Apr 26, 2023

The State Ballet of Georgia

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Five dancers stand in a line holding each other's waists. The dancer in the front of the line, wearing black pants and a white shirt, is holding a sixth dancer's arms above their head.

Northrop Presents
The State Ballet of Georgia

Sat, Apr 15, 7:30 pm 
Carlson Family Stage

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Kari Schloner

Good evening, and welcome to Northrop! I’m delighted that you are here.

Tonight’s performance by The State Ballet of Georgia marks the celebratory closing of Northrop’s 2022-23 Dance Series. At the same time, it provides closure to another chapter in Northrop’s journey. Since March of 2020, we have been sharing stories of the companies that were facing postponement or cancellation due to the arrival and longevity of COVID-19. The State Ballet of Georgia is the final company to present their performance that was rescheduled as a result of the pandemic. What a triumph!

Looking back across that time filled with so much loss and uncertainty, we can see that so much was simultaneously gained. While many of our performances moved to various online formats, others faced cancellation or indefinite postponement. Instead, we innovated— investing in artists, audiences, and the future— and the Northrop Centennial Commissions program was born. This program provided eight companies whose performances were either canceled or postponed, with residencies and financial support to create new work, while at the same time offering our communities opportunities to engage with the artists throughout the process. I hope you were able to experience The State Ballet of Georgia’s gorgeous new dance film, created with support from this program. Looking forward, this transformational program will continue to support at least one company each year, acting as a runway to Northrop’s centennial anniversary in 2029 and leaving behind a legacy of new work to be appreciated for generations to come.

I want to give a special thanks to our subscribers and donors. You helped to make all of this possible. When performances were canceled due to the arrival of the pandemic in March 2020, 239 of you donated the value of your tickets to Northrop. These ticket donations were the seeds that became theNorthrop Commissioning Project Fund. If you donated your ticket back to Northrop, or have made a donation to this fund since then, thank you for dreaming big with us. I invite you to learn more about the Northrop Centennial Commissions program, our current projects, and how you can support the ongoing creation of new work infused with new perspectives. Thank you, and enjoy tonight’s performance.

Kari Schloner
Executive Director

Jeff Bieganek

Welcome to a much-anticipated Northrop 2022-23 Dance Season Event! It is our great pleasure to finally welcome The State Ballet of Georgia back to Northrop after a pandemic-induced postponement. This final event in the Dance Series season features three works performed by their stunning dancers under the direction of incomparable ballet star Nina Ananiashvili. Your commitment to the work that we do and the artists we present—including those involved with this performance—make this possible, and we are grateful for your support.

A special thank you to those who joined us for ENCORE: The State Ballet of Georgia Dinner. This is an extraordinary opportunity to connect with the art and artists. We appreciate your support for the Northrop Centennial Commissions program to create new dance works, elevate artists, and bring extraordinary presentations to our stage.

As we enjoy the closing of this season and look to the future, I invite you to support Northrop’s programs, helping to shine bright lights on our stage. Please consider supporting the important work that Northrop is doing now and in the future to inspire positive change in our world. The Northrop Advisory Board is growing along with new opportunities to engage, if you are interested in learning more, please contact us at northrop@umn.edu. And if you see me in Northrop, please don’t hesitate to introduce yourself! I would love to meet you.

Thank you for attending. Your presence makes Northrop all the better, and we look forward to seeing you at many more Northrop events!

Jeff Bieganek, Northrop Advisory Board Chair

Concerto Barocco

State Ballet of Georgia in Concerto Barocco. Photo courtesy of Artist.


Music by Pyotr Tchaikovsky
Choreography by George Balanchine
Staged by Bart Cook, Maria Calegari, Ben Huys  
Costume designer: Ruben Ter-Arutunian
The Tbilisi premiere was held on November 20, 2005
Average runtime: 28 minutes

The first “Paris” version of the ballet Mozartiana to Tchaikovsky's Suite No 4 for Orchestra, of the same name, for which the composer adopted four short piano pieces by Mozart, was staged by George Balanchine in 1933 for his short-lived Ballet 1933 Company. It was the first of Balanchine's ballets to music by Tchaikovsky. In his early Mozartiana, stylized in imitation of the eighteenth century, the choreographer used only classical dance, but also some devices of the commedia dell'arte, as well as bright and colorful costumes by Christian Berard.

In 1981, Balanchine created a second version of the ballet. His new Mozartiana was a chamber and very intimate work, intended for the connoisseur of late twentieth century classical dance. For all its outer elegance and stylistic subtlety, it is openly spiritual. Mozartiana, after all, is 77-year old Balanchine's spiritual testament, like the Requiem was Mozart's and the 6th Symphony was Tchaikovsky's.

Both the stage and the characters in the ballet were dressed in mourning. The four little girls and four adult soloists wore black trimmed with white lace: an elegant XVIIIth-century costume (designer Ruben Ter-Arutunian). White, though a symbol of eternity and perfection, could be seen through the upper black layer of the knee-long fluffy tutu of the Ballerina-Muse (a role created for Suzanne Farrell). Her partner wore a white shirt and tights with dark-blue waistcoat. It is not known who the latter character is, he could be Mozart or perhaps even Balanchine (this could be why the choreographer gave this role to Anderson, who apart from being short like himself, also had a similar emotional and musical make-up to his own). There is no chance factor in the world of Balanchine. In his late Mozartiana, he bid farewell to those without whom his life and work would have been inconceivable–to composer, dancer, to the Ballerina-Muse.

Mysterious and plotless, like most of Balanchine's compositions, Mozartiana opens with a Prayer (Preghiera). This is followed by the solo (Jig) of the court dancer accompanied by four female soloists, variations and a most refined pas de deux by Ballerina and Leading dancer. This dialogue between Creator and Muse ends with a joyful and exultant finale in which all the characters take part.


