Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

June 25, 2010

Nina Ananiashvili & the State Ballet of Georgia

Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, Becket, MA
June 23, 2010
by Amy Meek

The Jacob's Pillow 2010 Festival kicked off Wednesday night with The State Ballet of Georgia's eclectic program of neoclassical and contemporary ballet works led by Ballerina and Artistic Director Nina Ananiashvili. This program showcased ballets by world-renowned choreographers and demonstrated the pride in the rich dance heritage of Georgia combined with a desire to expand the company's horizons.

The first half of the program focused on the choreography of Sir Frederick Ashton, a master choreographer whose works are not often showcased by modern day companies. The first Pas de Deux from Thais was danced by Ms. Ananiashvili, whose effortless fluidity and expressiveness showed why she is one of the greatest ballerinas of her time. All eyes were drawn to her whenever she was onstage, which was unfortunately only for two numbers. The other works, however, were also well danced. The Sylvia Pas de Deux was full of clean lines and balance; La Chatte was a charming ballet with lightness and characterization; and The Voices of Spring Pas de Deux was exquisitely danced with sharpness and expansiveness using lots of waltzing movements and turns.

The piece Duo Concertant, choreographed by George Balanchine, was an interplay between the music and the dance. The musicians and the dancers, who were on stage together, showed the complexity of Stravinsky's music with its speed and precision. The dancers created long lines with their arms and legs and displayed amazing control along with the quickness the music demanded.

The last two dances, Bizet Variations Pas de Six and Falling Angels, were more contemporary and showed the diversity of the company's style. Falling Angels showed alternating group unison movement with unique individual movements to create an ever changing picture on stage.

It was a pleasure to watch the amazing talent of Nina Ananiashvili and The State Ballet of Georgia. Western Massachusetts is very lucky to have Jacob's Pillow to bring such world class dance talent to the area. The rest of the season is sure to be just as exciting!