The Mirpuri Foundation is pleased to announce that it will be once again awarding a Prize in the areas of Dance, Music and Theatre. Each prize is named after a national prominent public figure in each of these respective cultural areas. The Prize intends to promote and recognize cultural activities at the highest international levels of excellence, as well as to epitomize its role as a model for younger generations by stimulating the quality of artistic production in these fields of cultural expression. The prize will be awarded by a qualified jury in accordance with the competition’s respective performing area, selected by the Mirpuri Foundation.

The Mirpuri Foundation attributed its first award in 2018, in a special ceremony devoted to honoring the works and authors laureate, but also to promote a greater dissemination of its cultural enterprises and philanthropic activities.


This award promotes excellence in the Dance area. The prize is named after Anna Mascolo, a prominent figure of the Classical Dance panorama. 

  “A versatile dancer, of strong and dramatic personality”, Anna Mascolo (1930 – 2019) was a prominent figure in the Classical Dance panorama. Originally from Naples, Italy, she moved to Lisbon, Portugal, with her family early on. It was in her new adopted country that she earned the Diploma in Classical Dance from the National Conservatory of Lisbon and received the award “New Generation”. Belonging to a group of dance pioneers, Anna Mascolo had a decisive role in the development of the first Portuguese Group of Classical Dance (Circle of Choreographic Initiation), by participating actively in its performances and events, until she was invited to join the international ballet company “The Grand Ballet of Marquis de Cuevas”. It was at this company, and more specifically at the “Teatro alla Scala” (La Scala Opera Theatre) in Milan, with Esmée Bulnes, that her personal artistic vision of Dance began to take shape. Motivated by the urgent need for a training of international scope for young Portuguese dancers, Anna Mascolo undertook, in Lisbon in 1958, an important pedagogical and cultural venture, the founding of her private dance school (“Estúdio Escola de Dança Clássica de Anna Mascolo”) (Anna Mascolo Studio Dance School), where she developed her method of teaching classical dance. This accomplishment earned her the “Press Prize” award in 1969, and in 1974, the “Diploma for Excellence in Teaching”, awarded by the Portuguese Ministry of Education. In addition to the founding of her school, Anna Mascolo has had a distinguished career with notable achievements and official functions, such as: Artistic Direction at the “Ballet Experimental Group” (later becoming the “Ballet Gulbenkian”); Founder and Director at the “Anna Mascolo Ballet Group”; Presidency of the “Portuguese Ballet Center” (the first cultural association dedicated to classical dance in Portugal); Faculty Member of the “National Conservatory” and of the “Technical University of Lisbon” (in the Department of Human Motricity); Choreographer of several operas for the São Carlos and Trindade Theatre seasons; Choreographer and Performer in numerous ballet, opera, theater and television shows; Guest Teacher of Dance Courses, Master Classes and Seminars worldwide; writer of dance reviews and articles for newspapers and magazines; organizer and participant in dance conferences worldwide. Anna Mascolo held membership in various national and international working commissions, with particular relevance to the following: Official Appointment by the Portuguese Ministry of Education to draft a plan for the Restructuring of Portuguese Artistic Education; active member of the “International Dance Council (CID)-UNESCO”; appointed by CID-UNESCO to found and preside over the “Portuguese Dance Council (CPDD)-UNESCO”; active member and Master Teacher of the “National Italian Dance Council (CNID -UNESCO “; and effective member of the “Brazilian Dance Council (CBDD)-UNESCO”. Her adjudications as Member of the Jury in renowned national and international ballet competitions include: III and IV International Ballet Competitions of the Bolshoi Theatre – Moscow (Russia); 33rd and 34th International Dance Competitions “G.B.Viotti” -Vercelli (Italy); 4th and 5th Japan World Ballet Competition – Osaka (Japan); 2nd Latin American Ballet Children’s Contest – Lima (Peru); 1st Exhibition of Arts and Ideas and 1st National Encounter of Dance – Portugal. Anna Mascolo attributes her artistic and pedagogical development to the teachings of Olga Preobraijenska, Bianca Gallizia, Lubov Egorova, R. Rousanne, Bronislava Nijinska, Leonide Massine, Felia Doubrovska, George Skibine, Alan Lander, George Balanchine, Esmée Bulnes, Stanislas Idzikowsky, Victor Gsowsky, Edward Caton, Melusine Wood, Rene Bon, Serge Lifar, and Anton Dolin.


