Today was the last performance of the State Ballet of Georgia, and I'm really going to be sad to see them go. I find their culture fascinating; they have an alphabet and language all to themselves, and they are incredibly family-oriented, as I already mentioned. We had a cookout-style dinner after their performance, and although I was shy at first, I finally summoned up enough courage to sit down with a group of them to eat dessert, and I'm really glad I did!
For my trouble, I learned some of their names, how to say "goodbye" in Georgian ("car-gat"), received compliments on my pronunciation of "Tbilisi", their capitol ("Tbee-lee-see"), which they also gave me a postcard of, on which Nina pointed out where her house is in it. She also gave me a hug, which was nice of her--as I said, they're very family-oriented; how many other companies do you think there are where you can sit down with a world-renowned ballerina and eat ice cream and play with a cute baby?
Nina's daughter Elena is the most adorable baby I've ever met in my life, and she's incredibly lucky to have more than 20 extra mothers and fathers. Sergei, the principal dancer, was playing with her last night, and he put a big foam makeup pad into his mouth and made growling sounds with it to try and get her to laugh. This was backstage, during the curtain call, and he was all decked out in sparkling sequins and rhinestones and dancer tights while he pretended to be a dog. Elena smiled, but I nearly died laughing.
Here are some photos of the company after the show today.
The dancers from Balanchine's Mozartiana. The little girls in front are not actually Georgian; the company requested we find them girls, so these kids are imported from the School of American Ballet in NYC.
A group shot of most of the company after Petipa's Don Quixote had finished. Nina is the woman in the lower left wearing the crazy red tutu.
A few of the dancers from Trey McIntyre's Second Before Ground posing. Apologies for the goofy exposure; I had to take this quickly because it was in the middle of an intermission, and we needed to clean up all the confetti that you can see scattered on the ground.