|1994||Scott Hamilton||United States|
|1993–94||Michelle Kwan||United States||short program|
|1998–99||Johnny Weir||United States||short program|
|1999–00||Evgeni Plushenko||Russia||short program|
|2001–02||Takahiko Kozuka||Japan||short program|
|2004–05||Daisuke Takahashi||Japan||short program|
|2005–06||Takahito Mura||Japan||short program|
|2007–08||Ryuju Hino||Japan||short program|
|2012–13||Julia Lipnitskaia||Russia||short program|
- Armenian: Սուսերով պար Suserov par; Russian: Танец с саблями Tanets s sablyami
- Frolova-Walker, Marina (Summer 1998). ""National in Form, Socialist in Content": Musical Nation-Building in the Soviet Republics". Journal of the American Musicological Society (University of California Press on behalf of the American Musicological Society) 51 (2): 362. doi:10.2307/831980. "...Khachaturian's most popular piece, the Sabre Dance..."
- "2011–2012 Concerts for Young People: Aram Khachaturian (1903–1978) “Sabre Dance” from Gayane". Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Retrieved 13 October 2013. "The “Sabre Dance” is in the final act. It is where the dancers display their skill with sabres. Its middle section is based on an Armenian folk song..."
- Helper, Allegra; Wasatch, Juanita (16 April 2002). "Facets Model Assignment: "Sabre Dance"". Weber State University. Archived from the original on 8 March 2014. "Khachaturian's strongest technique in "Sabre Dance" is its pulsating rhythm. He also uses a fast tempo, repetitive theme, and a simple melody to express happiness and patriotism. Khachaturian uses rich orchestrations including brass and woodwind instruments along with percussion, which helps to express Armenian folk music."
- In the documentary Khachaturian (2003, directed by Peter Rosen), Tigran Mansurian states: "What an interesting synthesis! He's taken a melody from Gyumri, an Armenian wedding dance tune... and he's tied in a saxophone counterpoint that seems to come straight from America. The relationship between the two seems so organic, so interesting!" The film is available online here. Mansurian appears at around 33:00.
- "Khachaturian: “Sabre Dance” from Gayaneh". University of North Georgia Department of Music. 15 October 2013. Archived from the original on 13 October 2013. "“The Sabre Dance” from the ballet suite Gayne [GUY-nuh] by Aram Khachaturian is by far this 20th Century Armenian composer’s most famous work. The “Sabre Dance” has been used in numerous films, animated films, TV series, video games and commercials over the years."
- Huizenga, Tom (5 June 2003). "The 'Sabre Dance' Man". NPR. Archived from the original on 8 March 2014.
- "Casey At The Bat". Billboard: p. 103. 15 September 2007.
- Retail Record Sales: Best-Selling Records by Classical Artists. Billboard. 10 April 1948. p. 30.
- Retail Record Sales: Best-Selling Records by Classical Artists. Billboard. 26 June 1948. p. 27.
- Retail Record Sales: Best-Selling Records by Classical Artists. Billboard. 10 April 1948. p. 39.
- Retail Record Sales: Best-Selling Records by Classical Artists. Billboard. 15 May 1948. p. 25.
- The Year's Top Selling Classical Artists Over Retail Counters. Billboard. 1 January 1949. p. 19.
- Hoffman, Frank, ed. (2005). Encyclopedia of Recorded Sound, Volume 1: A-L. New York: Routledge. p. 184. ISBN 9780203484272.
- The Andrews Sisters – Sabre dance
- Oscar Levant – Sabre Dance in The Barkleys of Broadway
- Moiseiwitsch plays Khachaturian / Levant "Sabre Dance"
- Woody Herman And The Second Herd The Road Band Volume 1 & 2 Sabre Dance
- "Liberace Plays the Saber Dance ...". EVTV1. Retrieved 13 October 2013.
