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Opening night of the 161st season of the Georgian State Ballet

Tuesday, October 23
The opening of the 161st season of the Georgian State Ballet under the Artistic Director and prima-ballerina Mrs. Nina Ananiashvili was on Saturday, October 20 at the A. Griboedov State Russian Drama Theatre with the premiere of Oh, Inverted World; Second Before Ground by Trey McIntyre. A pre-performance VIP Reception hosted by Friends of the Georgian Ballet, Michele Dunn and Sarah Williamson Chirakadze, co-chairwomen, celebrated the new ballet season and marked the beginning of the seventh ballet season of Friends of the Georgian Ballet (FGB). Event sponsors were Sheraton Metechi Palace Hotel, Chateau Mukhrani, and Georgian Events.

During the reception the guests were treated to a inspirational short video which highlighted the various forms of support the talented artists have received from FGB. Additionally, On behalf of Friends of the Georgian Ballet, together with Mrs. Nina Ananiashvili, recognized and awarded nine promising pupils of the Choreographic School with a scholarship for the 2012-2013 year: The scholarships were in honor of patrons of the Georgian State Ballet. The recipients were: Anastasia Kajaia, honoring Mayumi Iino, Sophio Kardava, in honor of Mariella C. Tefft, Svetlana Miminoshvili, in honor and memory of Lia Goglashvili, Nikoloz Sisiauri, in honor of Andreas Heidingsfelder, Sheraton Metechi Palace Hotel, Nikoloz Chikhoria, in the name of Izumi Takahashi of Japan and Nikoloz Pirckhelani, honoring Mayumi Iino also of Japan. The final three scholarships were awarded to Giorgia Badurashvili in honor of Virginia Mingues of the U.S.A., Nikoloz Papashvili in the name of Phillipe Limet Dewez, an avid patron of the Georgian State Ballet, and the final scholarship was presented to Vasil Tsitsilashvili in honor and gratitude of Japanese Ambassador to Georgian Masayoshi Kamohara and Mrs. Junko Kamohara.

The Friends of the Georgian Ballet is an association created by Mariella Tefft in 2006 and brilliantly directed by her until the end of May 2009 when the chair was passed on to the equally dedicated and talented Elvira Pietraroia Sandalli who directed the organization until July 2011. Since then Michele Dunn and Sarah Williamson Chirakadze have been jointly carrying on the tradition of increasing community awareness and support of the ballet as Co-Chairwomen of Friends of the Georgian Ballet. FGB continues to encourage and support young Georgian artists in the pursuit of their dreams while assisting Ms. Ananiashvili in preserving one of the true gems of culture in Georgia.

The FGB were busy this year past year. In a quick re-cap of 2011-2012 activities and support through which the Friends of the Georgian Ballet have played an integral role in the development of young artists, for the fourth year, we sponsored several young artists of the Georgia Ballet to attend the well-known summer program "Bournonville in Biarritz". The students represented Georgia and the Ballet Company at the highest level; this Spring, the FGB helped to send two students from V.Chabukiani State Choreographic School (Nutsa Chekurishvili and Mamuka Kikalishvili) to the Helsinki International Ballet Competition, and later to Riga, where they took part in the Spring Ballet Festival and received the Grand Prix; Friends of the Georgian Ballet also proudly hosted the book launch for Nina Ananiashvili: 30 Years on Stage and arranged a tour to Telavi, including lunch hosted by Ms. Ananiashvili in the lovely vineyard Chateau Mere followed by the opening night performance in the newly renovated Telavi Opera House. In tradition, Friends of the Georgian Ballet awarded several one-year scholarships to the V. Chabukiani Choreographic School, seven talented children received them for the 2011-2012 school year.