Ballet (Ital.: Balletto, Late Latin: ballo – I dance) is a type of performance dance that conveys its meaning through choreography.

The first ballet performance in Georgia took place in the Tbilisi Opera Theatre, in 1854. In 1880-90s, many famous and word-renowned Russian dancers (A. Chesnova, A. Pavlova, G. Kschessinska, Y. Geltzer) and ballet companies (Petersburg Imperial Ballet, Polish National Ballet, Imperial Russian Ballet, etc.) toured in Tbilisi. In a way, this prepared the foundation for establishing a Georgian ballet company.

The formation of the national ballet company started at the beginning of the 20th century. In this period, there were attempts to create ballet pantomimes [Iranian Pantomime (1914) by composer T. Vakhvakhishvili, Feast of Dionysus (Bacchus) (1919), performed by ballet master S. Vakaretsi and prima-ballerina G. Bauersachs; other pantomimes – Mzetamze (1926, the dance was staged by V. Venderovich-Zhgenti and G. Alberti), Khandzari (the Fire, 1930) by ballet master D. Machavariani and many others.]. In 1902, a Georgian dance studio was established (director A. Aleksidze). Especially noteworthy is the ballet studio of M. Perini (1916; from 1920, it was called Ballet School, headed by M. Perini; from 1934, it became Choreography State School with D. Javrishvili in charge; in 1951, it became National Choreography College), which became an important center for training future ballet dancers. The first Georgian ballet, Mzechabuki (Mtebis Guli) by A. Balanchivadze, was staged by V. Chabukiani in 1936 (script by G. Leonidze, artist was S. Virsaladze, consultant in Georgian national choreography was D. Javrishvili, conductor was E. Mikeladze). The first Georgian ballet performance about modern problems was Maltakva by Sh. Taktakishvili in 1938 (script by G. Taktakishvili, ballet masters were D. Javrishvili, V. Litvinenko, the artist was T. Abakelia, the conductor was O. Dimitriadi). The following dancers played an important role in the development of Georgian ballet: I. Aleksidze, M. Bauer, V. Vronski (Nadiradze), L. Gvaramidze, T. and E. Chabukiani, E. Gelovani (Minskaia), Z. Kikaleishvili, V. Tsignadze, R. Maghalashvili, L. Mitaishvili, N. Begtabegishvili, E. Gamsakhurdia, D. Machavariani, I. Arbatova, S. Sergeevi, etc. Ballet performances that were part of the national repertoire are Mtebis Guli by A. Balanchivadze (1936) and Maltakva by Sh. Taktakishvili (1938), Sinatle by G. Kiladze (1947), Gorda by D. Toradze (1949), Othello by A. Machavariani (1957), Demoni by S. Tsintsadze (1961). These were all stagged by A. Chabukiani, a great dancer and choreographer, who is rightfully considered the founder of Georgian ballet (he was the artistic director of the ballet company between 1941 and 1972).

 In 1973-80 and 1985-2004, the artistic director of the Tbilisi Opera ballet company was ballet master G. Aleksidze. He introduced Symphonic Variations ballet and Neoclassical style. He interpreted classical performances with a new vision. He created numerous new ballets via the synthesis of classical and Georgian dances. These were, Berikaoba by B. Kvernadze (1973), Antikuri Eskizebi by S. Tsintsadze (1974), Dali da Monadire (1977), Medea by R. Gabichvadze (1978), and Amordzalebi by V. Kakhidze (1989). At that time, Ts. Balanchivadze, V. Abuladze, Z. Amonashvili, M. Goderdzishvili-Aleksidze, S. Gochiashvili, M. Makharadze, A. Abesadze, N. Maghalashvili, V. Julukhadze, T. Vashakidze, G. Marghania, M. Zurashvili, K. Mukhashvili, I. Sorokin, L. Kandelaki, I. Bakhtadze, V. Akhmeteli, and D. Khozashvili worked in Georgian ballet. Since 2004, N. Ananiashvili has been the artistic director of the Georgian ballet company. In this period, numerous foreign ballet masters, such as J. Balanchine, I. Kiliani, I. Posokhov, and others, directed performances here. A new generation of dancers joined the ballet company: L. Khozashvili, N. Gogua, E. Surmava, N. Samadashvili, N. Chekurashvili, D. Ananiashvili, and others.


L. Gvaramadze

M. Aleksidze