WiP: The Autonomous Path of Soviet Georgian Ballet

CRRC, ARISC and American Councils are pleased to announce the 7th talk of the Fall 2022 Tbilisi Works-in-Progress series!
This week’s WiP session will take place in hybrid format in-person at CRRC Georgia and virtually via this Zoom link: https://us06web.zoom.us/…/tZ0rd-mspz8vHt234Sal_QAzK-il…

“The Autonomous Path of Soviet Georgian Ballet”

By Tara Wheelwright, Brown University

Date: November 16, 2022, at 18:30 Tbilisi time

From tales of 19th century peasant revolt and mountain romances to legendary productions of Othello, Georgian ballet has nourished not only its own national identity but done so autonomously from Moscow’s control. Tracing the birth of Georgian national ballet to the Kirov-star Vakhtang Chabukiani’s 1936 homecoming production of “Mzechabuki”—with its fully Georgian ensemble of creators — offers a glimpse into what separated Georgian ballet from the productions of other Soviet republics. By exploring this unique artistic heritage, this talk will examine the works of Chabukiani and the aspects that created a uniquely Georgian national identity on stage, as well as contextual the underlying cultural and literary environment that led to the birth of Georgian ballet.

Tara Wheelwright is a Ph.D. candidate in Slavic Studies at Brown University. Her research concentrates on nineteenth century Russian literature and Russian/Soviet ballet history, particularly the intersection between literature and dance. She is currently completing her dissertation, tentatively titled “Creating a National Style: Soviet Drama-Ballet and the Elevation of the Word.” It focuses on the evolution of the 1930s Soviet ballet genre, drambalet, and its use of literature. The developments follow the initial use of Russian literature as the basis for ballets intended for a primed domestic audience using foreign canonical works for an international audience. She is currently conducting research on the ballets of Vakhtang Chabukiani in Tbilisi, Georgia thanks to the Global Mobility Research Fellowship from Brown.

In observation of the spirit of the Chatham House Rule, the talk will not be recorded and we courteously request that the other participants refrain from recording and/or distributing it as well. The opinions expressed in WiP talks are those of the speakers alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views of CRRC, ARISC or of American Councils.

WiP is an ongoing academic discussion series based in Tbilisi, Georgia, that normally takes place at the new office of CRRC at Liziko Kavtaradze St. 1. It is co-organized by the Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC), the American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS, and the American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC). All of the talks are free and open to the public.