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162nd season of the Georgian State Ballet opened

Tuesday, October 15
The opening of the 162nd season of the Georgian State Ballet under the Artistic Director and prima-ballerina Nina Ananiashvili was on Wednesday, October 9 at the A. Griboedov State Russian Drama Theatre with the opening night performance premiere 1st Flash choreography by Jorma Elo; Sagalobel, choreography by Yuri Possokhov and Secret Garden choreography by Sasha Evftimova.

A pre-performance VIP Reception hosted by Friends of the Georgian Ballet, Michele Dunn, co-chairwoman, celebrated the new ballet season and marked the beginning of the eighth ballet season of Friends of the Georgian Ballet (FGB). Representatives from the Fund of Dutch National Ballet and the Dutch National ballet were among the guests who are visiting Georgia in the framework of cultural programs. Event sponsors were Chateau Mukhrani and Sheraton Metechi Palace.

During the reception the guests were treated to a Polonaise performed by current students of the ballet school as well as an inspirational short video which highlighted the various forms of support the talented artists have received from FGB. On behalf of Friends of the Georgian Ballet, together with Ananiashvili, eight promising pupils of the Vakhtang Chabukiani Choreographic School were recognized and awarded with a scholarship for the 2013-2014 year: The scholarships were in honor of patrons of the Georgian State Ballet.

Hans Horbach, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Ivan Jestrab, Ambassador of the Czech Republic, and Harua Kaitani, Embassy of Japan assisted with the award presentation ceremony. The recipients were: Nikoloz Sisauri received the Pieter and Mieke Langenberg scholarship; Nikoloz Chikhoria, the Ivan Jestrab and Eva Jestrabova scholarship; Nikoloz Pirtskhelani received the Virginia Minges scholarship; and Mikheil Djamaspishvili, the Mayumi Iino scholarship. In honor of the founder of the FBG, Vasil Tsitsilashvili received the Mariella Tefft scholarship. In honor and memory of Lia Goglashvili, Nina Ananiashvili presented a scholarship to Sofia Kardava. The last two scholarships presented were to Anastasia Kadjaia in the name of Izumi Takahashi and to Lili Lekiashvili in honor of Karen Wolfson, an avid patron of the Georgian State Ballet.

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. This season, Caroline Forestier and Maka Gotsiridze will join the FGB governing board which 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 past year. A quick re-cap of 2012-2013 activities and support through which the Friends of the Georgian Ballet have played an integral role in the development of young artists include for the fifth consecutive year, FGB sponsored 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; in April, the FGB helped to send two students from V.Chabukiani State Choreographic School 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 Vakhtang Chabukiani photo book in celebration of the 100th anniversary of his birth. In tradition, Friends of the Georgian Ballet awarded one-year scholarships to the V. Chabukiani Choreographic School, nine talented children received them for the 2012-2013 school year.