Ballet Dancers Vanessa Zahorian and Davit Karapetyan Get Married


Davit Karapetyan and Vanessa Zahorian

By Paula Schwartz

SAN FRANCISCO (New York Times) — Vanessa Andrea Zahorian and Davit Karapetyan were married Monday at City Hall here by Andrea Goldman, a deputy marriage commissioner. On June 11, the couple had a religious ceremony at St. Gregory the Illuminator Cathedral in Yerevan, where Zenon Barseghyan, an Armenian Apostolic Orthodox priest, officiated.

The bride, 32, and the bridegroom, 30, are principal dancers with the San Francisco Ballet.

The bride graduated from St. Mary’s College of California in Moraga. She is the daughter of Patricia J. Zahorian of New Cumberland, Penn. and Dr. George Thomas Zahorian of Hershey, Penn. The bridegroom, who trained at the Armenian School of Ballet, is the son of Melanya Karapetyan and Rashid Karapetyan of Yerevan.

At the end of June 2004, Karapetyan, who was a dancer with the Zurich Ballet, arrived on the

West Coast for an audition with the San Francisco Ballet. Zahorian noticed him right away.

“He’s dark-haired and big-nosed,” she said. “I liked his big nose. His profile is so striking. He has a perfect physique: slim, long legs and perfectly-pointed feet for ballet and a great arch.”

But she was in a long-distance relationship.

A year later, he joined the San Francisco troupe, and they were partnered in rehearsals for “The Nutcracker.” As they danced together, Karapetyan’s feelings for her developed. “I saw she was a very nice girl and this can grow between us, this relationship,” he said. When he invited her to a movie, she turned him down, explaining that she was dating someone else. But after that relationship ended, she recalled thinking, “I’m nervous about exploring this, but I can give it a try.”

In November she agreed to a movie but arrived with another female dancer from the company. “I thought it was a little strange,” he said. Later that month he invited her to his apartment and made dinner. “We were watching TV and we were kind of flirting, and he reached over and gave me a kiss,” she said.

Zahorian said they wanted to keep their relationship private, but by December, other dancers had begun to notice their spending time together.

After six years of dating, he said, “I felt like we were very ready to go to the next step.”

After their last performance together in “Romeo and Juliet,” in May 2010, he proposed onstage, with the company’s approval.

As they took their final curtain calls, in front of an audience of 3,000, Karapetyan was handed the microphone. “I was so nervous I just went blank,” he said. When he dropped to one knee, the audience figured out what was happening. Then he took out the ring hidden in his costume’s poison pouch.

“It’s a very emotional and sad ballet, and it ended with happy tears for once,” he said.