Nina Ananiashvili, great dancer
Nina Ananiashvili is a ballerina and artistic director of the State Ballet of Georgia. Nina was awarded: People’s Artist of Georgia (1989), People’s Artist of Russia (17 March 1995), Order of Merit for the Fatherland, 4th class (22 March 2001), Russian Independent National Award Triumph – 1991 (the dancer was honored for the first time), Ballet Magazine Award Soul of the Dance (category Queen of the Dance), 2003.
She was born on March 28, 1963 in Tbilisi, Georgian SSR, Soviet Union. Nina was a sickly child and her parents urged her to take up skating to strengthen her health. By the time she was ten, she was a junior skating champion of Georgia.
In 1976 Ananiashvili entered the Moscow Choreographic Institute. In 1981, after graduation Nina entered the Bolshoi Ballet.
Before graduating from the school, Ananiashvili had already won the Gold Medal (Junior Division) at the prestigious Varna International Competition (1980), and the Grand Prix (Junior) at the Moscow International Ballet Competition (1981), with Andris Liepa as her partner.
She and Andris Liepa were the first Soviet dancers to appear as a guest performer with the New York City Ballet in 1988. Nina became a principal dancer for the American Ballet Theatre in 1993, and in 1999 she joined the Houston Ballet.
Ananiashvili became a truly international ballet superstar. She has appeared with the Royal Danish Ballet, the Kirov Ballet, the U.K.’s Royal Ballet, Covent Garden, Royal Swedish Ballet, Ballet de Monte Carlo, the National Ballets of Norway, Finland and Portugal, Birmingham Ballet, Boston Ballet, Munich Ballet, Houston Ballet and Tokyo Ballet among others.
In September 2004, she became an artistic director of the National Ballet Ensemble of Georgia.
In 1988 Nina married Grigol Vashadze, a Georgian politician and diplomat. They have daughter Helen, and son Nodar.
On November 23, 2006 Nina became the Godmother of Nikoloz Saakashvili, younger son of the Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili.