The Sayat Nova Dance Company's mission is to preserve and promote the Armenian culture, primarily through the art of dance ; To foster an atmosphere of friendship among individuals sharing the pride and indomitable spirit of the Armenian people ; To further educate and elevate multicultural awareness within all ethnic communities worldwide. Sayat Nova Dance Company of Boston ( SNDC ) was formed in January 1986, as an independent, non-profit dance ensemble, under the direction of Apo Ashjian. With his leadership and the efforts of a handful of dedicated individuals, the Company has been able to surround itself by a group of young, talented individuals from all walks of life. The Company takes its name from the famous 18th century troubadour, Sayat Nova ( depicted at right ), whose beautiful music and poetry captures the essence of the Armenian soul and spirit. As part of a rich culture, Armenian folk dancing is a reflection of the life and legacy of the Armenian people. Each dance symbolizes the livelihood, the aspirations, the legends, the celebration of life and appreciation of beauty. The Company aims to preserve and promote Armenian culture through the art of dance. With this in mind, the group performs extensively in the United States and Canada. In 1995, the SNDC took its much-anticipated first trip to its homeland, Armenia. The group presented eight performances throughout the country, including the capital city of Yerevan, receiving rave reviews and much applause.