Chabukiani, Vakhtang

Chabukiani, Vakhtang Mikhailovich


Born Feb. 27 (Mar. 12), 1910, in Tbilisi. Soviet ballet dancer, choreographer, and ballet teacher. People’s Artist of the USSR (1950).

Chabukiani graduated from M. I. Perini’s studio in 1924 and that same year was accepted into the ballet troupe of the Tbilisi Theater of Opera and Ballet. From 1926 to 1929 he perfected his art at the A. Ia. Vaganova Leningrad Choreographic School. From 1929 to 1941 he was a soloist at the Leningrad Theater of Opera and Ballet, where in 1930 he appeared in the role of Basil in Minkus’ Don Quixote. Other roles followed, including Albrecht in Adam’s Giselle, Jerôme in Asaf’ev’s The Flames of Paris, and Frondoso in Krein’s Laurencia, which established him as one of the company’s leading soloists. Chabukiani also made his choreographic debut at the Leningrad Theater of Opera and Ballet, where he staged A. Balanchivadze’s Heart of the Hills (Heart of the Mountains; 1938) and Krein’s Laurencia (1939).

From 1941 to 1973, Chabukiani was director of the ballet troupe of the Z. P. Paliashvili Tbilisi Theater of Opera and Ballet, where he staged Kiladze’s Sinatle (1947; State Prize of the USSR, 1948), Toradze’s Gorda (1950; State Prize of the USSR, 1951) and For Peace (1953), Machavariani’s Othello (1957), and Tsintsadze’s The Demon (1961), among other works.

By synthesizing the traditions of classical ballet and traditional Georgian folk dancing, Chabukiani created a unique style of male stage dancing, which combined sculptural grandeur with passion and inner expressiveness. His rare natural gifts and virtuoso technique (leaps, turns) enabled him to perform the most complex roles with ease and lightness.

Chabukiani taught at the Tbilisi Choreographic School, of which he was director from 1950 to 1977. From 1965 to 1970 he was head of the choreographic division of the Sh. Rustaveli Theatrical Institute in Tbilisi. He made the films Master of the Georgian Ballet (1955) and Othello (1960), for which he also wrote the scenarios. He toured abroad, beginning in 1933, performing in the USA, Italy, and Latin-American countries.

Chabukiani was a deputy to the fifth convocation of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. A recipient of the State Prize of the USSR (1941) and the Lenin Prize (1958), he has been awarded three Orders of Lenin, three other orders, and various medals.


Khuchua, P. Balet “Otello.” Tbilisi, 1958.
Krasovskaia, V. Vakhtang Chabukiani, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1960.
Burt’ikashvili, A. C‘ekvis jadok’ari. Tbilisi, 1960.
Gugushvili, E. T‘eatraluri portretebi. Tbilisi, 1965.