Concerto Barocco

Music by Johann Sebastian Bach,Concerto in D minor for Two Violins, BWV 1043
Staged by Bart Cook, Maria Calegari, Ben Huys  
Premiered on Jun 27, 1941 in Rio de Janeiro 
The Tbilisi premiere was held on May 23, 2014
Average runtime: 18 minutes

Balanchine said of Concerto Barocco: "If the dance designer sees in the development of classical dancing a counterpart in the development of music and has studied them both, he will derive continual inspiration from great scores."

In the first movement of the ballet, the two ballerinas personify violins, while a corps of eight women accompany them. In the second movement, a largo, the male dancer joins the leading woman in a pas de deux. In the concluding allegro section, the entire ensemble expresses the syncopation and rhythmic vitality of Bach's music.

This work began as an exercise by Balanchine for the School of American Ballet and was performed by American Ballet Caravan on its historic tour of South America and later entered the repertory of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. In 1951, Balanchine permanently eliminated the original costumes and dressed the dancers in practice clothes, probably the first appearance of what has come to be regarded as a signature Balanchine costume for contemporary works. On October 11, 1948, Concerto Barocco was one of three ballets on the program at New York City Ballet's first performance.



Choreography by Yuri Possokhov
Music: Based on Georgian Folk Melodies
Composers: Ioseb Kechakmadze, Revaz Lagidze, Giorgi Tsabadze and Merab Merabishvili
Costume designer: Anna Kalatozishvili
Light designer : Amiran Ananiashvili
World Premiere: Tbilisi 2008
Average runtime: 30 minutes

Sagalobeli (Canticle) is a one-act ballet without a plot, created by the well-known contemporary choreographer Yuri Possokhov for the Tbilisi State Opera Ballet. The work is based on the Georgian Folk Music performed by the Changi Ensemble (Changi is a Georgian string instrument). The choreographer tried to express his impressions, from Georgia. Several soloists and corps de ballet members are performing the dances, where elements of Georgian folk dance can be seen. This has become the organic part of the contemporary approach.


The State Ballet of Georgia in Sagalobeli. Photo by Jack Devant Ballet Photography

The Performers


Nino Samadashvili
Efe Burak
Gigue – Kaito Hosoya

Concerto Barocco

Nino Samadashvili
Mariam Eloshvili
David Ananeli


Nino Samadashvili 
Mariam Eloshvili
Nino Khakhutashvili
Elene Gaganidze 
David Ananeli
Papuna Kapanadze 
Efe Burak

Corps de Ballet

Teona Akhobadze
Ina Azmaiparashvili
Giorgi Bestavashvili
Alisa Bogdanova
Elene Bujiashvili
Elene Gaganidze
Tata Jashi
Shorena Khaindrava

Nino Khakhutashvili
Ana Ksovreli
Mari Lomjaria
Ekaterine Makhachashvili
Nino Makhashvili
Machi Muto 
Masaaki Goto
Sophiko Phantsulaia

Natalia Rigvava
Lana Gogisvanidze
Gvanca Kakheli
Otar Bitsoshvili
Lana Gedevanishvili
Ana Modebadze
Sergei Petrosiani


Music Conductor: Gavriel Heine  
Orchestra Prepared by Rebecca Arons/RDA Productions

First Violin
Stephanie Arado, Concertmaster  
Helen Chang  
Ben Odhner 
Rebecca Greenstreet 
Emilia Mettenbrink
Angela Hanson 
Emily Saathoff 
David Leung 
Ian Snyder 
Mary Alice Hutton

Second Violin  
Cathy Schubilske, Principal  
Laurie Petruconis 
Maisie Block 
Kseniya Khvashchynskaya  
Karl Braaten 
Renata Steve       
Ashley Ng 
Stephanie Sko 

David Auerbach, Principal  
Susan Janda  
Nicole Swanson 
Jenny Nilsson  
Alastair Brown 
Thomas Bandar 

Sally Dorer, Principal 
Rebecca Arons 
Ben Osterhouse 
Will Richardson 
Ruth Marshall 
Jane Cords-O’Hara 

Fred Bretschger, Principal 
Charles Block 
Irving Steinberg 
Nadja Gale

Barbara Leibundguth

Bethany Summersgill

Julie Gramolini 
Jeffrey Marshak

Karrin Meffert-Nelson
Paul Schimming

Matthew Bertrand 
Laurie Merz

Michael Alexander 
Charles Hodgson 
Patrick Pridemore 
Allison Akins

Martin Hodel 
Chris Volpe

Stephen Kimball

Kory Andry

Two dancers stand side by side holding each other's left hand above their head. One leg is extended behind them. Their dresses are short and white. The background is grey and blue.

State Ballet of Georgia in Concerto Barocco. Photo courtesy of Artist.

Artistic Director: Nina Ananiashvili
Administrative Director: Mariam Eristavi
PR Manager: Ilia Tavberidze
Project Coordinator: Mariam Levidze
Stage Manager: Niala Godziashvili
Light Manager: Nata Chedilashvili
Ballet Master, Wardrobe Manager: Nino Ochiauri
Music Conductor: Gavriel Heine
Concertmaster: Gulnara Khuberashvili
Assistant to the Artistic Director: Ekaterina Shavliashvili
Technical Supervisor: Gela Pezuashvili
North America tour coordination: OZ Productions/Offer Zaks

Tbilisi Z. Paliashvili Opera and Ballet State Theatre Ballet Company

The theatre opened on Apr 12, 1851, and for the second season in 1852 the St. Petersburg Ballet Company (featuring F. Manokhin, E. Panov) arrived in Tbilisi. They presented the second act of F. Taglioni’s ballet La Sylphide and Polka-Vengerka. This was the first ballet performance in Tbilisi. One year later Manokhin staged the second act of Giselle, and the first full ballet performance took place in 1854 when Manokhin again mounted Taglioni’s three-act ballet Gitana the Spanish Gypsy. Unfortunately, due to lack of finances, he returned to the Bolshoi Theatre in the Summer of 1854. In the 80s and 90s of the XIX century, Tbilisi saw performances by St. Petersburg Emperor Ballet Theatre.