Armando Jorge
Liliana Mendonça
Mavis Staines
Nina Ananiashvili
Mirpuri Foundation Jury


He began his classical ballet studies at the Circle of Choreographic Initiation of Margarida Abreu in 1959. He has a degree in Dance from the National Conservatory and has been awarded. At the same time, he studied Painting and Art History at the Lisbon School of Fine Arts, under Leopoldo de Almeida and Master Manuel Lapa. His professional career began at the São Carlos National Theater, taking part in Opera seasons and being a part of the resident cast of Portuguese Ballets “Verde Gaio”, where he ascends to soloist, dancing with Violette Quenolle.

Also at the São Carlos National Theater he had the opportunity to perfect his technique with William Dollar (American Ballet Theater) and Daniel Seillier (Paris Opera). In 1962, he enters the Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, where in 1965 he ascends to principal dancer, performing the whole repertoire, including the classics: “Les Sylphides”, “Raymonda”, “Giselle”, “The Nutcracker” and neoclassical works by Balanchine as “Theme and Variations” and “Allegro Brillante”. He partnered with  Guillen Thesmar, étoile of the Paris Opera. In 1967, after a major European tour (London, Paris, Lisbon, Zurich, Geneva, Brussels, among other capitals) he decided to accept Madalena Perdigão’s invitation to join the newly formed Gulbenkian Foundation Company as a principal dancer.

In 1977, he returned to Portugal to be part of the Board of the National Ballet Company (still in formation). The following year he was appointed the Company’s Artistic Director. Between 1977 and 1993 the Company had a brilliant career, both in the training of dancers and technicians, as well as in building a repertoire of the most representative works of dance history from classical to original works created by both national and foreign choreographers: “Les Shylphìdes”; “Raymonda”; “Napoli”; “La Shylphide”; “Giselle”; “Paquita”; “D. Quixote ”to Kurt Yoss’s“ Green Table ”. From the Artistic Director’s choreography amongst the many works that stand out are: “Canto da Solidão” (Cassuto), “Variações Nostálgicas” (Rakmaninoff) and above all “Carmina Burana” (Karl Orff) which was the Company’s true ex-libris. (1979).

Internationally, he did a major tour of China and also performed J. Skibine’s “Romeo and Juliet” at the Théâtre des Champs Elysées in Paris. Feeling the emerging need to train new Portuguese dancers, he founds the School of the National Ballet Company. During his stay at the Ballet Gulbenkian, he received the Press House Awards (1962/1963), the so-called “Press Oscars”. In 1969, he is also awarded for his performance with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens of Montreal at the XIII Gulbenkian Music Festival. In 1974, he is distingished for his performance in “Giselle” with Isabel Santa Rosa and also receives the choreography prize for the ballet “Canto da Solidão”.

At the National Ballet Company and during his tenure as Artistic Direction, Armando Jorge receives the following awards as a dancer, choreographer and director: • Press Award • Nova Gente Magazine Award • Press House Award • Career Award Distinctions. In 1983, he was distinguished by the then President of the Portuguese Republic, General Ramalho Eanes, as Officer of the Military Order of Sant’Iago da Espada. During a tribute he received at the Nacional Theater of São Carlos, his version of the “Nutcracker” was revived by the CNB and he was elevated to rank of Grand Officer of the Military Order of Sant’Iago da Espada by then President of the Portuguese Republic, Professor Aníbal Cavaco Silva.

At the end of his career as Artistic Director, he also received the “Gold Medal” from Lisbon City Council (António Costa) and Sintra City Council (Edite Estrela). Armando Jorge signing Da Silva Nunes, has authored numerous plastic participations in the companies he joined, having collaborated in this artistic activity. After signing Da Silva Nunes, Armando Jorge was able to incorporate numerous artistic plastic works into his pieces performed at the companies he joined.


