There was a time when these dancers rehearsed in rundown studios with little light and performed to audiences of only themselves. This scrappy company could have easily fallen apart. Then Mikheil Saakashvili, president of the State Republic of Georgia, a small country south of Russia, asked Nina Ananiashvili to take the reigns as artistic director. Things are different for The State Ballet of Georgia now. That was 2004 and Ananiashvili was already a world-renowned ballet star. She was, and continues to be, a Prima ballerina for both American Ballet Theatre and Russia’s famed Bolshoi. Assertively she has donned the robe of administrator as precisely as she laces her pointe shoes. Her mission was to build a company that would re-ignite Georgia’s artistic pride and serve as an emblem for the revitalized nation. It has only been four short years and this company of a hundred dancers has already generated buzz all over the world. Since they arrived in the United States on this, their first international tour at Charleston, South Carolina’s 2007 Spoleto Festival, The State Ballet of Georgia has garnered critical acclaim everywhere they go. The Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University will have the honor of hosting the company’s introduction to Chicago, dancing “Don Quixote” (March 5, 6, 8 and 9) and a program of mixed repertory (March 7). This will be the only stop on the tour to see the former. Ananiashvili is famous for her interpretation of the classic work, if you want to know why just search YouTube for her name and marvel at her fuetes. She will perform the role on March 5 and 9. She will also be seen in the mixed repertory. This show will include a new dance by Yuri Possokhov entitled “Sagalobeli” set to traditional Georgian music, a perfect way for The State Ballet of Georgia to honor their heritage as they look to a bright future. (William Scott)
At the Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress, (312)902-1500. This production is now closed.