Georgian Surnames

Nino (Nina) Ananiashvili

One of the Greatest Ballerinas of all time. Prima-balerina of American Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet and etc.

Nino Gedevanovna Ananiashvili was born on March 28, 1963 in Tbilisi, Georgia. Her father, Gedevan, and two older brothers, George and Levan, are geologists. Her mother, Lia Gogolashvili, is a philologist. Because Nino was often sick as a child, her parents decided to enroll her in figure skating lessons in order to improve her health. By the time she was six years old, Nino was a ranked skater, and at ten became Georgia State champion in the junior division.

In 1969 Ananiashvili entered the Georgia State Choreographic Institute. Tamara Vykhodtseva was her first teacher there. The great Vakhtang Chabukiani also took little Nina under his wings. Her progress was so impressive that it drew the attention of teachers from the Moscow Choreographic Institute, who convinced her parents to allow Nina to continue her studies there. In 1976 Nino was accepted at the Moscow State Choreographic Institute.

In 1980 she won the Gold Medal (junior group) at the 10th International Ballet Competition in Varna, Bulgaria. In 1981, dancing with Andris Liepa, Ananiashvili won the Grand Prix (junior group) at the IV International Ballet Competition in Moscow. (Liepa received a gold medal.)

Nino Ananiashvili graduated from the Moscow Choreographic Institute in 1981 and was accepted into the Bolshoi corps de ballet.

In 1982, during her first season with the Bolshoi, Ananiashvili danced principal roles in The Wooden Prince and Les Sylphides.

During the 1983-87 seasons Ananiashvili added Giselle, The Nutcracker, Don Quixote, Raymonda, Le Spectre de la Rose and Romeo and Juliet to her repertoire.

In 1985 she won the Gold Medal (senior group) at the Vth International Ballet Competition in Moscow and was made a principal dancer of the Bolshoi Ballet the same year.

In 1986, Nino Ananiashvili and Andris Liepa were awarded the Grand Prix at the IIIrd USA International Ballet Competition at Jackson, Mississippi, USA.

In 1988, Ananiashvili and Liepa became the first Soviet dancers to be invited to guest with the New York City Ballet. There, Nina danced the lead in Raymonda Variations, Apollo (her partner in both ballets was A. Liepa) and Symphony in C (second movement, with Otto Neubert).

Nino Ananiashvili didn’t forget her native city either. She first danced in Tbilisi in 1983 while only a soloist with the Bolshoi, appearing in Swan Lake and in Chabukiani’s version of Don Quixote partnered by Yuri Vasyuchenko. Later she danced Giselle, La Sylphide, and other ballets with the Tbilisi company.

While performing with the Royal Ballet at Covent Garden, Ananiashvili worked closely with Kenneth MacMillan, dancing in his Prince of the Pagodas and Romeo and Juliet. In London she also performed Symphony in C, The Nutcracker, Ashton’s La Fille Mal Gardee and Cinderella, Fokine’s Firebird, among others.

Ananiashvili has appeared as a guest artist with the Rome Opera Ballet, La Scala Ballet, Royal Swedish Ballet, Ballet de Monte Carlo, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Boston Ballet, Munich Ballet, Tokyo Ballet, with the National Theaters of Norway, Finland, Portugal, with Belgrade Ballet, Sofia Ballet, Hungarian National Ballet and with Goteborg Ballet.

In 1993, Nino Ananiashvili became a principal dancer with American Ballet Theater.

In 1999, Ananiashvili became a principal of Houston Ballet where she danced in Manon and in Ben Stevenson’s Three Preludes and The Sleeping Beauty.

On Nino’s initiative, the Bolshoi acquired an evening of Balanchine ballets in 1999. At the premiere of the Balanchine programme at the Bolshoi, she danced both Mozartiana and the second movement of Symphony in C.

In 2000, Ananiashvili and Fadeyechev established their own company, the Moscow Dance Theater.

Nino has decided to cancel all her performances for the rest of 2005.

Now she is an artistic director of State Ballet of Georgia