162nd ballet season opens
The Georgian State Ballet under the oversight of Artistic Director and Prima-Ballerina Nina Ananiashvili, opened its 162nd season on October 9 at the A. Griboedov State Russian Drama Theatre with three one-act ballet performances. A pre-performance VIP reception was hosted by Friends of the Georgian Ballet (FGB) to celebrate the new ballet season and mark the beginning of the 8th ballet season of FGB Representatives from the Dutch National Ballet Fund and other guests visiting Georgia.
The Friends of the Georgian Ballet is an association created by Mariella Tefft in 2006, and brilliantly directed by her until May of 2009, when the chair was passed on to the equally dedicated and talented Elvira Pietraroia Sandalli, who directed the organization until July of 2011. Since then, Michele Dunn and Sarah Williamson-Chirakadze have been jointly carrying on the tradition of increasing community awareness and support of the ballet as co-chairwomen of the FGB.
This season, Caroline Forestier and Maka Gotsiridze will join the FGB’s governing board which continues to encourage and support young Georgian artists in the pursuit of their dreams while assisting Ananiashvili in preserving one of the true gems of culture in Georgia.
During the reception, guests were greeted by Polonaise [a processional dance in ѕ time, with which the courtballets of the 17thcentury were opened], performed by current students of the ballet school. In addition, an inspirational short video was shown which highlighted the FBG’s various support to the talented artists and dancers.
“Me and my wife are very big fans of the Georgian Ballet,” says Ivan Jestrab, the Czech Ambassador in Georgia. “Very shortly after our arrival in 2008, we discovered the high-quality of the Georgian Ballet and immediately became members of the FGB. Since then, we saw all the performances carried out by the amazing artists of the State Ballet. We really enjoy being here in Tbilisi as cultural life is very rich and Georgian ballet is on the highest level thanks to Ananiashvili,” he continued.
On behalf of the FGB, together with Nina Ananiashvili, eight promising students of the Vakhtang Chabukiani Choreographic School were recognized and awarded with a scholarship for the 2013-2014 year. Nikoloz Sisauri, Nikoloz Chikhoria, Nikoloz Pirtskhelani Mikheil Djamaspishvili, Vasil Tsitsilashvili, Sofia Kardava, Anastasia Kadjaia and Lili Lekiashvili received scholarships in honor of patrons of the Georgian State Ballet.
Ananiashvili noted that those first graders come from large or vulnerable families, who face difficulties paying tuition, even though it’s quite low. “For four years, the FGB will sponsor their studies at school until they transfer to professional school where the tuition is free,” she explained.
On the opening night the audience saw Sagalobel, choreographed by Yuri Possokhov; Secret Garden, choreography by Sasha Evftimova, and the premier of 1st Flash, with choreography by Jorma Elo.
During the 2012-2013 seasons, the FGB has sponsored young artists of the Georgian Ballet to attend the well-known summer program Bournonville in Biarritz, where students represented Georgia and the ballet company at the highest level. Also, the association helped to send two students from the V. Chabukiani State Choreographic School to Riga, where they took part in the Spring Ballet Festival and received the Grand Prize. Additionally, the FGB hosted the Vakhtang Chabukiani photo book launch in celebration of the 100th anniversary of his birth.