THEIR DANCE DEFIES THE LAWS OF GRAVITY
“Try to jump up grouped in the air and then fall on the floor right on kneecaps and spring to your feet again as to repeat everything again and again. Perform the rotation on your toes being booted in soft boots with such velocity that no one could see your face. And immediately twist on your knees on the edge of the scene. Enchant lovely ladies, peacefully and archly overseeing your dare dance, the aim of which – is to get on their good side”.
The Washington Post (USA)
“Sukhishvili” has been toured all over the world striking the inhabitants of the globe with their dances since the foundation.
More than 90 million of spectators have already seen their live performances – it is almost a century success.
Every year the team performs about 300 acts. Millions of people in more than 100 countries are literally snapping up tickets, where the name of Sukhishvili is easily readable albeit in different languages… and whose performances brings outstanding and lively emotions to the audience.
This is how international mass media say and write about “Sukhishvili”:
“It’s not even a dance – it’s a flight”, “The eighth Wonder of the World”, “The best show on Broadway”, “The hurricane on the stage”, “Magic from Georgia”, “Unique phenomenon”, “Dangerous Dances of Georgian Men”, “Poetry in motion”, “Precious folk stone in classic gem cutting”…
The “Sukhishvili” Georgian National Ballet was founded by Iliko Sukhishvili and Nino Ramishvili in 1945 who became partners not only on the stage, but in life too.
“The idea to create the ensemble conceived back in 1935 when Iliko Sukhishvili along with the group of Georgian dancers was seconded to London to the world festival of folk dance. The success of Georgian dancers at this festival and the huge variety of dances from different countries of the world has so fascinated us that we decided to create the ensemble of Georgian folk dances.
… We have aimed not only to move on the stage popular folk dances, but also to restore forgotten, as well as to create new dances on a folk basis.
… We were fully aware that it is forbidden to move dances on the boards in pristine condition according to the law of the stage. Director needs the ability to find harmony between the folklore material and the directorial treatment, or, in other words, the dances must be theatrical to be shown on stage” – wrote Nino Ramishvili.
A famous ballet-master Iliko Sukhishvili was born on 1907 in Tbilisi. He started dancing since he was a child. In 1923-1926 the young man studied dancing at a studio, soon he became the assistant of a choreographer and teacher. In 1927 he has been invited to the Opera and Ballet Theater of the city of Tbilisi as a dancer for the first time. And next year he became a soloist. In 1935 Iliko got first place and was awarded with the Gold Medal of the Queen of England at the World Festival of folk dance. Along with success, the desire to develop folk dance art of Georgian came to him. Iliko started to reflect how to create national troupe.
Iliko’s wife and his muse, Nino Ramishvili was born on 1910 in Tbilisi. She also started to dance since she was a child, like her husband did. Nino became acquainted with Iliko in Opera and Ballet Theatre when she came here as a dancer. In 1927 she landed a leading role in the performance “Swan Lake”, than she danced in “Don Quixote” and other classical performances. The future spouses worked a lot together and after a while they got married. After the foundation of their own troupe, Nino became a choreographer and ballet soloist. The spouse brought up the team and promoted it throughout the world, and thanks to their painstaking work, the Sukhishvili name became a symbol of virtuosity, mastery and great talent.
There is one remarkable event that happened to Sukhishvili in the latest 20th years of the past century in Saint Petersburg. At that time, a dancer and choreographer George Balanchine was offering Iliko to go with him to London at first and then to the USA. But Iliko Sukhishvili crisply said that he was intended to realize his dream in Georgia only. Many years later, Sukhishvili arrived to New-York with his ensemble on tour in 1959. There he met Balanchine, who at that time was already considered a founder of American ballet. George reminded him about his longtime invitation and said: “You see, Iliko, I didn’t lose too. I founded the New York ballet. So, we both created things that we used to dream about”.
At that time “Sukhishvili” ensemble arrived to New-York to perform at Madison Square Garden 15 times in a row.
Nino and Iliko created not just a team and new choreography, but unique music for their dances, because each of them – it’s an amazing story embodied on the stage.
“Sukhishvili” ensemble has achieved innovative reform in Georgian dance, having departed from the principles of modern-ballet.
Georgian dances are divided into solo, partner and group. Every dancer must knuckle under to the demands of general message and its expression in the dance. At the same time, the performers hold down their individuality as part of the dances implies competition between them in strength, dexterity, height of jumps and risky steps.
Role of female dancers is both charm and elegance comparable with gracefulness of classical ballet, in which every emotion and feeling are reflected by special motion. They are gentle and calm; they do little steps giving the impression of gliding, bangling.
I generation (1945-1985) – Nino Ramishvili and Iliko Sukhishvili (the founders)
II generation (1985-2000) – Tengiz Sukhishvili and Inga Tevzadze- Sukhishvili (children)
III generation (since 2000) – Nino and Iliko Sukhishvili (grandchildren)
Thanks to the dynasty of Sukhishvili, the art of Georgian national dance is still at the peak of popularity.
“Perfectly straight lines, synchronicity in a dance, exciting tricks, leaps and movements – these are main priorities of Sukhishvili – unchanged till the present day”.
Iliko Sukhishvili Jr.
GUINNESS BOOK OF WORLD RECORDS AND COLLECTION OF YVES SAINT-LAURENT
The National ballet of Georgia became the only dance ensemble that set a world record (is entered to the Guinness Book of Records) on the famous “La Scala” stage in Milan. The concert causes a furor: the curtain of the theater was drawn 14 times, so the record of Enrico Caruso was broken, where the curtain was drawn 11 times.
