From: LAS VEGAS NEW TIMES, December 8,1993

Review by Hal de Becker


Video Artists International has just released a quartet of videocassettes, Nina Ananiashvili & International Stars, filmed on tour in Japan in 1991 and 1993.

Nina seems destined to become ballet’s newest luminary and may reverse the 30-year trend that has spotlighted male stars since Nureyev and Barishnikov defected to the West.

In addition to heading her own troupe of internationally acclaimed artists as seen on these videos, she is a leading ballerina with both the American Ballet Theatre and Russia’s Bolshoi Ballet. This month she graces the cover of the prestigious «Dance Magazine».

One of the qualities that endears Nina to colleagues and audiences alike is her dedication to expanding her artistry. Dancing not only the Petipa classics, but also Bournonville, Fokine, Balanchine and MacMillan, she constantly demands more from herself.

This is apparent on VAI’s videos; there is a subtle but discernible growth between her 1991 and 1993 performances. In the later showings she displays more warmth, tasteful style and respect for her own technical virtuosity.

But whether 1991 or 1993 her dancing is glorious: lofty jetes that travel far forward instead of merely flicking into a split; fouettes executed at breathtaking speeds; sustained balances that don’t wobble, and classically pure lines.

She is exquisitely feminine with large, darkly soulful eyes, natural grace, and long unmuscled legs and arms. She’s clearly the leader of her own troupe, but a generous and considerate one judging from the choice roles distributed among her dancers.

And what a troupe it is with leading dancers of the Kirov, Bolshoi, Paris Opera, Deutshe Opera, Royal Danish and New York City ballets.

Among the better known are stars like Tatyana Terekhova, in her own way as dazzling as Nina; the latter’s elegant partner Aleksel Fadeyechev; Igor Zelensky and Farukh Rusimatov with their brilliant leaps and turns; aristocratic Elizabeth Platel and the American, Darci Kistler.

And there are youthful «discoveries» like Yuri Posokhov, who floats through the air; delicate Inna Dorofeeva and her husband, an astounding technical acrobat, Vadim Pisarev; Rose Gad, Alexander Kolpin and Nicholas Le Riche, to mention only a few.

While the repertoire offers excerpts from «Swan Lake», «Sleeping Beauty» and other familiar ballets, it also includes delightful works that are less well known to Western audiences such as the slave duet from «Le Corsaire», «Satanella», and a fabulous pas de deux from «The Talisman».

The orchestra, under the superb direction of Aleksandr Sotnikov, provides exemplary accompaniment, never Indulging in the radical tempo changes the Bolshoi and Kirov orchestras are infamous for. Filming is perfect with the dancers’ images comfortably filling the screen and sensitive close-ups accenting the radiant curtain calls.

Much of the credit for the high artistic standards of the dancing and the imaginative programming belongs to Frank Anderson, who was director of the Royal Danish Ballet... and... artistic director of Nina’s company.

While these four videos are unrivaled as sheer ballet entertainment, they are also an important document attesting to the artistry of this young ballerina on the brink of superstardom.