Vakhtang Chabukiani

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
I want to add: State Ballet of Georgia's former artistic director Vakhtang Chabukiani was one of the most influential male dancers in the last century.
Ananiashvili's ballet career began in her native Tbilisi, Georgia, studying with the former Kirov star Vakhtang Chabukiani. She transferred to the Bolshoi school in 1976, joined the company in 1981, and became a principal in 1985.
From Moscow's Bolshoi Ballet came Galina Ulanova, indisputably one of the great ballerinas of the 20th century; and Vakhtang Chabukiani, who helped transform male dancing.
David started at the ballet school in 1985 and was taught by the famous Georgian danseur noble, Vakhtang Chabukiani. When the Soviet Union collapsed, civil war broke out in Georgia and daily living grew challenging with food shortages and no heating, electricity, or water.
Then there was the dazzling figure of Vakhtang Chabukiani, a Georgian folk hero, a Soviet ballet star of the 1920s and '30s.
The Joffrey's fall program, "A Nureyev Tribute," featured productions of both these works as well as Laurencia Pas d'Action, a self-contained series of divertissements lifted from the wedding scene in Vakhtang Chabukiani's full-length ballet, which Nureyev first performed with the Kirov Ballet.
Notably, the virtuoso dancing for Solor, which in 1900 was more or less a mime role and which was added by the great Vakhtang Chabukiani in 1941, has been retained.
All of the male dancing was later rechoreographed, gloriously as it happened, by Vakhtang Chabukiani for Vladimir Ponomarev's 1941 Kirov production, with the Golden Idol dance then added by Nikolai Zubkovsky.
Some twenty years later, the brief visit of Vakhtang Chabukiani to the U.S.
The men's dances were enhanced by Soviet superstar Vakhtang Chabukiani and choreographer Alexander Chekrygin.
Nina Ananiashvili came home to dance in a weeklong celebration honoring the memory of Georgia's great male dancer, Vakhtang Chabukiani. Ananiashvili arrived straight from American Ballet Theatre's New York City spring season.
Variation for Gamzatti from La Bayadere, Act II, by Vakhtang Chabukiani. The now sort-of-standard variation of Lise from the "traditional" Russian version of La Fille Mal Garde is an especially multisided piece of the Petipa puzzle.