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Soviet clan squeezes out quality dancers -- now in its seventh decade!

Georgia is often referred to as the California of the former Soviet Union. Like its U.S. counterpart, the region is known for its valley girls, wineries, and showbiz dynasties like the Sukhishvilis, who founded the Georgian State Dance Company 70 years ago. The celebrated troupe -- which still includes a few original members working behind the scenes -- performs a program at Playhouse Square today that includes a mix of cultural and modern dances. “We always add new choreography to the traditional base,” says general director Nina Sukhishvili.

It’s not uncommon to see more than 40 Georgian State dancers onstage at the same time. The company’s use of quick, energetic movements coupled with traditional folk steps makes it one of the world’s most visually stunning ensembles. “We retain the essential elements,” says Sukhishvili. “We add music and acrobatics to make it interesting. It’s like a precious stone, constantly refined.” And as long as there are audiences, says Sukhishvili, there will always be a brother, cousin, or granddaughter waiting in the wings. “We have this in our blood,” she says. “I can’t imagine not doing this. I’m proud we have a chance to show a small piece of our country. After two hours, you’ll get to know who we are.” www.playhousesquare.org for more information.
Sun., Oct. 21, 3 p.m., 2007

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