Wine, Royalty + Rooftops! Featured Facts About The State Ballet of Georgia

April 24, 2023
Featured Facts about The State Ballet of Georgia

Check out these featured facts about The State Ballet of Georgia performance at Northrop— “a rare chance to see how Ananiashvili has transformed the company” (The New York Times, Apr 2023).

Svaneti, Georgia - a cluster a stone buildings nestled in a valley below snow covered mountains

Location: Svaneti, Georgia
Photo: Khatia Jijeishvili

Georgia’s Rich History

Georgia is not only the secret birthplace of wine, the country prides itself for being independent-minded. Georgia won independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 and was admitted to the United Nations in July 1992. 


Photo courtesy of the Nationaal Archief, the Dutch National Archives.

Son of Georgia, Father of American Ballet

The son of a Georgian opera singer who became the country’s cultural minister, George Balanchine co-founded the iconic New York City Ballet and became known as the father of American ballet.

A silhouette of a dancer carrying another dancer by their legs appears in front of a green background. The lifted dancer's arms are a straight line.

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

From Ukraine to San Francisco

Born in Lugansk, Ukraine, retired dancer and international choreographer Yuri Possokhov created Sagalobeli for The State Ballet of Georgia—a work that Northrop audiences will see on Apr 26. He now acts as San Francisco Ballet Choreographer in Residence.

Nina Ananiashvili poses on a piano bench in an ornate room

Nina Ananiashvili. Photo by Khatuna Khutsishvili Forbes.

Ballet Royalty

Nina Ananiashvili, from Tbilisi, Georgia, is a former prima ballerina with Bolshoi Ballet, The Royal Ballet, and American Ballet Theatre. Under Ananiashvili’s leadership, more than 60 ballets and miniatures have been staged at the Georgian Opera and Ballet Theater in Tbilisi.

exterior of the Georgian Opera and Ballet Theater

Storied Dance Pedigree

The first ballet performance in Tbilisi, Georgia, was in 1852 when the St. Petersburg Ballet Company performed at the Ballet State Theatre. In 2008, the ballet company of the Georgian Opera and Ballet Theater was awarded the prestigious Herald Angels award at the Edinburgh International Festival.

Ballerina dance on a rooftop with the hills and city in the distance

Photo still from the film The State Ballet of Georgia Today.

Lights, Cameras, Rooftops!

When The State Ballet of Georgia’s 2020 Northrop performance was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, funds from the Northrop Centennial Commission were used to support the company’s gorgeous film that included a stunning dance scene from a rooftop overlooking the city of Tbilisi.