Among her first
partners in her second year at the school was Andris Liepa. Even before she
graduated from the school, Ananiashvili had already won the Gold Medal
(Junior Division) at the prestigious Varna International Competition (1980),
and the Grand Prix (Junior) at the Moscow International Ballet Competition
(1981), with Liepa as her partner.
She joined the
Bolshoi Ballet upon graduation in 1981; Natalya Zolotova and Raissa
Struchkova have been her mentors in the company.
She danced her
first major role, Odette-Odile in Swan Lake, while on tour with the
Bolshoi in Germany in 1982.
soon awarded principal status, and given prima ballerina roles in such
classics as Giselle, The Sleeping Beauty, Don Quixote, La Bayadere,
Raymonda and Romeo & Juliet.
In 1985, she
won the Gold Medal (Senior) in the Moscow International Ballet Competition
and in 1986, she and Liepa were both winners of the Grand Prix in the
international competition in Jackson, Mississippi.
A hit with
audience and critics during the 1986 Bolshoi tour of the UK and 1987 Bolshoi
tour of the United States, Ananiashvili and Liepa became the first Soviet
dancers to guest with the New York City Ballet in 1988, where they danced
Raymonda Variations, Symphony in C and Apollo.
since has gone on to become a truly international ballet superstar. As well
as retaining her status as prima ballerina of the Bolshoi, she is also
currently a principal dancer with the American Ballet Theatre. She has
appeared with the Royal Danish Ballet, the Kirov Ballet, the U.K.'s Royal
Ballet, Covent Garden, Royal Swedish Ballet, Ballet de Monte Carlo, the
National Ballets of Norway, Finland and Portugal, Birmingham Ballet, Boston
Ballet, Munich Ballet, Houston Ballet and Tokyo Ballet among others. She
also tours with her own company, "Nina Ananiashvili and International
Stars". Her most frequent partner at the Bolshoi and on tour was Aleksei
who has been awarded the State Prize of Georgia and the State Prize of
Russia "Triumph" for her outstanding achievements, continues to expand her
repertory. In June, 1997, she added the title role in Ronald Hynd's
choreographic version of The Merry Widow for ABT. She was partnered
by Guillaume Graffin.
Inspired by her
dancing, Houston Ballet artistic director Ben Stevenson created The Snow
Maiden for her in 1998. The evening-length ballet, set to a Tchaikovsky
score arranged by John Lanchbery and beautifully staged by Desmond Heeley,
was enthusiastically received in Houston and New York, where ABT has
performed it in both 1998 and 1999 seasons.
In 1998, Nina
also danced Medora in the first night of ABT's first-ever production of
Le Corsaire, which became a big hit with the audience; it was the first
time Nina danced the complete Corsaire. For ABT's 1999 tour of Japan,
Nina added the role of the Glove Seller in Massine's Gaité Parisienne;
she was partnered by Giuseppe Picone, in lieu of the injured Guillaume
With her home
company, the Bolshoi, and her own traveling ensemble, Nina has sought to
explore other choreography and dance idioms. She "discovered" Alexei
Ratmansky and asked him to choreograph for her troupe. Nina Ananiashvili and
Friends since has toured with The Charms of Mannerism and Dreams
about Japan ---bringing the pieces to Tokyo, Paris, Alma-Ata, Tbilisi,
and the Berkshires' Jacob's Pillow Festival. The Bolshoi, in seeking to
integrate the legacy of George Balanchine into its repertory, has recently
acquired Symphony in C and Mozartiana, in both of which Nina
displays her affinity for the late great choreographer.
Now that Alexei Fadeyechev has retired from dancing to become artistic
director of the Bolshoi Ballet, Nina is most often partnered by Sergei Filin
and Andrei Uvarov. She danced Nikiya (La Bayadère) and Raymonda with
Filin and Kitri (Don Quixote) with Uvarov for the Bolshoi's highly
successful season at the London Coliseum in July-August 1999.
early May 2000, the Bolshoi launched its revival of Petipa's La Fille du
Pharaon, and Nina had the first night honors. For the summer of 2000
U.S. tour by the company, she danced with Uvarov and Filin in the Lavrovsky
Romeo and Juliet and with Uvarov in Fadeyechev's restaging of
Don Quixote. When the Bolshoi came to the New York State Theater in
July 2000 as part of the Lincoln Center Festival, Nina danced Giselle
with Filin, and both Symphony in C (2nd movement) and the grand pas
from Don Q with Uvarov.
