Mariam Aleksidze

Mariam Aleksidze is a dancer, teacher-repetiteur, first female professional choreographer in Georgia, chairperson of Giorgi Aleksidze Foundation for the Development of Contemporary Choreography and artistic director of Giorgi Aleksidze Tbilisi Contemporary Ballet.

Mariam Aleksidze was born in 1978, in the family of great Georgian choreographer and teacher Giorgi Aleksidze and principal ballet dancer and teacher-repetiteur Marina Aleksidze. She studied in Tbilisi Vakhtang Chabukiani Choreographic School; in 1994, Prima Ballerina Natalia Makarova awarded Mariam with her scholarship and she continued her studies at the Swiss Ballet-Berufschule (SBBS) in Zurich, where, in addition to classical ballet, she mastered the technique of contemporary dance, modern and jazz ballet, George Balanchine’s technique and repertoire, and flamenco.

In 1997, she received an engagement at the Zurich Opera and Ballet Theatre (Opernhaus Zürich) under the supervision of choreographer Heinz Spoerli. In 1999-2011, Mariam Aleksidze was a soloist at Tbilisi Zakaria Paliashvili State Opera and Ballet Theatre. She performed solo and lead roles in classical, neoclassical and contemporary ballets. Together with a ballet company, she participated in Spoleto, Jacob’s Pillow, and Edinburgh international festivals, toured in Spain, Israel, Scotland, Japan, the United States, England, Ukraine and Armenia.

In 1986, film director Sergo Parajanov cast young dancer Mariam in his film Ashik-Kerib. Giorgi Aleksidze was the film choreographer. Mariam participated in many ballets staged by Giorgi Aleksidze, including Vakhtang Kakhidze’s Amazons, Sulkhan Nasidze’s Pirosmani, Alexander Knaifel’s Medea, From Columbus to Broadway whose premiere took place in Rome, at the Thermae of Caracalla, Scheherezade with participation of prima ballerina Maya Plisetskaya, a series of contemporary ballet evenings by Giorgi Aleksidze: Symphonic Dances, Drama Ballets, Neoclassical Ballets; together with the dancers of the Mariinsky Theatre, she participated in Sofia Gubaidulina’s oratorio Era of Aquarius staged by Giorgi Aleksidze, Mstislav Rostropovich as its musical director, and Muraz Murvanidze as its stage designer. Singer Galina Vishnevskaya and prima ballerina Irma Nioradze participated in the oratorio.

In 2008, Mariam was incited to the Swiss International Coaching Project for Choreographers (SIWIC), Artistic Director – Jochen Heckmann, contemporary dance teacher – Denise Lampart.

 In 2009, one year after Giorgi Aleksidze passed away, Mariam presented on the small stage of Rustaveli Theatre her first full-length contemporary ballet Dovin-Doven-Dovli… based on Galaktion Tabidze’s poetry.

The work on restoring and reviving Giorgi Aleksidze’s choreography began in 2010. In 2011, Mariam completed the Higher Professional Programme of Coaching Tutor-Choreographers at Vano Sarajishvili Tbilisi State Conservatoire, specialising as a choreographer and repetiteur, and established Giorgi Aleksidze Foundation for the Development of Contemporary Choreography. In 2012, she led The Crown of Classical Ballet company enterprises in Spain and Portugal. In 2013-2016, she was the Artistic Director of South Caucasus Contemporary Dance and Experimental Art Festival.

Under the aegis of the Foundation, she launched the project Fantasia on the Georgian Folklore Theme – a series of Georgian-themed contemporary ballets. As a result, a certain kind of a creative laboratory was established. Within the framework of the project, she collaborated with film director Gela Kandelaki, composers Giya Kancheli, Teimuraz Bakuradze, Josef Bardanashvili, Vakhtang Kakhidze, Eka Chabashvili; artists Giorgi Aleksi-Meskhishvili and Ana Kalatozishvili; writer Dato Turashvili. Actors of Rustaveli Theatre and actors and soloists of Opera and Ballet Theatre – Nino Gogua, Dato and Lasha Khozashvili, Ekaterine Surmava, Davit Ananiashvili, Shorena Khaindrava – participated in her projects. Guest ballet actors: Nahuel Alejandro Vega and Tolga Burcak; ballerina and contemporary dancer Natia Bunturi collaborated with Mariam Aleksidze until 2019, and Mariam created special characters for her.

Between 2009 and 2021, Mariam Aleksidze staged 12 full-length original contemporary ballets and choreographic performances, 10 short original contemporary ballets, three film-ballets and four original children’s ballets. Mariam Aleksidze collaborated productively with drama theatres; in 2014, at Rustaveli National Theatre, she worked with Robert Sturua on the play Asulni (The Ascended) – a fantasia based on Polikarpe Kakabadze’s plays; she choreographed the 2014 Saba Literary Award Ceremony; in 2016, Rustaveli Theatre marked the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death with Mariam Aleksidze’s choreographic fantasia Shakespeare.Love.

Mariam Aleksidze’s ballets feature musical genres from Baroque to electronic music. An important direction in her work is cooperation with composers and creation of original music and musical versions for her ballets as well as staging performances to live music, cooperation with musicians, bands and orchestras. When creating her ballets, Mariam always collaborates with artists, designers, film and theatre directors and other creative professionals. The creation of contemporary ballets based on literary works and texts is a strong suit of Mariam’s work, she often cooperates with writers and academics. Staging the musicality of words, poetry and poems is a signature style of Mariam Aleksidze. In her choreography, she often uses mythology, basic concepts of Georgian folklore, polyphonic ideas of Georgian music, touches on universal human as well as social and topical issues in her ballets.

