History of The Georgian National Ballet

The Georgian National Ballet was founded by Iliko Sukhishvili and Nino Ramishvili in 1945 and was initially named as The Georgian State Dance Company. It was the first professional state dance company in Georgia. After them many other companies were founded on their example.

It is wholly due to them that Georgian national dancing and music has developed and become well known all over the world. Nino Ramishvili and Iliko Sukhishvili became inseparable partners both on stage and in life. Filled with determination, they made their dream a reality. Their life together was an adventure of creativity, which was fully realized through new generations of dancers.

Iliko, 1929.

The two hours program of The Georgian National Ballet is one continuous story of the adventure of the Georgian spirit, the change, which took place in its existence. The program presented by Sukhishvili and Ramishvili went through some important changes. The structure, architectonics, separate steps of each dance were improved and changed. The vector of all these changes was and is directed towards the inner wholeness. Every day, the creative search continues and we see how the evolution of dances progresses from illustrative to universal, from concreteness to general. The dances staged by The Georgian National Ballet for over the years have become a tradition. Children's ensembles, dancing circles, amateur groups work by the methods of Sukhishvili company.

The adventure of the Georgian Spirit, related by Iliko Sukhishvili and Nino Ramishvili will still fill the hearts of spectators with inexplicable emotions and bring to the world the story of a tiny people of great tragic artistry, humor and temperament.

The Georgian National Ballet has been represented by world's many well-known impresarios and companies. The Georgian National Ballet has appeared at the Albert Hall, The Coliseum, The Metropolitan Opera, Madison Square, and dozens of famous venues. In 1967, La Scala welcomed them - it is the first and the only time a folklore group was given a chance to perform there. The curtain was lifted 14 times, a record. (See the List of Impresarios and Geography of Performances)

The costumes are designed by Simon (Soliko) Virsaladze (1908-1989).

Iliko Sukhishvili

A talented ballet master and dancer Iliko Sukhishvili (1907-1985) danced since childhood. From the very beginning of his career Iliko's dancing was famous.

A temperament for dancing burned from within him. In 1923-26 he studied at dance studio and soon became the assistant and dance teacher. In 1927 he began to dance in Tbilisi State Opera and Ballet house as a staff member. In 1928, he won the First Prize - Gold Medal and became leading soloist.

In 1935 Iliko got first place in the World Folk Dance Festival in London and was awarded the gold medal, which was presented by Queen Mary.

In 1935-37 Iliko studied the show-business management at the State Institute of Theatre and Art in Moscow. He was full of ideas, the most important of which was the desire to set up the Georgian State Dance Company. He wanted to show the rest of the world his different view of the fantastic ballet created on the border of the Georgian traditional folk art and modernism.

Nino Ramishvili

Nino Ramishvili (1910-2000) began to dance from the age of 10. Studied at Maria Perini's private Ballet Studio in Tbilisi, was trained as a classical dancer and joined the Tbilisi State Opera and Ballet Theatre.

From 1927 performed as a soloist in "Swan Lake", "Don Quixote" and many other classics. During this time she met her future husband Iliko Sukhishvili. Until 1937 Nino and Iliko worked at the Opera Theatre. They also gave many popular dance concerts.

Their duet was already very well known. In 1945 her dream became true when together with her husband she founded The Georgian Dance Company where she was soloist and dance teacher at the same time. She became chief choreographer and matriarch of The Georgian National ballet.