The stage of Tbilisi Opera Theatre was the venue for the foreign debut of Maria Perini, pupil of Italian dancer Enrico Cecchetti. She was the dancer who demonstrated the 32 fouette to the Georgian audience for the first time. During 1897-1907 she performed at the Tbilisi Opera Theatre. The creation of the Georgian ballet school is associated with her name; she founded the first choreographic studio for classical dances. Perini lived in Georgia for 48 years. Before returning to Italy in 1936, she attended the first Georgian ballet, staged by her pupil Vakhtang Chabukiani and it became clear to her that her work had not gone in vain.

Mzechabuki (Heart of the Mountains in the following stagings) by Andria Balanchivadze is the first Georgian ballet and was staged by Vakhtang Chabukiani at the Tbilisi Opera and Ballet Theatre. From 1929-1941, he worked at the Kirov Opera And Ballet (Mariinsky) Theatre, performing all leading roles from the classical repertoire. Chabukiani returned to Tbilisi in 1941 and managed the Opera and Ballet State Theatre Ballet Company until 1973. His partners at various times were Galina Ulanova, Maia Plisetskaya, Raisa Struchkova, Marina Semyonova, Alla Shelest, and Natalia Dudinskaya. On the Tbilisi stage he was continuously partnered by the legendary Vera Tsignadze.

In the beginning of the 1970s, the ballet company had a new artistic director–George Aleksidze, Fyodor Lopukhov’s pupil. Aleksidze brought new aesthetics to the theatre, as neoclassical ballets became the part of repertory alongside classical works. The company’s next artistic director through 1982-1985 was Mikhail Lavrovsky, the internationally known Bolshoi Theatre dancer and choreographer. Under his short directorship several interesting ballets were staged – his own version of Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet and Gershvin’s Porgy and Bess

Since 2004, Nina Ananiashvili has been artistic director of the State Ballet of Georgia. More than sixty ballets and ballet miniatures have been staged during these years. The repertory has been completely changed, with various choreographic styles and trends introduced alongside the classics. The repertory now includes ballets by Balanchine, Ashton, Bournonville, Kylián, as well as contemporary choreographers like Alexei Ratmansky, Trey McIntyre, Stanton Welch, Yuri Possokhov, and Medhi Walerski. Vakhtang Chabukiani's Laurencia, Gorda, and Othello have been restored. The ballet company collaborates with renowned choreographers and ballet masters, including: Mikhail Lavrovsky, Frank Andersen, Bart Cook, Ben Huys, Margaret Barbieri, Alexei Fadeyechev, Nancy Euverink, Ken Ossola Patrick Delcroix, and Brigitte Martin. 

Under the direction of Nina Ananiashvili, the GSB has been in demand for international touring and has performed in Japan, China, Taiwan, Israel, Egypt, Estonia, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Ecuador, Oman, Dubai, Portugal, Scotland, and has been a few times in Spain and Italy. This is the GSB 6th USA tour. 

Critique Highlights

"Ms. Ananiashvili's Georgians prove to be accomplished and stylish ... the sheer polish of the men is striking ... Put these dancers on a big stage with live music and they can do Georgia proud." NY Times

“Ananiashvili and her company are practicing diplomacy through dance - a great and hopeful gift.” The Washington Post

"Impressive speed and an easeful lightness … pure eye candy … Highly Recommended!” 

Chicago Sun Times

"Nina Ananiashvili, greatest shining star of her time, directs today this company of excellent dancers with gentleness, intelligence, and great competence.¨ Danser Magazine, Europe

“Sagalobeli celebrates Georgian folk music and tradition. In their Spartacus-style costumes, the men are muscular and proud, the women, swan-like and sensual.” Guardian Edinburgh

“(Sagalobeli) Often silhouetted against a shimmering yellow backdrop or bathed in sunset-red light, the girls sensually swayed their hips and rippled their arms like sirens, the boys - hands and feet defiantly squared off - bounded and bonded ferally. State Ballet of Georgia at Edinburgh Festival: proud passion from a sun-kissed country.” Telegraph UK

“With astonishing technique and a touching degree of expressive communication it was breathtakingly beautiful … Sagalobeli, Yuri Possokhov's celebration of Georgian folk music and dance with a balletic twist, propelled the men into shows of athletic prowess and revealed the women as undulating sirens full of delectable allure. What a joy!” The Herald UK

“Even those who love ballet, those who know ballet, and often attend performances, have not seen anything like this. “ Israel News

“…storm of applause and standing ovation in the auditorium.” Dance Cube Web Magazine Tokio

“Extremely complex performing skill and virtuosity… impeccable technique, a complete success.” Il Giorno (Italy)

US Embassy of Tbilisi
OZ Productions logo
Tbilisi Opera Ballet State Theatre logo


Nina Ananiashvili

Prima-ballerina, Artistic Director of State Ballet of Georgia

Nina Ananiashvili took first steps towards ballet art at the age of 10. She studied at Tbilisi choreographic school, in the class of Tamara Vikhodtseva. In 1977, she pursued her education at Moscow choreographic school, under tutorship of prominent pedagogue Natalia Zolotova.

In 1987-2004 she was prima-ballerina at Moscow Bolshoi Theater and under guidance of outstanding ballerina Raisa Struchkova, she produced and performed all parties from classical ballet heritage. The first season of Bolshoi Theatre turned out triumphantly for Nina. She performed Odette-Odile (Swan Lake) in Hamburg, Germany during the Bolshoi Theater tour and received a 30-minute, non-stop audiences’ ovation after the performance.