- Liberace playing Saber Dance
- Les Baxter & His Orchestra – Sabre Dance
- Sabre Dance – Jerry Murad's Harmonicats
- Takeshi Terauchi & Bunnys – Sabre Dance
- SABRE DANCE live (1968) by Love Sculpture – on John Peel's radio show
- Spontaneous Combustion Sabre Dance Composed by Dave Edmunds
- Ekseption-Sabre Dance
- The Boys – Sabre Dance
- covered it during 1979 live shows, a recording appears on the two disc 2006 reissue of their eponymous debut album audio
- The Sabre Dance – Serge Camps
- Nina Hagen – The Lord's Prayer (Live at Montreux 1985)
- UK SUBS Sabre Dance
- The Toy Dolls – Sabre Dance
- Mekong Delta-Sabre Dance
- "Wolf Hoffmann". Dinosaur Rock Guitar. May 28, 2008. Retrieved 13 October 2013.
- Accept – 02 – Sodom & Gomorrah
- Master's Hammer – Savlovy tanec
- Skyclad – Sabre Dance
- release date http://www.amazon.com/Khachaturian-Sabre-Dance-Gayane-Heifetz/dp/B001FE8AWA
- J. Heifetz Plays "Sabre Dance" (Khachaturian)
- Sabre Dance – Budapest Gypsy Symphony Orchestra / "Live 1994/2004"
- Vanessa Mae – Sabre Dance
- "Bond Classified review". AllMusic. Retrieved 13 October 2013.
- Bond – Highly Strung
- James Galway – Sabre Dance – Aram Khachaturian
- Tony Levin – Resonator – Sabre Dance
- Sabre dance Khachaturian Cziffra / Eduardo Fernandez
- The Brian Setzer Orchestra – Sabre Dance
- Andre Rieu – Sabre Dance
- Starscape-Disco Biscuits-Sabre Dance
- Jelonek – Sabre Dance (A. Khachaturian)
- "Aram Khachaturyan". IMDb. Retrieved 13 October 2013.
- "(article)". Amusement Business 83 (1) (Billboard Publications). 1971. "The Buffalo Sabres have a new old wrinkle. Miss Sandae Bafo, a smooth lass on the blades entertains between periods with her special rendition of Khachaturian's fiery Sabre Dance."
- "The Work Song Nanocluster". IMDb.
- Eddie Robson (2003). Coen Brothers. London: Virgin Books. pp. 139–142. ISBN 1-57488-273-2.
- Debi Thomas 1986 Worlds EX
- Scott Hamilton – 1994 Canadian Pro SP Sabre Dance
- Michelle Kwan – 1994 NationsBank U.S. Olympic Festival on Ice
- "Johnny Weir". Ice Network. Archived from the original on 6 May 2012.
- 2000 Euros SP Plushenko – Sabre Dance
- "Aliona SAVCHENKO / Stanislav MOROZOV: 2001/2002". International Skating Union. Archived from the original on 21 October 2002.
- "Takahiko Kozuka". Ice Network. Retrieved 13 October 2013.
- "Tatiana VOLOSOZHAR / Stanislav MOROZOV: 2004/2005". International Skating Union. Archived from the original on 9 March 2005.
- "Daisuke TAKAHASHI: 2004/2005". International Skating Union. Archived from the original on 5 December 2004.
- Daisuke Takahashi-2004 Eric Bompard SP
- "Takahito MURA: 2005/2006". International Skating Union. Archived from the original on 16 May 2006.
- "Adeline CANAC / Maximin COIA: 2006/2007". International Skating Union. Archived from the original on 30 April 2007.
- "Julia LIPNITSKAIA: 2012/2013". International Skating Union. Archived from the original on 30 October 2012.
- Julia Lipnitskaia – 2013 World Junior Championships – SP
- "Julia Lipnitskaia (Rusia). "Sabre Dance", A Khatchaturian". 20 January 2014. Retrieved 12 February 2014.
- Article with several recordings, NPR
- "Sabre Dance" on YouTube, Berlin Philharmonic, conducted by Seiji Ozawa