Vakhtang Chabukiani Celebration
Georgia is marking the 100th
birth anniversary of ballet legend Vakhtang Chabukiani with a series of
events in Tbilisi from October 20 to 24, 2010.
Chabukiani (March 12, 1910 - April
5, 1992, Tbilisi) became a leading star with the Kirov/Mariinsky Ballet in
the 1920s through the early 1940s. His incomparable virtuoso technique and
vivid stage presence made him the ideal heroic figure in Soviet-era
creations such as “Flames of Paris” (1932) and “Fountain of Bakhchisarai”
(1934). He foreshadowed the careers of Rudolf Nureyev and Mikhail Barysnikov.
Chabukiani, who also excelled as a choreographer, gave male ballet artists
more prominence as dancers---rather than mere partners---creating ballets,
solos and variations that showed off his bravura technique and dramatic
capabilities. For those too young to have seen him live, enough film footage
exists to give convincing evidence of his prowess. (Two particularly good
tributes are currently on YouTube: Google his name to get to
“Tribute for the 100th Anniversary” and
Wizard of Dance.”
After retiring from the stage, he
continued his career as a ballet master and teacher; he restaged 19th
century classics in Russia, adding challenging steps and extending
variations to enhance the male roles. Among his last male pupils is Igor
Zelensky, who still dances with the Mariinsky, and who was a principal with
New York City Ballet for many seasons.
When Nina started her ballet
training in Tbilisi, she was tutored by her legendary countryman.
Events planned in October include
performances by the State Ballet of Georgia of “Laurencia,” choreographed by
Chabukiani (see review of 2007 revival elsewhere on this website) and “Don
Quixote.” There will also be a gala concert. Dancers from American Ballet
Theatre, Royal Ballet, Covent Garden, Mariinsky and Bolshoi Ballets will be
featured in these presentations.
A photo exhibition and the
publication of a book are also on the schedule. As well, there is an ongoing
contest for the design of a monument to be placed in the garden of the Opera
and Ballet State Theater, currently under renovation.
website of State
Opera and Ballet of Georgia for details. Please
check back here for more specific information, particularly Nina’s dance
roles in these celebrations.