Before the first ballet concert in Paris, the queue to the concert hall stretched out to three quarters. Iliko Sukhishvili admitted than that he had never seen anything like that. Many famous people attended the performance: choreographer Serge Lifar, movie stars Simone Signoret, Yves Montand, Gerard Philip, Jean Marais, writer Louis Aragon. “Sukhishvili” hold 35 top-billed concerts in a row at the same hall in Paris.
By the way, right after the tour in France, high boots and bulky fur hats gained popularity. And in the collection of Yves Saint Laurent appeared large stripped belts with a bow, which are still popular.
Recently, at fashion week in Tbilisi, vintage costumes created by Nino Ramishvili along with the houses of Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Giorgio Armani, Christian Dior in the 1950s and 1960s, the outfits she was wearing when she was coming on the stage. Dresses of legendary Nino for fashion week were given by her granddaughter Nino Sukhishvili, who is currently the art director of the ensemble.
DANGEROUS DANCES OF GEORGIAN MEN
The sparks from the sabers and daggers of flying Sukhishvili men over the scene. Everything is for real here: burning passion, incredible speed, exactness and power.
Georgian dancers are striking through their choreography, whirligig rotations in the air and under foot, dizzying leaps filling the stage with dynamic energy. Men are dancing with amazing precision, and women are moving with the smooth grace of angels. Union of bravado and gracefulness makes the programme absolutely unforgettable and different from others.
The visiting card of the ensemble – “The dance on the toes”. This is a famous choreographic movement, which requires the highest skills of a dancer. The movement starts to be learned since 5 and skills are sharpening throughout the life. By the way, such move contains the element of seduction: it was believed for a long time that it is inadmissible to beg on knees before a beautiful woman, but on toes – special chic and delight.
They are dancing on tip-toes and without support of “blocky” shoes. An incredible demonstration of courageous energy — impressive leaps and turns, incredible backs – performance with speed and accuracy which can hardly be imagined. They are the only men in the world dancing on tip-toes.
GOLD MEDAL AND THE QUEEN OF GREAT BRITAIN
Energetic and emotional catharsis arising during the ballet performance has competed even with such a significant event as the world football championship! During its holding in the UK, the hall was filled with fans, completely! And the Queen of Great Britain, delighted with the performance, personally handled the gold medal to Iliko Sukhishvili.
In the USA, the team’s performance was recognized as the best show on Broadway two times!
John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Fidel Castro, Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Pele, Frank Sinatra, Jean Gabin, Brigitte Bardot, Walt Disney, Charlie Chaplin, and now Keira Knightley, Sting and many others were the admirers of the “Sukhishvili” Ballet.
Currently, collection of dresses of the Georgian National Ballet comprises a huge number of exemplars for more than 150 dance numbers and all of them are made of exclusive natural fabrics, as well as embroidery, painting, application, metal, stones are also used. Sometimes, one dress can be prepared in a week, and sometimes more than a month, depending on difficulties.
There is a part of vintage costumes which were created in 60th they are carefully treated and used till present time. The prop includes swords and daggers, which are also used during dancing.
Initially, the dresses were created by famous artist Simon (Soliko) Virsaladze (1908-1989). Now, the costume designer is the art director of the team Nino Sukhishvili (III generation).
MUSIC AND ORCHESTRA
The ballet performs on tour accompanied by own orchestra which has collected exclusive instruments, and musicians possesses special art of performance which is not taught at any music school, it passed down from one generation to the next.
In Tbilisi, you can visit existing museum in which ancient costumes, dresses and accessorizes, personal collections of legendary Nino and Iliko are represented. Collection of keys from different cities of the world and many other relics from the almost century-long history of the Ensemble.
MOVIES AND BOOKS ABOUT SUKHISHVILI
The “Sukhishvili” ensemble played in feature films: “Keto and Kote”, “Eliso”, “Meeting in the mountains”, “5 days in August.”
Documental films about “Sukhishvili”: “The World applauds”, “With triumph over the world”, “Triumph in La Scala”, “By paths and roads”, “Dolly”, “Hurricane on the stage”, “Keys”.
Books about Sukhishvili:
“With triumph over the world”, “Triumph continues”, “Georgian National Ballet “Sukhishvili ”.
Georgian National Ballet was represented by many famous impresarios and companies from all over the world, its performances were held in Albert Hall, the Colosseum, the Metropolitan opera, Madison Square Garden and dozens of other famous places.
Kennedy Center (Washington, D.C.)
Wolf Trap Center (Washington, D.C.)
Hollywood Bowl (Hollywood)
Metropolitan Opera (New York)
Madison Square Garden (New York)
Mark Hellinger Theatre (New York)
City Center (New York)
Teatro la Scala (Milan)
Teatro la Fenice (Venice)
Teatro Carlo Felice (Genoa)
Teatro San Carlo (Napoli)
Royal Albert Hall (London)
Festival Hall (London)
Dominion Theatre (London)
Palladium Theatre (London)
Concert Hall Player (Paris)
Palais Des Congress (Paris)
Teatro Zarzuela (Madrid)
Copenhagen Royal Theatre
Vienna Concert Hall
As well as at the most prestigious scenes of Australia, China, Korea, Poland, Ukraine, Finland, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Greece, Israel, Singapore and many other countries.