Friends of the Georgian Ballet: Scholarship Ceremony

On December 7, the little students of the V. Chabukiani Tbilisi Ballet Art School warmed the cold Saturday night with their performance at the Tbilisi Opera House. It happened within the scope of the Annual Scholarship Awarding Ceremony of the Friends of the Georgian Ballet. Traditionally, the event was attended by Prima Ballerina Nina Ananiashvili and her colleagues from the Friends of Georgian Ballet. This year, the non-profit organization presented 12 scholarships.

“Eight of the students received scholarships previously and continue in the program, and four first-time recipients are entering our scholarship program this school year,“ the FGB told us.

The Friends of the Georgian Ballet is a non-profit organization that was founded in 2006. It aims to support the initiatives of the State Ballet of Georgia under the artistic directorship of Ananiashvili and so facilitate the process of development of the Georgian ballet.

The membership fee of FGB serves to provide funding for scholarships for promising young ballet students at the V. Chabukiani Choreographic School, participation by specially selected members of the Ballet Company in prestigious ballet competitions and master classes held around the world.

Since 2007, the FGB and the Prima Ballerina have awarded annual scholarships to selected students of the Ballet School based on talent and/or social need, while also supporting the participation of students and company dancers in international competitions and masterclasses.

The 1,200 GEL FGB fee covers a full school year’s tuition for one student (600 GEL per semester), which is the only institution in Georgia that raises professional ballet artists. The curriculum includes all academic subjects, as well as classical dance, Georgian dance, historical, modern and character dances, and special courses in rhytmics, acting, and stretching techniques.

The organization also has individual scholarships which are entirely donated by Friends. “It is now a tradition that those in attendance present the scholarship to their particular students at the annual awarding ceremony,“ the FGB noted.

A graduate of Chabukiani Ballet Art School, Mari Lomjaria joined the current students for this year’s short performance this Saturday. Mari is a laureate of the Domenico Modugno International Ballet Competition (Lecce, Italy) and the Riga Spring International Ballet Competition (Riga, Latvia). It was the kind doing of the Ambassador of Japan to Georgia, H.E. Tadaharu Uehara and his spouse, Mrs. Masako Uehara, that supported Mari’s going to the competition, as they hosted a fundraiser at their Residence in March 2019. Proceeds from the charity event contributed to Mari’s scholarship, and accordingly, to her success.

“All I can say is that I am forever grateful to our Friends of Georgian Ballet, who make it possible for more children to go to the Ballet Art School. The only thing I wish was that more Georgians were involved in supporting the development and future of Georgian ballet – our members are mostly foreign,” Ananiashvili, who was named by the Daily Telegraph as one of the 12 greatest ballerinas of all time, and in 2002 – the Best Ballerina of the Year by the US Dance Magazine, told GEORGIA TODAY.

Ananiashvili added that she is very happy with her ballet students: “No matter where they go in life, they always keep the culture of our ballet school. Whichever path they choose, they always make me proud,” she said.

By Nini Dakhuundaridze

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