Georgia’s capital hosts premiere of Tbilisi Contemporary Ballet

The ballet 'Dovin-Doven-Dovli' was first staged by Mariam Aleksidze in Tbilisi in 2009. Photo from Mariam Aleksidze., 07 Oct 2016 - 17:09, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgia is known for its rich history in dance; the country loves the Georgian National Ballet Sukhishvili, the State Ballet of Georgia is also widely applauded and now a new form of dance has found its home in capital Tbilisi.

This week the Giorgi Aleksidze Tbilisi Contemporary Ballet launched with a premiere at Rustaveli Theatre.

The new group was founded by dancer and choreographer Mariam Aleksidze and is named after her father, late Georgian choreographer Giorgi Aleksidze.

The troupe brings together several young dancers, some of whom are already known for their performances with the State Ballet of Georgia, Georgia's internationally recognised but more classically oriented dance company.

Tbilisi Contemporary Ballet dancers rehearse. Photo from Tamar Jibuti Photography.

Having a contemporary ballet company in Tbilisi used to be a dream but now it is a reality,” Aleksidze told local reporters before the October 5 and 6 premiere.

"Now it is important for this company to work hard, have its own things to say, to create its own face. I would also like to see it work as a platform for contemporary art in general.”

The establishment of the Tbilisi Contemporary Ballet company was announced earlier this year and comprises of male and female dancers.


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Dancers photographed during an audition for the Giorgi Aleksidze Tbilisi Contemporary Ballet.

Nine dancers performed in the two premiere shows at the Rustaveli Theatre small stage on October 5 and 6. The dancers performed Dovin-Doven-Dovli, a ballet based on poetry by Georgia's celebrated 20th Century poet Galaktion Tabidze.

[Performing in the piece] is difficult – I play a spirit, and the experience is tied with my inner world. The role is grounded and heavenly at the same time, while reading Galaktion's work makes your soul enter a different spiritual state," said dancer Nina Gogua.

Another dancer said he was thrilled to perform in Dovin-Doven-Dovli.

For me this is the second opportunity to dance to Galaktion's poetry […] every stage appearance is obviously a fresh experience. I would like to thank Mariam for inviting me and giving me the opportunity to take part in this performance,” he said.

Choreographer Mariam Aleksidze (L) photographed in a ballet studio. Photo from the Giorgi Aleksidze Tbilisi Contemporary Ballet.

The ballet was originally conceived by G. Aleksidze before he passed away in 2008. It was the late choreographer's final work. 

His daughter M. Aleksidze completed the staging of the work, which premiered in Tbilisi in 2009.

Meanwhile the young choreographer created a new version of her father’s piece for the premiere of her new company. The new production features an audio recording of poet Galaktion Tabidze reading one of his own works and features M. Aleksidze herself in one of the dance pieces.

The musical scores for the piece includes Claude Debussy’s piece Claire de Lune, Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No 9 Adagio and variations on Lulu Suite by Alban Berg.

Choreographer Mariam Aleksidze watches dancers audition for her new company. Photo from the Giorgi Aleksidze Tbilisi Contemporary Ballet.

Ahead of its first performance several days ago, the founding of Tbilisi Contemporary Ballet was noted beyond Georgia's borders. The new company received official letters of congratulation from well-known ballet names including internationally celebrated Russian choreographer Boris Eifman and rector of the prestigious Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet Nikolay Tsiskaridze.

Before the premiere dancer Natia Bunturi also reflected on the show.

[Mariam Aleksidze] has worked hard to create the first contemporary ballet company for Tbilisi, which also follows the legacy and taste of previous choreographers whose work is entirely usable and appreciable for us," she said.

The late G. Aleksidze is recognised as a crucial figure in developing contemporary dance in Georgia. During his life he worked as artistic director of the Tbilisi Opera and Ballet State Theatre Ballet Company (also known as the State Ballet of Georgia) in the 1990s.

His daughter followed in his footsteps – for the past seven years she has been staging ballets while dancing at the State Ballet of Georgia.

Her 2014 production Gurji Khatun, based on a novel by contemporary Georgian author Dato Turashvili, featured in the Georgian Showcase Program of the 2015 Tbilisi International Festival of Theatre.