Vakhtang Chabukiani - Life and Early Career

Life and Early Career

Born in Tbilisi to a Georgian father and a Latvian mother, he graduated from the local an Iitalian dancer Maria Perini Ballet Studio in 1924. Perini grew up lots of well-known artists from elder and middle generation Among them: founders of the Georgian National Ballet theater Iliko Sukhishvili and Nino Ramishvili, Tamar Chabukiani, V.Vronski, L.Gvaramadze, M.Baueri, I. and D. Aleksidze, S.Sergeev, I.Arbatov, S. Virsaladze, L.Chikviladze, L. and Jh. Semionov, M.Kazinets, S.Gorski, I.Metreveli, A.Tsereteli, K.Nadareishvili etc.. Chabukiani continuous his studies at the Leningrad Choreographic School between 1926 and 1929. He debuted at the Kirov State Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet in Leningrad in 1929, and toured with the first Soviet ballets in Italy and the United States in the 1930s. Vaghtang quickly established himself as a skillful artist, remaining a leading soloist with the Kirov Theatre. In 1920, the dancer and choreographer Mikhail Mordkin took over as director of group and continued focusing on the classical Russian repertitore staging such works as Swan Lake. It was until Vakhtang Chabukiani came along, however in the 1930s that classical ballet become truly Georgian in character. Heroism and romanticism were characteristics of Chabukiani's style both as dancer and choreographer. This said, he also regularly challenged the refined delicacy of ballet and gave male dancers an active leading role in the work. Ultimately, he combined classic ballet with Georgian folk-dance traditions to create a form of dance that is uniquely Georgian. On 16 May 1930 Chabukiani performed Siegfried party in Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake. Galina Ulanova - one of the legendary performer of Odette wrote :"Such a partner as Konstantin Sergeyev provides my dancing interpretation with more lyricism, while, on the other hand - Chabukiani adds more temperament". Thanks to his performance of Ludwig Minkus's Don Quixote on 16 November 1930 gave him popularity and love not only in Leningrad, but also around the whole USSR. When one of the greatest Russian tenor Leonid Sobinov first saw him, he exclaimed : "This is a miracle of nature" . "Chabukiani was born with dance in his blood and probably returned some of his back to the dance... His courageous appearance, explosive temperament, power and frankly virtuosic dancing, symbolizing the heroic origin, was expected by the Soviet ballet. The dancer did not fade into the background of partners and as if caused it on all-comers competition, reveled in freedom, soaring in flights-jumps, rising in mad, seeming infinite rotations..." - claimed the Soviet press. In her book Soviet Ballet 1945 the famous English writer and journalist Iris Morley wrote: "... Trying to describe this unusual and magnificent dancer, experienced the same difficulty, as when trying to describe a tornado. He takes possession of the whole scene, betrayed wonderful fury, sometimes dying down so that stunned the audience can see the body, as if was hewn by Rodin, you see the eagle which fell on the rocks of the Caucasus ... He is both a great classical dancer, the heir to all the traditions of Leningrad, and the embodiment of the rich folklore of his native Georgia ...". Before his American tour, Chabukiani and his partner Tatyana Vecheslova gave concerts in Latvia and Estonia, where they performed duos from Flames of Paris, Le corsaire and Don Quixote. In 1938 Kirov State Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet performed his ballet The Heart of the Mountains, on music of Andria Balanchivadze (brother of Balanchine). Before the war in 1939 Chabukiani composed ballet Laurencia on the play by Lope de Vega - Fuente Ovejuna and music of Alexander Krein - a performance which attempted to combine the principles choreodramy and virtuosic classical dance. When the reporter asked Maya Plisetskaya, what is the beginning of Soviet ballet, she answered : "the ballets of Chabukiani ..."

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