The greatest love story of all time, Romeo and Juliet is coming to Dubai Opera

Principal dancer in the Georgian State Ballet Nino Samadashvili on playing the lead

By Raya Mahmood

Published: Thu 8 Sep 2022, 5:45 PM

Ballet is a language of expression that channels new energies and eclipses the audience with raw emotions. Get ready to be enthralled watching Shakespeare’s masterpiece, Romeo and Juliet, come to life by the prestigious State Ballet of Georgia, in Dubai. The remarkable dancers are all set to tell the story of star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet, as they pursue their passionate romance despite their feuding families, ending in devastating tragedy. Set to the music of renowned composer, Sergi Prokofiev, this is a memorable ballet like no other.

It is often said that a ballet dancer is a giver because with each elegant leap and twirl, they bring the stage to life. One such giver is the extremely talented Nino Samadashvili, who is a principal dancer in the Georgian State ballet. She will soon be taking the stage at Dubai Opera as Juliet in the greatest love story of all time, Romeo and Juliet, from September 9-11.

Nino has taken the global stage numerous times and it is her second time performing in Dubai after completing her first with renowned Russian ballet dancer Andris Liepa, “It is such a beautiful opera house and I can’t wait to dance there again”, she says.

Seeking your passion

Nino affirms the importance of pursuing your passions with the right mentorship as soon as you identify it. “After just the second lesson, I knew that ballet was the thing I wanted to pursue. I loved it and was always waiting for the next lesson to happen.” Nino still reminisces her first concert at the age of six. “As soon as I set foot on that stage, I was like fish in water and in that moment, I knew I wanted to be a ballerina,” she mentions.

“I am very lucky because I am working with Nina Ananiashvili. She is my inspiration because she taught us not just how to do ballet but also how to be a good person, how to be a good artist and ever since my childhood till today, she has been training me,” says Nino. Ananiashvili has taught her beyond the specialised skills of ballet and has introduced her to the soul of ballet. “Ballet is not just about doing a technique on stage, everything you do has meaning. Musicality is very important; we need to sing with our body when we are dancing.”

The production process

The Italian superstar Giuseppe Picone has been training Nino and Oscar, who will be playing the role of Romeo for the upcoming show. Nino’s process as a dancer includes mindful practices, such as reflection, to propel herself forward. “It’s important to stay focused throughout the production process because everything is changing on a day-to-day basis. And Giuseppe has a certain eye and taste for me, so I try to change my performance to match his vision,” says Nino. As they only had three weeks to prepare for the show last season, Nino’s love keeps her going. “It’s a short time to prepare for such a performance but you know that is the ballet life. I love putting on the leotard and going to the studio every day, I enjoy it.”

Mental and physical quests

Nino elaborates on some of the challenges she faces on a day-to-day basis when working in a large-scale production. “It is very hard, you want everything to always be better and better, in the morning you wake up and your body is just not listening to you because you are tired. When preparing for these performances you are pushing yourself physically and emotionally.”

Nino recognises the importance of striking a balance to escape overwhelming situations. “Of course, we are nervous, we are stressed, and we want everything to be the best. I always go within and concentrate on what I have done for all this time and convey that to the audience.”

Developing creative originality

Nino explains the beauty of Romeo and Juliet and how it continues to reinvent itself for modern audiences because it plays on human emotions. “Of course, it is such an old story, there are so many companies doing Romeo and Juliet but for me, what is important is that, I am never trying to copy somebody. I always try to show my personal emotions and do what suits my style.”

It is also imperative to have an engaged audience for the story to come to life. “Whenever you go on stage, you have to feel alive. You have to bring in something spicy to not make it boring. Sometimes, from the first entrance, you can gauge the energy of the audience, from the way they are awaiting you and that changes the shape of the performance. That feeling is incredible,” she adds.

Happiness as a performer

For Nino, the most gratifying experience is to make the people that supported her proud. “I want to make my teachers happy first because they know me best. They have seen me at my worst, so for me it’s very important to make my teachers happy and, in this case, to make Giuseppe, Ananiashvili very happy.” She also emphasises on the importance of making her mother proud, as she is also an integral part of Nino’s life. “She is always nervous about my performance. If she approves of my performance that makes me very happy because she has been watching me since my childhood.” Nino feels accomplished when she has been able to transcend the emotions of her performance to the audience.

She ends with the message to all young ballet dancers and it is always important to love what you do. “It is important to understand that everything will not be perfect, and you have to keep working hard. So, love your work. This would be my advice.”

You will be able to see Nino live in action as she takes to the stage at Dubai Opera where tickets start from Dh325. Shows are available Friday, September 9 at 8pm, Saturday, September 10, 2pm and 8pm and Sunday, September 11, 2pm and 8pm.

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