Ballerina star dances for home audience

Copyright Keith Kenney, 2011

Copyright Keith Kenney, 2011

How many of the world’s best dancers have come from the Soviet Union? And of those, how many have come from Georgia? All I know is “a lot.”

Eight of us saw one of the very best ballerinas in a performance of Gizelle. Elena Glurdjidze was born and raised in Tbilisi. She has danced with the English National Ballet since 2002 and was promoted to Senior Principal in 2007. She dances all the leading classical roles with the company. In an interview, Glurdijidze said, “When I was ten I had to decide if I should move to the professional ballet school in Georgia, which I wanted to do as there were so many exciting things happening there at that time. Then, at the age of 12, my teacher said I should leave Georgia and go to St. Petersburg to study at the Vaganova Academy as this was the very best training I could have. It was very difficult to leave home and hard for my parents to keep in touch as the Academy had just one telephone that students could use. My mother would spend hours trying to call me – I was very homesick and cried many tears in my first months there.”

Copyright Keith Kenney, 2011


About keithrkenney
Keith Kenney is a professor of visual communication at the University of South Carolina. He is living in Tbilisi, Georgia, for a year. This blog is about several topics. "CSJMM-Journalism" is about the students, faculty and staff members of the Caucasus School of Journalism and Media Management in Tbilisi, Georgia. "USC-Journalism" is about the students, faculty and staff members of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications (SJMC) at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC. CSJMM and SJMC are recipients of a "Journalism School Partnership" program grant from the US Department of State. The purpose of this $750,000 grant is to improve CSJMM and ensure its sustainability. "Tbilisi, Georgia" is about Susanna Melo and my experiences in Tbilisi. "Columbia, SC" will be about our experiences in our home town--Columbia--when we return home. "Georgia" is about Susanna and my experiences when we travel in Georgia outside of Tbilisi. "United States" is about our experiences traveling in the US. "Films and Photography" is about two documentary films I'm working on in Georgia. One story follows how Adishi handles the rapid tourism that is being developed in Svaneti. The other story follows Tamaz Jalagania, who is a craftsman of swords and guns, an opera singer, and an extraordinary storyteller. "Scholarship" is about my current books, articles, reviews, and grants.

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