In between these engagements, Nina appeared
with ABT at the Metropolitan Opera House, notably in La Sylphide
with Angel Corella
and Kevin McKenzie's "new" Swan Lake, partnered by Julio Bocca, who
has been her favored partner at ABT.
2001, Nina celebrated her twentieth anniversary with the Bolshoi. Yet, she
has truly been more than a Bolshoi ballerina---she is a ballet superstar who
has been beloved around the world since the start of her career. Not one to
rest on her already astounding accomplishments, she continued to stretch
herself artistically with new ballets. In 2001, she commissioned and danced
in the premieres of Stanton Welch’s Green at Moscow’s Maly Theater
(January 25); and Opus X, which had its first night at Moscow Musical
Theater (April 2).
Later in the year (November), she took the title role in Moscow Musical
Theater’s world premiere of Leah, choreographed by Alexei Ratmansky
to Leonard Bernstein’s The Dybbuk.
surprisingly had never danced before in Italy, conquered audiences in Genoa
and Milan, where she danced the Nureyev version of Swan Lake with the
La Scala Ballet (March). For ABT’s spring season at the Metropolitan Opera,
she took part in Mark Morris’ Gong.
The highlight of the year turned out to be her eight-city Japan Tour (Sept.
– Oct.)---featuring Ben Stevenson’s atmospheric Three Preludes (Nina
partnered by Uvarov) and a grand suite from Sleeping Beauty---with
five incomparable cavaliers (Belogolotsev, Filin, Picone, Possokhov, Uvarov)
vying for her Aurora.
performance at the Bolshoi (Dec. 7) formally marking her 20th anniversary
with the company was marred by an injury that prevented Nina from dancing on
what should have been her very special evening.
Fortunately, Nina recovered quickly and by January 2002, she was back
onstage at the Bolshoi; soon after she joined ABT in Orange County,
California, and Washington, D.C. Fortuitously, ABT added Frederic Ashton’s
La Fille Mal Gardée to its repertory in June 2002, so Nina had a
chance to reprise Lise--- one of the most lovable characters in all of
ballet---and a role she had danced ten years before with the Royal Ballet,
Covent Garden. Her partner this time was Carlos Acosta.
This ABT season also saw Nina deepening her mastery of Balanchine’s
Tchaikovsky Pas De Deux and the 2nd Movement of Symphony in C.
For ABT’s subsequent tour of Japan, Nina danced Le
Corsaire. The Merry Widow and excerpts from Sleeping Beauty.
Immediately after, she danced the full ballet with the Bolshoi in Tokyo.
She returned to New York for ABT’s City Center fall season----reprising
Balanchine’s Sylvia Pas De Deux and starring as the naughty operetta
diva in Antony Tudor’s Offenbach in the Underworld.
She ended the year with a sole performance of The Nutcracker at the
Nina turned forty in 2003---an event remarked on in cultural websites in
Russia. Nina seemed to treat the event as just another birthday. Dancing
with undiminished power and polish, she maintained her usual full schedule.
She added Hungary to her list of conquests, garnering raves for two
performances of Sleeping Beauty with Filin in Budapest with the
Hungarian National Ballet (Feb.).
In June, ABT
marked her tenth anniversary as a member of the company. She has been
ardently loved and admired by the New York audience, and she rewarded us
with two unforgettable performances of Swan Lake to cap an intensely
glorious season. Just when you think she can’t get any better, Nina does.
Independent National Award “Triumph” (the first time a dancer was honored).
Shota Rustaveli Award, Georgia.
2000: «Woman of
the Year» (International Biographical Institute).
“National Merit Award” 3 order, Russia.
2003: «Medal of
Honor» (Georgia’s highest order).
Magazine Award «Soul of the Dance» (category «Queen of the Dance»).