In 2016, Mariam Aleksidze, with the support from Tbilisi City Hall, founded the first contemporary ballet company in Georgia. Tbilisi’s contemporary, innovative youth dance company was named after great Georgian choreographer Giorgi Aleksidze and is notable for its unique quality, aesthetics, search for contemporary forms, artistic vision and original repertoire. The unique nature of Giorgi Aleksidze Tbilisi Contemporary Ballet Company is conditioned by company director and Mariam’s like-minded associate David Maziashvili’s exceptional ideas, thorough knowledge in several different areas, and Mariam Aleksidze’s artistic vision – to preserve the unique style characteristic for Georgian choreography and to present it in a novel, contemporary way.

 Mariam Aleksidze has been staging original ballets for the company since 2016. Worthy of note among them is a collaboration with composer Polad Bülbüloğlu: to his original music, Mariam staged Khamsa, a contemporary ballet based on the Persian miniatures depicting fragments of Nizami Ganjavi’s Quinary; stage designer – Muraz Murvanidze. David Maziashvili’s 2018 project at Silk Factory Studio was very successful: Mariam Aleksidze staged contemporary ballet Metamorphoses to the music by J. S. Bach and original music by Nika Machaidze, with Ana Ninua as stage designer. In 2018, within the framework of Tbilisi Baroque Festival and in partnership with Tbilisi State Chamber Orchestra – Georgian Sinfonietta, Mariam Aleksidze for the first time in Georgia staged Folia, a ballet synthesising authentic live performance of Baroque music and contemporary ballet. The literary-musical-choreographic project Hinter den Grenzen in the south of Germany was implemented by Mariam in collaboration with musician Rusudan Meipariani’s band; in 2019, the contemporary ballet STALAG VIII-A to Olivier Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time was shown in Theater Rigiblick in Zurich, Switzerland, with participation of Swiss-based musicians Irina Vardeli, Mattia Zappa, Andreas Janke and Dimitri Ashkenazy. In cooperation with pianist Dudana Mazmanishvili and designer Tamuna Ingorokva, Mariam presented the contemporary ballet J.S. Bach’s The Goldberg Variations at the Grand Stage of Rustaveli Theatre.

In 2018, together with Marina Aleksidze, with the support from the Ministry of Culture, Mariam Aleksidze published Giorgi Aleksidze’s unique book Ballet in a Changing World.

In 2019, Mariam marked 10 years of working in choreography by uniting fragments of ballets staged in the course of 10 years in one evening; it was a very active, productive and important decade in Georgian contemporary choreography. A unique video archive of Mariam Aleksidze’s contribution to contemporary choreography and its development in the past 10 years was created. 

In 2020, Mariam Aleksidze’s work received special recognition when she participated in David Maziashvili’s special academic event Shakespeare in Georgia (exhibition, seminar, video screening) which was presented at the Bodleian Library of the University of Oxford. Mariam Aleksidze was invited by the University of Oxford; a video screening of the choreographic fantasia Shakespeare.Love and a meeting with the choreographer were part of the event. Later, Mariam was invited to Malta to conduct a creative workshop for Maltese dancers at the Mediterranean Conference Centre in Valletta.

In 2020, Mariam Aleksidze’s video performance Marijan’s Room was one of the first reflections about the new reality that took shape as a result of the pandemic. The main concept, innovative nature and contemporary vision of Mariam Aleksidze’s and David Maziashvili’s project lie in sharing an idea through words, music and choreography from a personal space – house, flat, room – into the virtual world; a series of virtual contemporary choreographic performances was launched as a result. As part of this series, the second collaboration between Mariam Aleksidze and David Maziashvili – film-ballet hallucination Lucia’s Room – was inspired by James Joyce’s works. The third idea – Marijan’s Room in Tsaghveri – is a different version of the first video performance which was carried out in the town of Tsaghveri in Borjomi Municipality, at Marijan’s summer house Mziana.

In 2021 the world marks 700th anniversary of death of great Italian poet, philosopher and thinker Dante Alighieri and, in accordance with David Maziashvili’s idea and concept, and under his direction, based on The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri, Mariam Aleksidze staged for the company the original contemporary ballet Beatrice. The world premiere of Mariam Aleksidze’s original contemporary ballet Beatrice took place at the Grand Stage of Rustaveli National Theatre. In accordance with David Maziashvili’s idea, contemporary Italian composer, winner of Oscar, Golden Globe and many other awards, Dario Marianelli, created original music especially for this ballet. Under Dario Marianelli’s direction, Tbilisi State Chamber Orchestra – Georgian Sinfonietta performed the music created by the Italian composer especially for the ballet Beatrice live on stage. The role of Beatrice was performed by the company’s lead soloist, Mariam Darchia. Tamuna Ingorokva designed the costumes for the contemporary ballet. According to Mariam Aleksidze’s concept, the visual backdrop of the ballet was an audio-visual installation of Konstantine Mindadze’s paintings. Graphic design was done by Irakli Gharibashvili.

 Mariam Aleksidze has contributed to the cause of developing and promoting contemporary Georgian choreography and contemporary dance in Georgia.