Georgian State Dance Company Comes to Center for the Arts

Posted: October 30, 2007 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

A professional folk troupe of classically trained ballet dancers, the Georgian State Dance Company astounds and captivates audiences with their daring interpretations of traditional Georgian folk dances that almost always provoke standing ovations.

The company will perform at Mason’s Center for the Arts on Saturday, Nov. 17, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, Nov. 18, at 4 p.m. A pre-performance discussion, free to ticket holders, will begin 45 minutes prior to each performance on the Center’s Grand Tier III.

Georgian State Dance Company
The Georgian State Dance Company

The Georgian State Dance Company, founded in 1945 when the Georgian Republic was still part of the former U.S.S.R., provides a unique glimpse into Georgian culture through dances that represent rituals and ceremonies, work and play.

The 80-member dance troupe is accompanied by musicians on accordion and percussion playing traditional Georgian folk music. In Georgian dance, there is a striking contrast between the movements performed by men and women.

The male dancers boast a highly original dance technique; unlike any other dancers in the world, the men dance on their toes without the reinforcement of block shoes. The men even engage in sword fighting in several dances, including “Khevsurili,” a fierce battle between the male dancers that is halted by a female dancer who throws her headdress between the fighters to separate them.

The female dancers’ movements are less explosive, but equally as impressive. Dressed in long white gowns with elaborate headdresses, they move gracefully on the balls of their feet, appearing to float across the stage. In Georgian dance, men treat women as spectacular objects of reverence and devotion. While the men encircle the women displaying their athleticism, they never touch, and the women never openly try to attract their partners.

Classically trained dancers Iliko Sukhishvili and Nino Ramishvili founded the Georgian State Dance Company, wanting to show the rest of the then-Soviet Union and the world the unique culture and history of the Republic of Georgia. Now led by chief choreographer and artistic director Iilia Sukhishvili Jr. and general director Nino Sukhishvili, the company performs all over the world and has appeared in numerous venues, including Royal Albert Hall, the Metropolitan Opera and Madison Square Garden. The company also runs a dance school where past company dancers provide extensive training in classical and folk dance to young boys and girls.

Tickets are $46, $38 and $23; tickets for children 12 and under are half price. Charge by phone at 888-945-2468 or visit

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