Nina Ananiashvili is the only ballerina honored with the four most prestigious international ballet awards: Varna (Bulgaria) X International competition gold medal (1980), Moscow IV International Competition Grand Prix (1981), Moscow V international competition gold medal (1985), and Jackson (US) III International Competition Grand Prix (1986).

Performing with Andris Liepa in Balanchine’s Theater, New York City Ballet, in 1988 is regarded as a milestone in her career. She was the first dancer from the former Soviet Union to be invited to the theater and was given leading parts in Balanchine ballets Symphony in C, Raymonda Variations, and Apollo. She also performed with the Royal Ballet in England (Covent Garden), Royal Danish Theatre, and St. Petersburg's Mariinsky Theatre. In 1993-2009, Nina Ananiashvili was guest prima-ballerina at American Ballet Theatre (ABT). In addition, she danced in Sweden, Norway, Portugal, Finland, Bavaria, Monte-Carlo, Birmingham, Boston, and Tokyo.

Since Sept 2004, Nina Ananiashvili has been artistic director of the Z. Paliashvili Tbilisi Opera and Ballet Theater, as well as principal director at V. Chabukiani choreographic state school. Under her leadership more than 60 ballet performances were staged at Tbilisi Opera and Ballet Theater. The theater's repertoire includes both new choreographic versions of classical ballets, as well as George Balanchine, Sir Frederick Ashton, August Bournonville, and Jiri Kylian performances. Alexei Ratmansky, Alexei Fadeechev, Yuri Possokhov, Trey McIntyre, Stanton Welch, Jorma Elo, and other choreographers eagerly collaborate with the theater. Ballet performances gained great success on tours in the United States (2007, 2008, and 2010), Japan (2007, 2010, and 2012), Egypt, Israel, Italy, Spain, Estonia, Taiwan, Ecuador, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Ukraine, and Belarus. In 2008, Tbilisi Opera and Ballet Theater company was awarded with the prestigious Herald Angels award at Edinburgh International Festival. In 2012, the 30th anniversary of Nina Ananiashvili’s stage work was marked with the participation of world ballet stars.

Nino Ananiashvili has been invited as staging choreographer to various theaters around the world. Together with Alexei Fadeechev, she staged several ballet performances at Tbilisi Opera and Ballet Theatre, L. Minkus’ Don Quixote, A. Glazunov Raymonda Act III, and F. Herold and P. Hertel La Fille mal gardée. She also staged a new choreographic version of Toradze’s Ballet Gorda (choreography by Vakhtang Chabukiani). In 2012, Nina Ananiashvili staged Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite and Les Sylphides at Beijing Dance Academy, and while in Lisbon Ballet Schoo,l L. Minkus’ Don Quixote suite. In 2014, she staged Vakhtang Chabukiani’s Laurencia at Minsk Bolshoi Theater.

Ananiashvili is honored with title of People's Artist of Georgia (1989) and Russia (1995), Zurab Anjaparidze and Rustaveli State Prize (1993), and The Presidential Order of Excellence (2010). She was awarded with the State Prize of the Russian Federation - For the Merit to the Fatherland (2001). Ananiashvili is the first ballerina holding the Russian national prize "Triumph" for achievement in art (1992). American Biographical Institute granted her the title of Lady (1997). She was awarded with the International Prize Golden Goddess (1999) set by the successor of the Royal family of France, Princess Marie de Bourbon. She was named as Dance Magazine Prize winner (2002). Nina was elected as United Nations Goodwill Ambassador in Georgia (2007) for achieving the Millennium Development Goals. The President of Italy awarded her prima ballerina with the Italian Solidarity Medal of Honor (2011).

Ananiashvili has been serving on the jury of many international ballet competitions such as YAGP–NY, Velentina Kozlova–NY, Prix de Lausanne–Switzerland, Seoul-Korea, Shanghai-China, and is widely solicited as a master teacher and Ballet coach. 

Gavriel Heine

Master Conductor

Gavriel Heine is one of the most exciting and multifaceted conducting talents of his generation, working with equal strength in opera, ballet ,and symphonic repertoire. In April 2022, he resigned from his position of resident conductor of the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia after 15 seasons with the world-renowned company where he debuted in 2007. He has been Music Director of Northern Lights Festival Opera in Minnesota since 2011. Heine was Assistant Conductor of Center City Opera Theater in Philadelphia from 2006 to 2007 and served as Chief Conductor of the Kharkiv Slobozhanski Symphony Orchestra in Ukraine from 2003 to 2007.

Born and raised in the USA, Heine was the first American citizen to graduate from the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory. He studied conducting with the legendary Ilya Musin and Leonid Korchmar at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory and at Indiana University, Bloomington, where he studied with Imre Palló, Thomas Baldner, and David Effron. Following his 2007 debut at the Mariinsky Theater, by invitation of Valery Gergiev, he was appointed resident conductor, eventually leading over 850 performances with the company.

Both with the Mariinsky and as a guest conductor, Heine has performed in some of the world’s most important opera houses, festivals, and concert venues, including London’s Royal Opera House; the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden; Moscow’s Bolshoi Theater; Teatro Regio Torino; Tokyo’s Bunka Kaikan, the Dubai Opera, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles, the Segerstrom Center in Costa Mesa, Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Boston Opera House with Boston Ballet, and Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City. 

Heine has guest conducted the Sinfonieorchester Basel, Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana; La Verdi Orchestra of Milan, the orchestras of the Teatro Comunale di Bologna and the Teatro Regio Torino; the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra, Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne, State Academic Symphony Orchestra of Russia "Evgeny Svetlanov," Tatarstan National Symphony Orchestra, Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra, Athens State Orchestra, Moscow’s Symphony Orchestra of New Russia, the Saint Petersburg State Cappella Symphony Orchestra; the Jönköping Sinfonietta in Sweden, and the Mikkeli Chamber Orchestra in Finland. He led rehearsals with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra as assistant conductor to Valery Gergiev. 

