Prima ballerina, Director of the State Ballet of Georgia, Nina Ananiashvili took her first steps towards ballet at the age of 10. She studied at the Tbilisi Choreographic School in the class of Tamara Vikhodtseva. In 1977 she pursued her education at Moscow Choreographic School under the tutorship of prominent pedagogue Natalia Zolotova.
She joined the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow upon graduation in 1981. Her first season with the Bolshoi Theatre turned out triumphant as she performed her first major role as Odette-Odile in Swan Lake in Hamburg during the Bolshoi Theatre tour and received acclaim both from the audience and critics. From 1987−2004 she was prima ballerina at the Bolshoi and under the guidance of Raisa Struchkova, she performed leading roles from classical ballet heritage.
Nina Ananiashvili is the only ballerina honoured with the four most prestigious international ballet awards: the Varna X International Competition Gold Medal (1980), the Moscow IV International Competition Grand Prix (1981), the Moscow V International Competition Gold Medal (1985) and the Jackson III International Competition Grand Prix (1986).
In 1988 Nina Ananiashvili and her partner Andris Liepa became the first dancers from the former Soviet Union to be invited to New York City Ballet, where they performed leading parts in Balanchine’s ballets Symphony in C, Raymonda and Apollo. She performed internationally, among others, with the Royal Danish Ballet, the Kirov Ballet, the Royal Ballet (Covent Garden), the Royal Swedish Ballet, Ballet de Monte Carlo, the National Ballets of Norway, Finland and Portugal, Birmingham Ballet, Boston Ballet, Munich Ballet, Houston Ballet and Tokyo Ballet. She also toured with her own company Nina Ananiashvili and International Stars.
While retaining her status as prima ballerina of the Bolshoi Nina Ananiashvili became the principal dancer with the American Ballet Theatre from 1987–2004. From 1989–1994 she was the guest artist of the Royal Danish Ballet, and from 1990–1993 she was the guest artist of the Royal Ballet in England (Covent Garden). From 1982–2017 she was a frequent guest artist with Mariinsky Ballet, La Scala Ballet, Rome Opera Ballet, the National Ballet of Portugal, Munich Ballet, Houston Ballet, Göteborg Ballet, Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Boston Ballet, Tokyo Ballet, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, the National Ballet of Ukraine, and the National Ballet of Belarus, among others.
Since 2004 Nina Ananiashvili has been the Artistic Director of the State Ballet of Georgia (Z. Paliashvili Tbilisi Opera and Ballet Theatre). Under the guidance of Nina Ananiashvili, the ballet company's repertoire includes both new choreographic versions of classical ballets, as well as ballets by George Balanchine, Michael Fokine, Sir Frederick Ashton, August Bournonville and Jiří Kylián. Alexei Ratmansky, Yuri Possokhov, Trey McIntyre, Medhi Walerski, Stanton Welch and Jorma Elo have staged their choreographies for the company. Touring ballet performances gained success in the United States (2007, 2008, 2010), Japan (2007, 2010, 2012, 2017), Israel, Egypt, Italy, Spain, Estonia, Taiwan, Ecuador, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Ukraine and Belarus. In 2008, the ballet company was awarded the prestigious Herald Angels award at the Edinburgh International Festival.
Nina Ananiashvili is also the Artistic Director of the Vakhtang Chabukiani Ballet Art State School. She has been invited as a jury member in international ballet competitions and as a staging choreographer to various theatres around the world. Nina Ananiashvili is honoured with the title of People's Artist of Georgia (1989) and Russia (1995), Zurab Anjaparidze and Rustaveli State Prize (1993), The Presidential Order of Excellence (2010). She was awarded the State Prize of the Russian Federation for the Merit to the Fatherland (2001). Nina Ananiashvili is the first ballerina to hold the Russian national prize Triumph for achievement in art (1992).
The American Biographical Institute granted her the title of Woman of the Year (1997). She was awarded the International Prize Golden Goddess (1999) established by the successor of the Royal family of France, Princess Marie de Bourbon. She is named as Dance Magazine Prize winner (2002). Nina was elected as United Nations Goodwill Ambassador in Georgia (2007) for achieving the Millennium Development Goals. President of Italy awarded her the Italian Solidarity Medal of Honour (2011). 2012 marked the 30th anniversary of Nina Ananiashvili’s career, and this milestone was celebrated with the participation of world ballet stars. In 2017, Nina Ananiashvili received the prestigious award Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon, established in 1875 by Emperor Meiji of Japan.