Former Lead Principal with English National Ballet, Elena Glurdjidze danced all the major roles in the Company’s vast repertoire, her final appearance with the Company was as Odette/Odile at the London Coliseum in 2015. Trained at the prestigious Vaganova Academy in St-Petersburg by the great Russian ballerina Lubov Kunakova, her classes are derived and conceived by this same method, nurturing today’s professional dancers and passing down this same style of Russia’s Imperial Ballet, renowned throughout the world.
Elena Glurdjidze was born in Tbilisi, Georgia and began training at age seven at the Arts School, Tbilisi then from age 10 she was accepted into the Choreographic Ballet School. Furthering her training she entered the prestigious Vaganova Academy in St-Petersburg at age 12 as a pupil of the great Russian ballerina Lubov Kunakova who coached her throughout this period developing her into the ballerina she is today.
In 2002 Elena joined English National Ballet as a Principal ballerina and was promoted in 2007 to Lead Principal ballerina.
Her repertoire included principal roles in Giselle, Don Quixote, Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, Romeo & Juliet, Cinderella, Coppélia, Manon, The Snow Queen, Chopiniana, Etudes, Schéhérazade, Tchaikovsky pas de deux, The Dying Swan, Alice in Wonderland, The Canterville Ghost, Le Spectre de la Rose, Raymonda Grand Pas, A Million Kisses to my Skin, Suite en blanc, Facing Viv, Vue de l’autre, Jeux as well as pas de deux’s from La bayadère, Le Corsaire and Ashton’s Margeurite and Armand.
Created roles included Virginia in The Canterville Ghost (Will Tuckett), Lead Gypsy Girl in The Snow Queen (Michael Corder), Vue de l’autre (Van Le Ngoc) and Jeux (Wayne Eagling)
In 2009 Elena was nominated for Best Female Dancer at the Critics’ Circle Awards. Won both the 2007 and 2008 Ballet.co.uk Audience Poll for Best Female Dancer, won Best Partner Award at 7th Perm Open Competition in 2002 and in 1997 won the Bronze Medal at the Moscow International Ballet Competition. In 1998 she won the 8th Paris International Competition of Soloists.
In 2009 Karl Lagerfeld, Creative Director of Chanel, created a tutu for Fokine’s The Dancing Swan which he fitted exclusively for Elena at Chanel’s headquarters in Paris forming part of the Company’s tribute to The Ballets Russes staged at Sadler’s Wells.
In 2011 British Fashion Designer Giles Deacon created a tutu based on the Black Swan which once again was exclusively designed and created for her.
Elena lives in London and is married to Kakhaber Abashidze and has a beautiful son, Alexander, she also speaks Georgian, Russian and English. She graduated from The Royal Ballet School Professional Dancers Teaching Course – Professional Classical Ballet Teacher and was invited to teach during The Royal Ballet Summer School as well as English National Ballet Summer School in July 2013.
Her final performance with English National Ballet was as Odette/Odile in Derek Deane’s Swan Lake at the London Coliseum on 18 January 2015, the role she first danced with the Company in 2002. She continues to guest with companies internationally and is currently working towards staging her own production projects.
“Hauntingly and compellingly beautiful in performance – a thrilling and profound performance”
“Elena Glurdjidze – outstanding”
“Elena Glurdjidze is the ballerina the piece demands (Etudes) – bold and assured…”
The Financial Times
“took a class with the former swan at ENB this morning – elena – this teacher dances harder than students…”
Summer Dawn Zheng
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