Recent events include Die Zauberflöte at the Northern Lights Music Festival, Eugene Onegin and Candide at Opéra de Lausanne, Swan Lake with the Royal Ballet at the Royal Opera House, Romeo and Juliet with the State Ballet of Georgia at Dubai Opera. Upcoming events include an all-Balanchine US tour with the State Ballet of Georgia, mixed programs with Reunited in Dance in Costa Mesa, and La Boheme and symphonic programs at the Northern Lights Music Festival.

Yuri Possokhov

Choreographer and Dancer

Born in Lugansk, Ukraine. After receiving his dance training at the Moscow Ballet School, Yuri Possokhov danced with the Bolshoi Ballet for ten years, working primarily with Ballet Master Yuri Grigorovich. During this decade, he was promoted through the ranks to principal dancer. In 1992, he joined the Royal Danish Ballet as a principal dancer, at the invitation of Ballet Master Frank Andersen. The following Dec, Possokhov was cast as Prince Desiré in Helgi Tomasson’s The Sleeping Beauty and after being invited to perform in San Francisco Ballet’s opening night gala, he moved west. In 1994, he joined San Francisco Ballet (SFB) as a principal dancer. 

While performing, Possokhov studied choreography and the teaching of ballet at the State College of Theatrical Arts, completing the five-year course under Evgeny Valukin in 1990. In addition to participating in the Bolshoi’s frequent international tours, Possokhov was often invited to perform as a guest artist in Europe, Asia, and Latin America. He also performed with Bolshoi ballerina Nina Ananiashvili’s own company, Ananiashvili and Friends, in numerous performances and galas worldwide.

As a choreographer, Possokhov’s credits include Songs of Spain, choreographed in 1997 for former San Francisco Ballet Principal Dancer Muriel Maffre; A Duet for Two, created the same year for former San Francisco Ballet Principal Dancer Joanna Berman; and Impromptu Scriabin, for former San Francisco Ballet Soloist Felipe Diaz. In 2000, he completed a new work for a dancer at the Mariinsky Ballet, as well as 5 Mazurkas for the Marin Dance Theatre. 

Possokhov’s Magrittomania, a work inspired by the paintings of René Magritte, was commissioned for San Francisco Ballet’s Discovery Program in 2000, and in April 2001, Possokhov received an Isadora Duncan Dance Award for outstanding choreography for the work. In 2004, the ballet was performed by the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow. 

In February 2006, the Bolshoi Ballet premiered Possokhov’s Cinderella and it was subsequently performed by the company in London and Washington, D.C. In spring 2006, Possokhov created ballet Mori, which marked San Francisco’s earthquake centennial, in collaboration with Maffre. Following this, he retired as a principal dancer from the Company. 

Possokhov was named choreographer in residence in May 2006. His final engagement with the Company as a principal dancer was on tour to New York’s Lincoln Center Festival in summer 2006. In November 2006, Berman and San Francisco Ballet Principal Dancer Damian Smith premiered Possokhov’s Once More, set to the music of César Franck, for the New Century Chamber Orchestra Gala, presented at San Francisco’s Herbst Theatre. On Program 2 of the 2007 Repertory Season, Possokhov’s Firebird had its San Francisco Ballet premiere. In addition, Possokhov collaborated with Maffre on Bitter Tears, a new work presented at the 2007 Gala. 

In February 2008, The State Ballet of Georgia gave the American premiere of Possokhov’s one-act work, Sagalobeli, which was performed on the company’s first-ever American tour. 

In the following years, Possokhov has continued to create new works for each of San Francisco Ballet’s repertory seasons, including Fusion, Diving Into the Lilacs, Classical Symphony, RAkU, and Francesca da Rimini. Both Classical Symphony, premiered in 2010, and RAkU in 2011, have been presented on the company’s national and international tours, including an engagement at London’s Sadler’s Wells Theater. In 2013, he created The Rite of Spring to mark the centennial year of Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du Printemps; in 2015, the widely acclaimed Swimmer; and in 2017, Optimistic Tragedy.

Possokhov is a frequent guest at Chicago’s Joffrey Ballet, having staged both Bells and a new full-length Don Quixote for the company in 2011, and The Miraculous Mandarin and Bluebeard’s Castle(opera), in a program titled Bartok on Stage with the Cleveland Orchestra in 2012. Possokhov returned to Copenhagen in 2012 to create Narcisum for the Royal Danish Ballet, and in 2016 to choreograph a production of Cinderella at Tivoli Ballet Theare, with sets and costumes by Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II. For the Bolshoi Theater Ballet, in 2015 he choreographed the full length ballet A Hero of Our Time, based on Lermontov’s literary classic, and in 2017 he created a full length ballet about Nureyev. 

George Balanchine

Choreographer (1904-1983)

Georgy Melitonovich Balanchivadze was born on Jan 22, 1904, in St. Petersburg, Russia. The son of a composer, Balanchine had a robust understanding of music. In 1914, he enrolled at the Mariinsky Theatre's ballet school. He graduated in 1921 and subsequently attended the Petrograd State Conservatory of Music, leaving the conservatory after three years.

In 1922, George Balanchine married a 15-year-old ballet student named Tamara Gevergeyeva. This was the first of four separate marriages to dancers, and for each of his wives, Balanchine would make a ballet.

In 1924, Balanchine was invited to tour Germany as part of the Soviet State Dancers. A year later, the young choreographer joined Serge Diaghilev's Ballet Russes. (His birth name, Balanchivadze, was shortened to Balanchine at Diaghilev's insistence.) At just 21 years old, Balanchine took over as choreographer for the group, one of the most renowned ballet companies in the world.

After the Ballet Russes collapsed, Balanchine created the company Les Ballets in 1933. Following a performance, American dance aficionado Lincoln Kirstein approached Balanchine about collaboration and the two began a 50-year creative partnership, co-founding the School of American Ballet in 1934. The following year, the professional company known as the American Ballet emerged, becoming the official company of New York's Metropolitan Opera until 1936.