A Portuguese professional who received her degree as a Ballet Dancer from the National Conservatory Dance School in Lisbon, and afterwards from the Higher School of Dance at the Lisbon Polytechnic Institute. In 1998, as a ballet dancer, she integrated the Portuguese Company of Contemporary Dance (CPBC), where she performed its entire repertoire until 2011.

Together with this company she performed in all its national and international tours in Spain, Luxemburg, Italy, France, Germany, Holland, Macao, Brazil, Israel and the United States of America. From 2008 to 2011, upon invitation from Vasco Wellenkamp, she accepts the lead as Artistic Director for the CPBC and at the same time she continues to integrate the cast of the company`s dancers. As Artistic Director, she wins back some repertoire works for the Company and also invites choreographers that are nationally and internationally renowned so that they can create works specifically catered to the Company, which made it possible to get absolute premiéres and other programs considered transversal.

In September 2011, she puts an end to her duties as a collaborator at the CPBC and takes on the role of teacher, not only at the National Conservatory Dance School but also at the Setubal Contemporary Dance Academy. In 2013, she concludes her Master`s in Teaching Dance from the Higher School of Dance at the Lisbon Polytechnic Institute, which confers her a Masters degree.

In 2015 she is invited by Vasco Wellenkamp to artistically run the Portuguese Company of Contemporary Dance during a tour in the United States of America, where they represented Portugal in the Iberian Festival, which took place at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. From 2014 to2018, she is part of a group of teachers at the Higher School of Dance (ILP) in Lisbon, where she teaches Classic Dance Techniques, one of the courses included in the Dance Degree.

Presently, she is a member of the teaching department at the National Conservatory Dance School, as a professional of Contemporary Repertoire, Contemporary Duet and Choreographic workshop. As a teacher, she continues to collaborate on projects and productions by independent choreographers, seminars and workshops. Due to her artistic recognition, she has been invited to integrate the jury for final examinations in international and national competitions.


Visionary dance educator Mavis Staines has revolutionized the way dance is taught, performed, witnessed and shared across Canada and around the world. Over her 30-year tenure as Artistic Director of Canada’s National Ballet School, she has cemented the School’s reputation as the leading champion of excellence, access, and inclusion in dance. Born in Quebec’s Eastern Townships, Staines received her ballet training at Canada’s National Ballet School.

Upon graduation from NBS, she danced as a first soloist with the National Ballet of Canada and the Dutch National Ballet until an accident cut short her performance career. She subsequently enrolled in NBS’ Teaching Training Program, joining NBS’ Artistic Faculty in 1982. She was appointed Artistic Director in 1989. Staines’ approach to the holistic wellbeing of the students in NBS’ elite Professional Ballet Program sparked an international conversation about classical ballet training, with a focus on progressive approaches in pedagogy, mind-body awareness, and nurturing the whole dancer.

Her wholehearted enthusiasm for exploring technology in the arts, cross-disciplinary collaboration, and partnership building put Canada and NBS on the map of global leaders in ballet. Staines served as a juror for the Prix de Lausanne from 1993 to 1995 and was President of the Jury in 1998 and 1999. In 2001, she accepted the volunteer position of Artistic President Designate for the Prix de Lausanne and assumed the full responsibilities of Artistic President from 2002 to 2008.

A lifelong believer in the benefits that dance can offer all of us, Staines championed the establishment and rapid growth of NBS Sharing Dance, NBS’ community-engagement initiative that encompasses the widest range of community programs of any ballet school in the world. Her commitment to making the power of dance more accessible has opened doors for more than 100,000 Canadians of every age, ability, and aspiration to-date. Mavis Staines is a recipient of the 2019 Governor General’s Performing Arts Award (GGPAA), a Member of the Order of Canada, and a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.


Prima Ballerina, Director of State Ballet of Georgia, Nina Ananiashvili took first steps towards ballet art at the age of 10. She studied at Tbilisi Choreographic School, in the class of Tamara Vikhodtseva. In 1977, she pursued her education at Moscow Choreographic School, under tutorship of prominent pedagogue Natalia Zolotova.

