San Francisco Ballet’s Royal Wedding: Vanessa Zahorian & Davit Karapetyan

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(slideshow of wedding photos above-best viewed on a computer!)

Davit & Vanessa Tie the Knot with Grace and Elegance

On June 11, 2011, in Yerevan, Armenia, San Francisco Ballet Principal Dancers Vanessa Zahorian and Davit Karapetyan began a new chapter in their storybook romance…as husband and wife.

The celebrated pair, onstage and off, began their courtship with much in common. Though their shared Armenian heritage (Davit was born in Yerevan, Armenia, the city of their wedding, and the petite Vanessa is an Allentown, PA native) might make it seem inevitable that they should gravitate naturally towards each other, it becomes apparent upon seeing them perform together that there is a much deeper universal language that they share: their love of Dance.


Davit Karapetyan & Vanessa Zahorian in Balanchine's 'Diamonds', Choreography by George Balanchine © The Balanchine Trust; Photo © Erik Tomasson

And Dance they have; in nearly all the major roles in SFB’s repertory; often paired together, they have thrilled and captivated us…

…and never more so than when Davit, taking up a microphone, dropped to his knee and proposed to Vanessa…


…after their final 2010 performance as the star-crossed lovers in Tomasson’s ‘Romeo & Juliet’…

…in front of the entire War Memorial Opera House.

Davit Karapetyan proposes to Vanessa Zahorian onstage after Tomasson's 2010 'Romeo & Juliet''; Photo © Erik Tomasson

The applause and cheering was about a 6.0 on the Richter Scale.

So is it any surprise that their wedding day should be blessed with a rainbow right outside their reception?

Our bride says that their special day gave them perfect weather and she shared their rainbow visitation with exuberance.

What the Bride Wore: 


Davit Karapetyan & Vanessa Zahorian; Photo: Hovik Karapetyan


This isn’t a ‘society’ column, but I wouldn’t be worth much as a journalist without reporting that the bride wore a cream colored strapless gown by Lazarro, with a sheath-styled bodice hugging the curves till it broadened into an elegant mermaid flair beginning just above the knees. The entire dress was studded with delicate appliquéd rosettes and crystals and her veil was chapel length. The Maid of honor (her little sister) and Bridesmaid (older  sister) both wore long pink gowns. Light pink being Vanessa’s favorite color, her bouquet was a watercolor palette of pink roses with the ‘handle’ portion wrapped in cream satin and elegantly  wrapped in a double strand of pearls.

The Ceremony…

…was Christian orthodox comprised of Armenian and American traditions, with the ‘Father of the Bride’ giving Vanessa away. Vanessa also honored her heritage and impressed her groom (and herself!) by speaking Armenian during the ceremony, repeating after the Priest in Davit’s native language.


Davit Karapetyan & Vanessa Zahorian; Photo: Hovik Karapetyan


The 5 Hour Reception…

…began inside with traditional Armenian music and was extended to the outdoors with a DJ playing American music. The wedding cakes were in various hues of pink and white and adorned with pink satin ribbon and fresh pink roses.

Davit Karapetyan & Vanessa Zahorian; Photo: Hovik Karapetyan

The Wedding Dance…

…was a passionate Tango choreographed by Davit and Vanessa and danced to the stylish and lushly produced Pussycat Dolls’ recording of  ‘Sway’, the English version of ‘¿Quién será?’, a 1953 mambo written by Mexican composer and bandleader Pablo Beltrán Ruiz. In 1954 the English lyrics were written by Norman Gimbel and recorded by Dean Martin (his recording reached number fifteen on the Billboard magazine best-seller chart and number six on the UK chart). Since then the song has been recorded and remixed by many artists like The Pussycat Dolls, Vanessa’s favorite.

There couldn’t be a more perfect song for our dancing duo; click ‘play’ on the video clip directly below and have a listen. while perusing the very appropriate lyrics below that:


Pussycat Dolls: Sway Lyrics

Songwriters: Pablo Ruiz; Norman Gimbel

The English version:


When marimba rhythms start to play,

dance with me, make me sway

Like a lazy ocean hugs the shore

Hold me close, sway me more


Like a flower bending in the breeze

Bend with me, sway with ease

When we dance you have a way with me

Stay with me, sway with me


Other dancers may be on the floor

Dear, but my eyes will see only you

Only you have that magic technique

When we sway I go weak


I can hear the sound of violins

Long before it begins

Make me thrill as only you know how

Sway me smooth, sway me now, give me more…

Davit Karapetyan & Vanessa Zahorian; Photo: Hovik Karapetyan

These photos were chosen by Vanessa for the purpose of sharing them with us and I thank her tremendously for her generosity.

As a gift to the happy couple from all of us, I’d like to invite well-wishers to sign an ‘Online Guestbook’ for the happy couple here on Odette’s Ordeal; just enter your congratulations and favorite Vanessa and Davit dancing moments using the  comment section at the bottom of this post. You can sign your name, choose to be anonymous in this online forum, or simply be ‘Brian from Burlingame’. 

Davit, I do realize you were also present at the wedding (!), looking dashing and princely with a divine orchid boutonniere…but you know what they say: ‘It’s all about the bride on the wedding day’.