In 1946, Kirstein and Balanchine co-founded a company that would become the New York City Ballet. Balanchine served as artistic director of the company, based out of New York State Theater at Lincoln Center. He produced more than 150 works for the company, including The Nutcracker. While money was tight, Balanchine presented the dancers in practice clothes instead of ornate costumes.

In addition to ballet, George Balanchine choreographed Hollywood movies and Broadway musicals. He is known for his connection to Igor Stravinsky; Balanchine created many ballets to his work, some in collaboration with the composer. He made more than 465 works, which have been performed by nearly every ballet company in the world.

Balanchine created plotless ballets, where the dancing upstaged glitz and storytelling. His work never featured a star, as he believed the performance should outshine the individual. He is credited with developing the neoclassical style distinct to the 20th century. Balanchine served as the artistic director of the New York City Ballet until his death, on April 30, 1983, in New York City.

Northrop Acknowledgements

The Northrop Advisory Board

The Northrop Advisory Board is committed to the growth and awareness of Northrop’s mission, vision, and the continued future of presenting world-class dance and music in our community. If you would like more information about the Advisory Board and its work, please contact Cynthia Betz, Director of Development, at 612-626-7554 or betzx011@umn.edu.

Northrop Advisory Board Members

  • Cynthia Betz
  • Jeff Bieganek, Chair
  • Kristen Brogdon
  • Dr. Robert Bruininks
  • John Conlin
  • Deb Cran
  • Susan DeNuccio
  • Karen Hanson
  • Cari Hatcher
  • Jill Hauwiller
  • Bob McMaster
  • Katheryn Menaged
  • Gary Reetz
  • Robyne Robinson
  • Toni Pierce-Sands
  • Kari Schloner
  • Kao Lee Vang
  • Donald Williams

Thank you for supporting Northrop!

Making Legendary Performances Possible

At Northrop, we believe in connecting great artists and ideas with our community and to a new generation of audiences. Your gift helps make memorable arts experiences possible by supporting extraordinary performances and new arts commissions, and helping ensure accessibility to everyone through online programming, outreach to diverse communities, and subsidized student tickets. Our Friends are at the center of Northrop’s biggest ideas and brightest moments on stage.

Become a Friend of Northrop today! 
Donate online at northrop.umn.edu/support-northrop

Ways to Give:

  • Annual Giving, a yearly gift amount of your choice.
  • Monthly Giving, choose a recurring gift amount that works for you.
  • Stock Gifts, Northrop accepts charitable gifts of stock.
  • Planned Giving, consider a legacy gift by including Northrop in your will or trust, or by designating Northrop as a beneficiary of a retirement plan or life insurance policy.
  • Matching Gifts, double your gift through your company’s matching gift program.

To learn more about supporting Northrop please contact:
Cynthia Betz
betzx011@umn.edu or 612-626-7554 

Friends of Northrop

A special thank you to our patrons whose generous support makes Northrop's transformative arts experiences possible. Make your mark on Northrop's future by becoming a Friend today, learn more by visiting northrop.umn.edu/support-northrop.

We gratefully acknowledge the support from, Arts Midwest Touring Fund, Minnesota State Arts Board, Marbrook Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, and New England Foundation for the Arts.

We extend a special thank you to our event sponsors the Graduate Hotel Minneapolis, PNC Bank, and RBC Wealth Management.   

Director's Circle


  • Drs. Robert Bruininks and Susan Hagstrum
  • Robert Lunieski


  • Jerry Artz
  • Kurt and Susan Bjorklund, Dedicated to Silas and Victoria Ford
  • Ellie Crosby, The Longview and Crosswols Foundations
  • Nancy Gossell
  • Richard Gregory
  • Gail and Jack Kochie
  • Randy Hartten and Ron Lotz
  • Jennifer Marrone and David Short


  • Nancy and John Conlin
  • Susan DeNuccio
  • Gail and Stuart Hanson
  • Voigt Lenmark and Family, In Loving Memory of Mary Jean Lenmark
  • Shawn Monaghan and Greg Plotnikoff
  • Thomas and Conchy Morgan, In Memory of Sylvia and Henry Frisch 
  • Sandra Morris
  • Gary A. Reetz
  • Scarborough Fair Boutique
  • Donald Williams and Pamela Neuenfeldt

Friend's Circle


  • Mary Benson
  • Frederick L. Betz
  • Jeff Bieganek
  • Rob Carlson and Gregg Larson
  • Deb Cran and Robert Craven
  • Fran Davis
  • Karen Hanson and Dennis Senchuk
  • Minhchau and Lawrence Harms
  • Sally and Richard Leider
  • Dana and Lori Klimp
  • Bob and Susanna McMaster
  • Tim and Gayle Ober
  • Anne and James Parker
  • Marianne Remedios and John Wald
  • Stephanie Rupp
  • Kathryn Sedo and Scott Beers
  • David Vanney and Catharine Ruther


  • Anonymous
  • Margaret Albrecht
  • Jeanne Andre
  • Kathryn Cahill, In Honor of Ferne Rowland
  • R. and J. Cameron
  • Will and Ginny Craig
  • Stephen Davis and L Murray Thomas
  • Meghan DeBruycker Legacy Fund-Willmar Area Community Foundation
  • Peter and Kathy Ganzer
  • Ramona Hanneken
  • Gayle Henton
  • Glenn Lindsey
  • Lara Kluge
  • Mark and Cecilia Morrow
  • David Musolf
  • Robin Oertel
  • Lance Olson
  • Richard Taylor


