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Vera Tsignadze

Nino Ananiashvili Irma Nioradze Elene Glurdjidze    


  In 2004 Nino Ananaishvili was appointed as the Artistic Director of the Zakharia Paliashvili Tbilisi Opera & Ballet Academic Theatre  


Nino Ananiashvili    
Nina Ananiashvili was born in Tbilisi, Georgia on March 28, 1963. Sickly as a child, her parents urged her to take up skating to strengthen her health. By age six, she was a ranked skater, and by the time she was ten, she was Georgia's junior skating champion.

That same year, she started ballet training in Tbilisi. Encouraged by her teachers, she soon abandoned skating for ballet. At the Georgian State Choreographic School, her teacher was Tamara Vikhodtseva; she also came under the tutorship of the renowned virtuoso Vakhtang Chabukiani. Her impressive progress was noted by dance authorities, who persuaded her parents to let her continue her training in Moscow.

Thus, when she was thirteen, she entered the Moscow Choreographic Institute, the teaching school of the Bolshoi Ballet. Her first teacher in that venerable institution was Natalia Viktorovna Zolotova.

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.

She was 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.

Ananiashvili 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 Fadeyechev.

Ananiashvili, 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 Graffin.

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.

In 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. 

In 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

Nina, who 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.

The gala 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 Bolshoi Theater.

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.


1991: Russian Independent National Award “Triumph” (the first time a dancer was honored).

1993: National Shota Rustaveli Award, Georgia.

2000: «Woman of the Year» (International Biographical Institute).

2001: Medal “National Merit Award” 3 order, Russia.

2002: “Dance Magazine” Award.

2003: «Medal of Honor» (Georgia’s highest order).

2003: «Ballet» Magazine Award «Soul of the Dance» (category «Queen of the Dance»).