At the Czech National Ballet in Prague, 2017 will see the handing over of the role of Artistic Director from Petr Zuska to Filip Barankiewicz after fifteen years of Zuska heading the company.
Zuska, who was interviewed by Gramilano last year, has four premieres in his final season for the company. The Little Mermaid, which opened recently, was choreographed by Jan Kodet, but the other new works – Tremble, Solo for the Two of Us, Ballet & Fashion – are choreographed, wholly or in part, by Zuska. In April 2017, a book about the life and work of Petr Zuska during his tenure as the Artistic Director of the Czech National Ballet will be published, and on 29 September 2017, a film titled Petr Zuska will receive its premiere at the Golden Prague International Festival. He's going out with a splash.
Polish dancer Filip Barankiewicz, who was a principal dancer with the Stuttgart Ballet and since 2003 has been a permanent guest with the Czech National Ballet, will be overseeing the auditions for new company dancers next year.
The Company is looking for:
- Corps de ballet – male and female (maximum age, 25)
- Demi-soloists / Soloists – male and female (maximum age, 30)
- Male principal dancers
Female dancers must be between 165 cm and 173 cm, while male height need to be at least 180 cm.
Auditions for the corps will be held on Sunday, 22 January 2017 (by invitation only), while private auditions will be held for soloists during from 8 – 28 January.
Applications must be sent before 15 January and should include a CV (mentioning height, weight, age and professional stage experience and education), pictures and a link to a short video. They
The Czech National Ballet
Anenske namesti 2, 112 30 Prague 1
Tel. +420 224 902 526, Fax: +420 224 902 539
Subject, choreography and direction: Petr Zuska
Music: Henryk Górecki, Jiří Pavlica
Premiere: 2 March 2017 at the National Theatre
The last leaf trembles on the plane-tree,
For it knows well that nothing is firm without trembling.
The leaf need not ask you, God, for anything,
You have endowed it with growth, and it did not fail.
But what about me?
This passage from one of Vladimír Holan's poems may, to a certain degree, define the new work, titled Tremble, by Petr Zuska, which will receive its premiere at the National Theatre in Prague. The Artistic Director of the Czech National Ballet has chosen to base the piece on a remarkable subject and music alike. Set to the first movement and fragments from the second and third movements of Henryk Górecki's Symphony No. 3, and several tracks from Jiří Pavlica's album Tremble, recorded by the band Hradišťan, the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra, Altai Kai and Jumping Drums, the work's content was inspired, among other things, by Vladimír Holan's poem The Last Leaf, describing the intense feelings of a person living amidst the turbulence of the early 21st century.
Petr Zuska says of his choreography:
My new original dance-theatre piece, titled Tremble, is not a story, nor does it provide the answer. It is rather a symbolic image, a sort of poem without words. Yet its title clearly refers to a belief in the better. In the final analysis, the tremble is synonymous with life itself. Life with a capital ‘L', which must be revered and, if need be, fought for.
SOLO FOR THE TWO OF US
Music: Jaromír Nohavica, Beata Bocek
Subject, choreography and stage direction: Petr Zuska
World premiere: 15 June 2017, at the New Stage, Prague
On 20 May 2007, the National Theatre hosted the premiere of my original dance-theatre piece Brel – Vysotsky – Kryl / Solo for Three. The production, very specific, singular and unique in many respects, has ever since enjoyed great popularity on the part of audiences in Prague and beyond, and gained acclaim in a number of cities worldwide.
Ten years on, I have decided to come up with something that would in a certain way link up to the production, both in dramaturgic and symbolic terms. Something that would bear kindred structural and thematic traits yet as a stylistically different and independent original piece encompass its own, new message.
The title, Solo for the Two of Us, refers to several levels at once. It may mean a solo for a relationship between a man and a woman. Or a solo for a human being and his/her demon concealed somewhere within. A solo for an adult and the little child he/she once was and which he/she has lost en route somewhere. And it is also a solo for myself – the outgoing – and Filip Barankiewicz – the incoming – artistic director, to whom soon after this piece has been premiered I will hand over the Czech National Ballet company. And, last but not least, it is a solo for Jaromír Nohavica and Beata Bocek, two fabulous contemporary musicians and performing poets, whose individual creations have naturally positioned them on the borderline between the Polish and Czech identity and psyche. Accordingly, from the viewpoints of Filip and myself, the idea can also be deemed a Solo for the Czech Republic and Poland.
BALLET & FASHION
The Czech National Ballet and Helena Fejková's fashion design
Choreography: Zuzana Šimáková, Petr Zuska
Musicians: Kristína Mihál'ová & The Gang
6 January 2017, at 5 pm and 8 pm, at the New Stage, Prague
The creative story of Helena Fejková can serve as an example of diligence and defiance, humility and love. A story fraught with the memory of the masters, blending with sensitivity and the designer's aim to pursue her own vision of the world … Helena acknowledges that even the most beautiful dress is empty if not brought to life and worn by a true personality,
says Jana Máchalová says about the renowned Czech fashion designer.
The very idea of personalities bringing clothes to life and setting them in motion through dance gave rise to the collaboration between Helena Fejková and Petr Zuska, the artistic director of the Czech National Ballet, as well as the company's prominent soloists. Since their very first joint project, in 2006 at the Czernin Palace in Prague, followed by appearances at La Défense in Paris, in Beijing and Nicosia, there have been a number of shows in which the Czech National Ballet dancers have played a crucial role.
Helena Fejková explains,
I highly appreciate their professionalism and admire their creativity. They are able to breathe soul into the clothes, and reveal other aspects of the presented designs. Thus, the audience frequently get to see the unexpected – ‘a story of a ladies' coat', for instance .
On 6 January 2017, the New Stage of the National Theatre in Prague will host a special performance, a project/fashion show, which will mark another significant milestone in the collaboration between Petr Zuska, the Czech National Ballet's artistic director, and Helena Fejková, a distinguished fashion designer.
By means of music and dance, it will attempt to unveil the sources of inspiration for selected collections Helena has conceived over the past 20 years. The audience can look forward to choreographies created and staged by the soloist Zuzana Šimáková, as well as the creative input of Petr Zuska, dedicated to Egon Schiele's legacy, to music by Kristína Miháľová & The Gang, and, first and foremost, the performances of the Czech National Ballet dancers.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.