  • Anonymous
  • Elissa Adams and Michael Margulies
  • Paul Aslanian
  • Thomas and Jill Barland
  • Bill and Julie Brady
  • Kristen Brogdon
  • Kate Christianson
  • Diane Demos
  • Pat Gaarder
  • Stephen Gordon and Patricia Gavan-Gordon
  • Kathy Gremillion
  • Denise and Corey Holtz
  • Kimberly Hutchens
  • Jennifer and Mark Johnson
  • Mina Kinukawa
  • Emily Maltz
  • Mason and Gwen Myers
  • Derrill Pankow
  • Elizabeth Parker
  • David Perlman
  • Shannon Pierce
  • Ann Piotrowski
  • Kathleen Porter
  • Patricia and Joseph Pulice
  • Holly Radis-McCluskey and Glen McCluskey
  • John Reay and Karen Hanson
  • Danielle Robinson-Prater and Joel Prater
  • Gordon Rouse and Sylvia Beach
  • James Steman
  • Bonnie Vidlund
  • Cheryl Wall
  • Steven and Barb Zawadski


  • Anonymous
  • Atashi Acharya
  • Jan Adams
  • Marcia Anderson
  • Joseph Bingham
  • Mayrinda Cain
  • JaNan Cavanaugh
  • Karen Charles
  • Stephen and Mary Chicoine
  • Sandra Daly
  • Melissa Davis
  • Timothy and Judith Dove
  • Robert Dufault and Ann Wilcox
  • Jean Durades
  • William Durfee and Devorah Goldstein
  • George Ehrenberg
  • Kristin Elizondo
  • Annalee Gray
  • Lisa and Dan Gray
  • Joan Haldeman
  • Nancy Hammer
  • Catherine Hart and Andes Gonzalez Leon
  • Cari and Matthew Hatcher
  • Richard Hruby and Kimberly Broderick
  • William Humphrey
  • Ann Jaede
  • Barry and Karen Johnson
  • Tovio Kallas and Beatrice Holton
  • Dana and Eric Kassel
  • Micki and Neil Kay
  • Leslie Koepke
  • Jill Lammer
  • Jeffrey Land
  • Laura Landy
  • Alan and Peggy Lathrop
  • James and Sharon Lewis
  • Mary McKenna
  • Toni McNaron
  • Kelly McQueen
  • Margaret Michaelson
  • Sally Moore
  • Gwen Myers
  • Douglas Myhra
  • Michael and Lisa Nekich
  • Stephen Nelson and Joan Bren
  • William and Jennifer Neujahr
  • Sarita Parikh
  • David and Mary Parker
  • Elizabeth Parker
  • Donald Pastor and David Goldstein
  • Steven Pincus
  • Bridget and David Reddan
  • Debra Reischl
  • James Schmitz and Sara Thompson
  • John Shreves
  • Jan and Alan Sickbert
  • Carol Skinner
  • Dimitri Smirnoff
  • Wendy Steele
  • Barbara Stoll
  • Ertugrul and Karen Owens Tuzcu
  • Michael Weinbeck
  • Cathy Westrum and Annelynn Westrum
  • Monica Winker-Bergstrom
  • Millie Woodbury
  • Mark Wright and Elizabeth Walton

Up to $99

  • Mark Abe
  • Berit Ahlgren
  • Kent Akervik
  • Gerald and Georgianna Allan
  • Kevin and Shirley Arms
  • Robert Arntsen
  • Michael and Jessica Austin
  • Barbara and Bryan Barry
  • Christopher Bearg
  • Elizabeth and Wolfgang Bergman
  • Anna Betz
  • Tierra Boose
  • Mary Boyer
  • Patti Brase
  • Willie Bridges
  • Kristin Card
  • Ariel Carter
  • Muzi Chen
  • Betty Clark
  • David and Nancy Claussen
  • Michael Cohen
  • Massimo Costalonga
  • Virginia Dale
  • Susan Dardarian
  • Vicki Donatell
  • Dake Dorris
  • Byron Douglass
  • Frances Durkin
  • Marcia and Berkan Endres
  • Valerie Fazedin
  • Jessie Fett
  • Susan Gahan
  • Leslie Gerstman
  • Tippi and Bryan Goodwin
  • Joanne and John Gordon
  • Birgit Grund
  • Jeffrey Haddorf
  • Michael Hamerski and Susan Thurston-Hammerski
  • Paul and Charlotte Hardt
  • Ava Hartman
  • David and Julie Hartung
  • Joyce and Eugene Haselmann
  • Nancy Haskin
  • Jill Hauwiller
  • Addie Hazelton
  • Laura Helgeson
  • Mary Helmin
  • Colleen Hermann
  • Christina Herzog
  • Susan Hommeyer
  • Sheri Horton
  • Janet Horvath
  • Jerome and Judith Ingber
  • Ann Ivey
  • Ramona Jacobs and Charles Christianson
  • Marisa Jennings
  • Janet Johnson
  • Rick Johnson
  • Ronald Joki
  • Aseem Kaul
  • David Kearn
  • Lora Keller
  • Miriam Kenning
  • Joan and Timothy Kenny
  • Cassandra Kiehn
  • Dwayne King
  • Carrie Klemenhagen
  • Thomas and Mary Kuhn
  • Doni Kvam
  • Mike and Sharon Lane
  • Linda Leamer
  • Kathryn LeFevere
  • Jane Leonard and Lori Lippert
  • Barbara Lind and Craig Poeschel
  • Nancy Litin
  • Barbara and Loren Lorig
  • Ann Loushine-Thomsen
  • Danielle Lucero
  • Marcelienne and Roger Lundquist
  • Nancy Marcy
  • Cynthia Marsh and C.W. Vandersluis

Up to $99 (continued)