In 1987-2004 she was prima ballerina at Moscow Bolshoi Theatre and, under guidance of outstanding ballerina Raisa Struchkova, she prepared for and performed all roles from classical ballet heritage. Her first season with the Bolshoi Theatre turned out triumphant for Nina. She performed Odette-Odile (Swan Lake) in Hamburg, Germany, during the Bolshoi Theatre tour and received 30 minute non-stop ovation by the audience after the performance.

Nina Ananiashvili is the only ballerina honored with the four most prestigious international ballet awards: Varna (Bulgaria) X International Competition Gold Medal (1980), Moscow IV International Competition Grand Prix (1981), Moscow V International Competition Gold Medal (1985) and Jackson (US) III International Competition Grand Prix (1986).

Performing with Andris Liepa at Balanchine’s Theatre, New York City Ballet in 1988 is regarded as a milestone in her career. She was the first dancer from the former Soviet Union who was invited to the theatre and was given leading parts in Balanchine’s ballets Symphony in C, Raymonda Variations and Apollo. She also performed with the Royal Ballet in England (Covent Garden), Royal Danish Theatre and St. Petersburg’s Mariinsky Theatre. In 1993-2009, Nina Ananiashvili was guest prima ballerina at American Ballet Theatre (ABT). Besides, she danced in Sweden, Norway, Portugal, Finland, Bavaria, Monte Carlo, Birmingham, Boston, Tokyo and other ballet theatres. She appeared as guest étoile with Rome Opera Ballet, La Scala Ballet and in Genoa’s Teatro Carlo Felice.

From September 2004, Nina Ananiashvili is a director at Z. Paliashvili Tbilisi Opera and Ballet Theatre, as well as principal at V. Chabukiani Choreographic State School. In the period of 13 theatre seasons, under the guidance of Nina Ananiashvili, up to 60 ballet performances and miniatures were staged at the Tbilisi Opera and Ballet Theatre. The theatre’s repertoire includes both new choreographic versions of classical ballets, as well as George Balanchine, Sir Frederick Ashton, August Bournonville, Jiří Kylián performances. Alexei Ratmansky, Alexey Fadeechev, Yuri Possokhov, Trey McIntyre, Stanton Welch, Jorma Elo and other choreographers eagerly collaborate with the theatre. Touring ballet performances gained great success in the United States (2007, 2008 and 2010), Japan (2007, 2010, 2012, 2017), Israel, Egypt, Italy, Spain, Estonia, Taiwan, Ecuador, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Ukraine and Belarus. In 2008, the Tbilisi Opera and Ballet Theatre’s ballet company was awarded with the prestigious Herald Angels award at the Edinburgh International Festival. 2012 marked the 30th anniversary of Nina Ananiashvili’s career, and this milestone was celebrated with the participation of world ballet stars.

Nina Ananiashvili has been invited as jury member and staging choreographer to various theatres around the world. Together with Alexey Fadeechev, she staged several ballet performances at the Tbilisi Opera and Ballet Theatre, among others L. Minkus’ Don Quixote, A. Glazunov’s Raymonda (the third act) and F. Herold and P. Hertel‘s La Fille Mal Gardée. Meri Davitashvili’s Tsuna and Tsrutsuna. Nina Ananiashvili staged new choreographic versions of two ballets choreographed by Vakhtang Chabukiani: David Toradze’s Gorda (2016) and Alexander Krein’s Laurencia (2017) at the Tbilisi Opera and Ballet Theatre. In 2012, Nina Ananiashvili staged Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite and Les Sylphides at the Beijing Dance Academy, and, at the Lisbon Ballet School L. Minkus’s Don Quixote Suite. In 2014, she staged Vakhtang Chabukiani’s Laurencia at Minsk Bolshoi Theatre. In 2019, she staged Pas d’action from the ballet Laurencia in Munich at the Ballet-Akademie Hochschule für Musik und Theater München.

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 with the State Prize of the Russian Federation, For the Merit to the Fatherland (2001). Nina Ananiashvili is the first ballerina holding 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 with the International Prize Golden Goddess (1999) established by successor of 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 with Italian Solidarity Medal of Honour (2011). 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.