(b Tbilisi, 19 Mar. 1964)
Soviet-Georgian dancer. She was a champion ice skater aged 10 before entering the State Ballet School of Georgia (1973–7). She continued her training at the Moscow Ballet School from 1977 and made her debut in 1980 as Swanilda in a school production of Coppélia. In 1981 she graduated into the Bolshoi Ballet as a soloist. Her teachers in the company were Struchkova and Semenova, the former developing her dramatic powers, the latter the distinctive elegance of her classical technique. She has performed most of the standard ballerina roles as well as roles in several Grigorovich ballets. In 1988 she and Andris Liepa were guest artists with New York City Ballet, the first Soviet dancers to appear with the company. She was much applauded for her boldness in tackling the unfamiliar Balanchine style. One of the new generation of international Russian dancers, she subsequently guested with Boston Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet, Royal Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet, and others. Between 1993 and 2008 she was principal with American Ballet Theatre (while still performing with the Bolshoi) and in 1998 created the title role of Stevenson's The Snow Maiden for both Houston Ballet and ABT. In 1999 she joined Houston Ballet as principal. For several years she also performed intermittently with her own touring ensemble, Nina Ananiashvili and the Stars of the Bolshoi, and in 2004 became artistic director of the State National Ballet of Georgia. She continued to dance with that company and has commissioned several works for it including ballets by Ratmansky.