Nina Ananiashvili, a Georgian ballerina and artistic director of the State Ballet of Georgia, working on Chopiniana.
Nina Ananiashvili was born in Tbilisi, Georgian SSR, Soviet Union in 1963. She began her training in Georgia in 1969 when she entered the Georgia State Choreographic Institute. In 1976 she entered the Moscow Choreographic Institute where her main teacher was Natalia Zolotova. In 1980, she made her stage debut in a school production of Coppelia. She graduated and entered the Bolshoi Ballet in 1981. In 1983 she was promoted to the rank of soloist and performed in her native Tbilisi as a professional for the first time. Eventually she rose to become a prima ballerina. She, along with Andris Liepa, was the first Soviet dancer to appear as a guest performer with the New York City Ballet in 1988 (she had danced in “Raymonda Variations”, “Apollo” and “Symphony in C” there). She became a principal dancer for the American Ballet Theatre in 1993, and in 1999 she joined the Houston Ballet with that same rank.
She had performed well in several competitions: in 1980 she won the Gold Medal in the junior group of the 10th International Ballet Competition in Varna, Bulgaria, in 1981 she and Andris Liepa won Grand Prix in the junior group of the 4th International Ballet Competition in Moscow (Andris Liepa received the Gold Medal there), in 1985 she won the Gold Medal in the senior group at the 5th International Ballet Competition in Moscow, in 1986 she and Andris Liepa were awarded the Grand Prix at the 3rd USA International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi, United States. Since September 2004, she has been artistic director of the National Ballet Ensemble of Georgia. Since 2006, she has acted as a United Nations National Goodwill Ambassador for Millennium Development Goals.
Photos by Jack Devant with kind permission of the Saaremaa Opera Days, special thanks to Lauri Aav and Teet Kask.