  • Kenneth and Judith Matysik
  • Robert and Kristin McClanahan
  • Alli Mertins
  • Sanjay Mishra
  • Jill Mitchell
  • Daniel Moore and Laura Tempel
  • Summer Morrison
  • Kate Mueller
  • Scott Nelson and Roxanne Hart
  • Shelley and James Nichols
  • Margaret Nolan
  • Nina Norum and Ronald Hays
  • Mary and Doug Olson
  • Barbara Owens
  • Carol and Peter Parshall
  • Matthew Peak
  • Marjorie Pearson
  • Beth Peck
  • Christina Peterson
  • Elizabeth Peterson
  • Virginia Phoenix
  • Charisse Pickron
  • Steven Pincus and Michelle Strangis
  • Jacqueline Rivera
  • Mary Roberts and Edward Kraft
  • Judith Rohde
  • Susan Rohde
  • Maria Rosengren
  • Shayla Saldivar-Pena
  • Amy Nelson Sander
  • Edward Sarnoski
  • Christine Schaefer
  • Liesl Schindler
  • Hollie Schultz
  • Thomas Scott
  • James Sewell and Sally Rouse
  • Elizabeth Sharpe 
  • Michele and Chris Shepherd
  • Rebecca and John Shockley
  • Sarah Showalter
  • Jan and Alan Sickbert
  • Barbara Sletten
  • Kristin Snow
  • Emily Soltis
  • Theodore Sothern and Barry Leon
  • Bruce Spang
  • Richard Steege
  • Ronald Stevens
  • Vicki Strahan
  • David Strand
  • Jonathan Tallman
  • Marie-Luise and Anita Teigen
  • Ivette Tejeda
  • Jon Thomas
  • Rodney and Carol Thompson
  • Michelle Tolliver
  • Kay Troan
  • Arthur Troedson
  • Kathleen Tuma
  • Nancy Tykwinski
  • David Ulaszek
  • Alla Valdberg
  • Tatiana Valdberg
  • Bill Venne and Douglas Kline
  • Katherine and Peter Vondelinde
  • Carolyn Wahl
  • Samuel Walling
  • Renee Warmuth
  • Kathleen Warner
  • Jeanie Watson
  • Brian and Katherine Weitz
  • Darryl and Janet Weivoda
  • Jonathon White
  • Mary Wiley
  • Clay and Karen Williams
  • Monica Winker-Bergstrom
  • Rachel Wolff
  • Julie Wolk
  • Roger Worm
  • Yuhsuan Yeh
  • Roberta Zohara

This season’s listing is current as of 4/4/23

Please contact Trisha Taylor at taylort@umn.edu if you have any corrections or questions.

Northrop's Aeolian-Skinner Organ

Thank you to the generous donors who continue to support programming for Northrop’s beloved Aeolian-Skinner Organ. It is because of you that this magnificent instrument’s voice will be enjoyed by many for years to come.

Organ Supporters

  • Dean Billmeyer
  • Drs. Robert Bruininks and Susan Hagstrum
  • Dee Ann and Kent Crossley
  • David Cruickshank
  • Salvatore Franco
  • Reid Froiland
  • Nils and Heather Halker
  • Charlie Johnson
  • Joseph Kuznik
  • Kristin Lefferts
  • Lisette Lilac
  • Peter Lund
  • Pamela Neuenfeldt and Don Williams
  • Holly Radis-McCluskey and Glen McCluskey
  • David and Rachelle Willey

The Northrop Organ Advisory Board

  • Michael Barone
  • Cynthia Betz
  • Dean Billmeyer
  • Kristen Brogdon
  • Dr. Robert Bruininks
  • Dee Ann Crossley
  • Laura Edman
  • Cathie Fischer
  • Nils Halker
  • Cari Hatcher
  • Pamela Neuenfeldt
  • Kari Schloner

The Heritage Society Members

The Heritage Society honors and celebrates donors who have made estate and other planned gifts for Northrop at the University of Minnesota. 

  • Nancy M Allen*
  • Jerry L Artz
  • John W Follows*
  • Stephen Gordon and Pat Gavan-Gordon
  • Peter S Lund
  • Darlene M Sholtis


Support By

Minnesota State Arts Board logo

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

ENCORE Support by

RBC Wealth Management logo
PNC Bank logo
Graduate Minneapolis logo

Silent Auction support by

AMP Alternative Motion Project logo
The Bad Waitress Coffee Shop, Bar, Diner logo
Ballet Minnesota logo
Blue Door Pub logo
Book Club. Good Food. True Story. logo
Boom Island Brewing Co logo
Borough logo
Bread and Pickle logo
Cafe Latte logo
Entertaining You! Chanhassen Dinner Theatres logo
Comedy Sportz logo
Commonwealth Properties logo
Como Park Zoo & Conservatory logo
Corazon logo
The Cowles Center logo
The Dakota logo
Fever logo
Food Works Inc logo
Glensheen, UMD logo
Goldstein Museum of Design logo
Gopher Football logo
Gopher Hockey logo
Graduate Hotels logo
Grand Jete logo
Great Lakes Aquarium
Hazelwood Food and Drink logo
Heim-Made logo
History Theater logo
Indeed Brewing Company logo
Jester Concepts logo
Kao Lee Vang logo
Kwik Trip logo
MCBA logo
MIA-Minneapolis Art Institute logo
Minnesota Landscape Arboretum logo
Mixed Blood Theatre logo
MNOpera logo
Minnesota Valley Country Club logo
MN Orchestra logo
Minnesota State Fair Foundation logo
Namakan Fur logo
New Scenic Cafe logo
Northrop logo
Nova Restaurant Group logo
Park Tavern logo
Red Cow logo
RF Moeller Jeweler logo
Rostal Designs logo
Scarborough Fair logo
Science Museum of Minnesota logo
Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra logo
St Paul Saints logo
Stages Theater Company logo
Stormsister Spatique logo
Surly Brewing Co logo
Theater Latte Da logo
The Davidson logo
Thunderbird Aviation logo
Tiny Diner logo It's the little things!
TMORA logo
Total Wine & More
Vail Dance Festival logo
WA Frost and Co logo
Walker Art Center logo
Zenon Dance School