State Ballet of Georgia tour marks American competition anniversary

The State Ballet of Georgia concluded their local ballet season last weekend in Tbilisi. Photo from the State Ballet of Georgia., 11 Jul 2016 - 16:24, Tbilisi,Georgia

The Tbilisi State Opera Ballet Company (State Ballet of Georgia) and its artistic director Nina Ananiashvili will entertain guests of the USA International Ballet Competition (IBC) by performing a program of three ballets on a one-day tour to Jackson, Mississippi this weekend.

Appearing in the 2016 Grand Prix Reunion Gala of the IBC on July 16, the Georgian troupe and its famous director will mark the 30th anniversary of the 1986 edition of the American competition.

In the 1986 event, Ananiashvili became the first dancer from the Soviet Union to appear in a US-based competition along with celebrated ballet artists Andris Liepa and Vadim Pisarev.

With her performance the Georgian dancer won the City of Jackson Grand Prix Award and impressed the audience of what its organisers call "one of the elite ballet events in the world."

Nina Ananiashvili and State Ballet of Georgia soloist Vasil Akhmeteli perform in the ballet 'Marguerite and Armand'. Photo from the USA International Ballet Competition.

Now Ananiashvili and her company will mark the date by appearing at the Grand Prix Reunion Gala of the IBC, a global contest held every four years in Jackson.

The troupe will present three ballets; Marguerite and Armand by Frederick Ashton, Concerto Barocco by George Balanchine and Sagalobeli by Yuri Possokhov.

The gala will also include master classes and a "community demonstration", its organisers said in their announcement welcoming the Georgian artists to the United States.

Nina not only won the first Grand Prix award in 1986 but she also won the hearts of Jackson and USA IBC audiences. We are thrilled to see her return to dance on the stage of Thalia Mara Hall and to have the State Ballet of Georgia performing the same evening," said IBC executive director Mona Nicholas in her preview of the July 16 occasion.

Ananiashvili and the State Ballet of Georgia celebrate the conclusion of their 164th ballet season in Tbilisi on July 9. Photo from the State Ballet of Georgia.

First held in 1979, the USA International Ballet Competition seeks to "provide an opportunity for dancers to test themselves against recognized international standards of dance excellence and showcase their technical skill and artistic talent," said its organisers.

The most recent IBC featured an audience of more than 35,000 dance enthusiasts attending performances and special events of the 2014 edition of the competition. The next USA International Ballet Competition will run in June 2018.

The State Ballet of Georgia will feature at the Jackson event after concluding their 164th ballet season in Georgia last weekend.

A gala concert featuring Concerto Barocco and Marguerite and Armand along with the famous Balanchine work Symphony in C rounded off the 2015-2016 season at the Tbilisi State Opera on July 9.

The company enjoyed a productive season of seven new ballet premieres and international tours to Spain, Italy and Russia, while they also returned to their newly renovated Tbilisi venue.