And which role, on her wedding day, did Vanessa Zahorian, who has danced Princess Aurora, Odette/Odile, Giselle, Juliet, Sylvia, Swanilda, and Kitri, most feel like? Why, that of a Princess who was marrying her Prince Charming, of course:

Davit Karapetyan & Vanessa Zahorian; Photo: Hovik Karapetyan


Vanessa Zahorian; Photo: Hovik Karapetyan


“It was one of the most 
amazing days of my life. I felt like a princess.”-Vanessa Zahorian about her wedding day 

To see these fine Artists doing what they love best, visit their pages, with links to video clips, on San Francisco Ballet’s web site:

Vanessa’s Bio and Video

Davit’s Bio and Video

Odette will soon be launching the rest of this web site with her own unique SFB Dancer Bios!

(Don’t forget to write your wedding wishes in the comments below!)

About Odette's Ordeal

'Ballet's Head Cheerleader'
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29 Responses to San Francisco Ballet’s Royal Wedding: Vanessa Zahorian & Davit Karapetyan

  1. Renee says:

    This couple is as stunning on their wedding day as they are onstage. I wish them much continued happiness.

  2. Rumpelstiltskin says:

    Odette, you outdid yourself, what a fabulous post! V&D, thank you for sharing your special day with all of your SFB fans.

  3. MeiFlower says:

    What gorgeous photos — such a privilege to see them ! Congratulations Vanessa and Davit ! I have loved every performance of yours, but none as much as Romeo and Juliet last year and “the proposal” afterwards. Wishing you great happiness always.

  4. Sandi Covell says:

    Vanessa and Davit,
    What a gorgeous wedding! Your joy radiates right off the computer screen and fills my room.
    I wish you every happiness in life. Can’t wait to see you dance together again.
    Warmest regards,
    Sandi Covell

  5. niko mayer says:

    Vanessa & Davit–May your years of marriage be as sweet as your dancing. . .A fan. . .Niko Mayer

  6. Matt Naughtin says:

    Warmest congratulations, Vanessa and Davit! I always thought there is some extra electricity in the air when you dance together. Best wishes for a long, happy life together.

  7. Yuri Boudagian says:

    Absolutely Fantastic! Everything! Really enjoyed the photos..
    And once more feel so proud to be Armenian!

    Yuri Boudagian

  8. Vanessa Zahorian’s pictures look like they are out of Bride Magazine, simply beautiful. Congrats to a lovely couple who share the love of each other as well as for ballet.

  9. Krikor and Caline Soghikian says:

    Dear Vanessa, We have seen you and admired you on stage many times. Unfortunately we haven’t been able to go to the ballet the last few years and have not had the pleasure of seeing your husband Davit on stage. Congratulations to both of you. You look ravishing in your photos. Having been in St. Gregory Church in Yerevan we can visualize your wedding more easily. We look forward to seeing you dance together next season. With warm regards, Krikor and Caline Soghikian

  10. Michel Inaba says:

    Passion, love, commitment,
    A fairy tale come true?
    Our hearts do not need fantasy
    when blessed with souls
    like you.

    May your lives be filled with gentleness and as much joy as you have given to others. May you both live and dance long and well.

    Michel Inaba
    A fan and well-wisher

  11. Cathy Tateosian says:

    Such beautiful photos of what must have been magical day!!

    I was there, watching you both dance Romeo & Juliet the day of the proposal–I will never forget the electricity in the air and they joy we all felt for you as you shared the special moment with all of us in attendance. We had tears in our eyes and couldn’t stop talking about it as we left, realizing we had just been a part of something unique & memorable. Thank you so much, for your beautiful dancing and for sharing your love!

  12. Jenn says:

    The Keifer family wish you many years of wedding bliss! May God bless you both!

  13. Heidi says:

    I was there the night of the proposal and I will never forget it! Congratulations!

    • Hi Heidi-
      Thanks for commenting; it was one of the most talked about events in years for SFBalletomanes! These newlyweds are currently winging their way back from a short break before the Nutcracker 2012 shows begin-part of this adventurous duo’s vacation was spent ziplining!

      • Shirley A Ligiecki-Gronczniak says:

        Did you know that Steven Zahorian and Joan my sister who is married to him, live in Binghamton, NY, I don’t know if they are related. but it is kind of nice to think he is.
        just in some small way. He is very,,,,way smarter than any of us normal people…and he is so very kind…and is in the book of who is who.,, and has a kind of elegance that is very hard to explain. Just a kind, unjudgemental way about him that makes me think you might be missing him. He works at the college there. If you would like to look him up. He has always seemed to me to be of a stellar breed of person, if you get my meaning. He may be a relative of yours.. or maybe not.. but I thought you should know,,Just in case., He seems so out of sorts in our world. As I am, that is why I noticed. Love Shirley Gronczniak,. Joanie A. Zahorian’s sister.
        God Bless, And Let him make you filled with joy every day you are here.

  14. Shirley A Ligiecki-Gronczniak says:

    What a beautiful site.

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  17. Thanks for one’s marvelous posting! I genuinely enjoyed
    reading it, you can be a great author.I will always bookmark your blog
    and definitely will come back very soon. I want to encourage yourself to continue your great
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  21. Absolutely Awesome 👏

    As an Armenian, I’m elated
    And my fellow Armenians all over the globe ( and we are global – in quality, not quantity:) are proud of this couple ..
    San Francisco missing you ..

    Good work!

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