Vakhtang Chabukiani - Back To Tbilisi

Back To Tbilisi

In 1941 Chabukiani returned to Georgia and served as the chief dancer and choreographer at the Tbilisi Theatre of Opera and Ballet until 1973 when he headed the Tbilisi Choreographic School. He played a major role in developing ballet in Georgia and in the training of a new generation of dancers. Among Chabukiani's pupil-students were such a great ballet dancers as : Nino(Nina) Ananiashvili, Irma Nioradze, Nikolay Tsiskaridze and Igor Zelenski, also David Makhateli, Elene Glurdjidze, Lali Kandelaki and etc. "My principles remain unchanged" - wrote V.Chabukiani - "Georgian Classic Ballet must be established on the national basis, folklore elements must be organically confluent with the classic ones, but the proportions must be carefully distributed and strictly defined...".

In his film-documentary The Wizard of Dance - Vakhtang Chabukiani, the famous Georgian and Soviet Honored Artist Kote Makharadze, recolls about the Tbilisi premiere of the ballet The Heart of the Mountains : "Georgian folk dance of the warriors "Khorumi" from the third act, enriched by unexpected passages, chords and cascades of ballet steps, had been ending with a fiery dance "Mtiuluri (Mountain Dance)" performing by Chabukiani in a duet with the outstanding folk dancer, founder of National Ballet, Iliko Sukhishvili. And when the two great masters, having different plastics, crossed their arms on the stage of art, used to become the real firework of dance ... Just that dance became the first stone of building in excitable Georgian National Ballet .."

Chabukiani also worked on several films and staged ballets throughout the world : Glory of the Kirov 1940, Stars of the Russian Ballet 1953, Masters of the Georgian Ballet 1955 and The Moor of Venice - Othello 1960.

In 1958 in Moscow, on the occasion of Georgian Art Decade, he performed triumphal premiere of his The Moor of Venice - Othello, composed by Aleksandr Machavariani, where the leading roles were performed by the stars of Georgian Ballet Vahgtang Chabukiani, Vera Tsignadze and Zurab Kikaleishvili. The famous Simon (Soliko) Virsaladze made stage design. He awarded with Lenin Prize( the second in ballet after Galina Ulanova 1957). Maya Plisetskaya wrote: "The Moor personalized by Vakhtang Chabukiani is incomparable. His Othello represents the simplicity, plainness, wisdom and child naivety. This is a glory of people who created this unforgettable masterpiece". The Kirov premiere of Othello was noted by the press as truly "Chaliapin's performance". Howard Thompson, in a New York Times review of a 1960 film version of Mr. Chabukiani's Othello, described it as "Shakespeare with electricity". In 1961 Chabukiani choreographed Maurice Ravel's Boléro, in 1967 new ballet Sunrise/განთიადი on F.Glonti's music, in 1980 one-act ballet Apasionata on music of Beethoven

Throughout his career, Chabukiani received numerous awards and titles, including Honored Artist of the Russian SFSR (1939), Honored Artist of the Georgian SSR (1943), People's Artist of the USSR (1950), USSR State Prize (1941, 1948, 1951) and Lenin Prize (1958).

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