Before the breakup of the Soviet Union, regional companies like the State Ballet of Georgia were skimmed like cream, with promising young dancers like Rudolf Nureyev and Nina Ananiashvili drawn off to be groomed for stardom at the Bolshoi and Marinsky (formerly Kirov) ballet companies. The resurgent independence of states such as Georgia has been accompanied by a similar resurgence of some of those national companies. Having cemented her stardom with the Bolshoi and American Ballet Theater, Ananiashvili returned to her native Georgia in 2004 to helm SBG, bringing attention to the company along with a deepening awareness of American ballet's connection to the SBG. (George Balanchine was Georgian and his brother, a composer, was integrally involved with SBG.) Making its L.A. debut, SBG chose Balanchine's Duo Concertante as the centerpiece of the opening mixed-bill program, which will be followed by three performances of the romantic classic Giselle. An incandescent performer, Ananiashvili will dance in the mixed bill and the Saturday-evening Giselle only — but reports from the company's performances at the Spoleto Festival last year suggest there is considerable new cream to be savored in the rest of company. Royce Hall, UCLA campus, Wstwd.; Thurs. & Sat., Feb. 21 & 23, 8 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., Feb. 23-24, 2 p.m.; $34-$90. (310) 825-2101, www.UCLALive.org.
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