The National Theatre Ballet will celebrate 100 years of its existence

10 January 2020, 1:00
The National Theatre Ballet will celebrate 100 years of its existence

The ballet ensemble of the National Theatre Brno celebrates 100 years since its foundation this season. On the occasion of this anniversary, the ensemble is preparing a gala concert at the Janáček Theatre, featuring dancers from major European ballet companies, as well as soloists of national theatres from Prague, Bratislava and Brno. Among the guest artists there are stars such as Diana Kosyreva, Natascha Mair, Philipp Stepin, Cesar Corrales and many others.

Ballet existed in Brno theatre already before 1919, but it was not a permanent professional ensemble. At the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, only rare performances by temporary choreographers appeared on stage. In 1916 Marie Dobromilová, a dancer from Prague's Divadlo na Vinohradech theatre, came to Brno and became a sort of first performing personality. Dobromilová brought to Brno a brief engagement of her uncle Achille Viscusi, a dancer, teacher and choreographer and former head of the ballet of the National Theatre in Prague. It was thanks to him that the traditional ballet titles Coppélia (1918) and Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake (1919) were introduced for the first time in Brno. Unlike the Prague National Theatre, which had its own ballet ensemble since its inception, the Brno National Theatre, which was only a year younger (1884), had a permanent ballet ensemble only at the end of the First World War.

The official formation of the ballet ensemble is associated with the arrival of Jaroslav Hladík, who came to Brno in 1919. Hladík formed, rejuvenated and raised the ensemble to a professional level. The ensemble gradually built up a more equal position alongside drama, opera and singspiel. At the beginning of the First Republic, Máša Cvejičová, and later the legendary Ivo Váňa Psota, took over as the Artistic Director of the Ballet until his death, three times with some breaks. The creative and dramaturgical highlight of this period was the world premiere of Prokofiev's ballet Romeo and Juliet (1938).

In the sixties the "new wave" won the place, in 1961 the choreographer Luboš Ogoun became the artistic director. After his work in the ballet, Miroslav Kůra, recognized as the greatest performing personality of the postwar era, took over as a leader of the ballet and returned the repertoire of the ensemble from contemporary dance to classical ballet. At the turn of the sixties and seventies there were changes in leadership, and eventually Olga Skálová stepped in, who led the Brno ballet until 1989. After the Velvet Revolution, the rehabilitation and re-leadership of Luboš Ogoun took place. He was gradually alternated by personalities such as Zdeněk Prokeš, Karel Littera or Lenka Dřímalová. Since 2013, NDB ballet chief has become Mário Radačovský. Guest celebrities from the world of choreography alternate in the ballet company, and the work by Radačovský himself raises its level significantly. Nowadays,  the Ballet of the National Theatre Brno is the second largest dance ensemble in the Czech Republic, currently having a headcount of 50 dancers from 20 countries of the world.

The gala concert will take place on Saturday 25 January 2020 at 19:00 at the Janáček Theatre.

Confirmed guests of the gala concert:

Oxana Skorik / principal dancer of the St. Petersburg Mariinsky Theatre 

Philipp Stepin / first soloist of the Mariinsky Theatre St. Petersburg  

Diana Kosyreva / soloist of the Hungarian National Ballet Budapest   

Igor Tsvirko / lead soloist of the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow  

Natascha Mair / first soloist of the Vienna State Ballet   

Davide Dato / first soloist of the Vienna State Ballet 

Anna Tsygankova / principal dancer of the Dutch National Ballet Amsterdam  

Constantine Allen / principal dancer of the Dutch National Ballet Amsterdam

Lucia Lacarra / emeritus principal dancer of the Bavarian State Ballet in Munich 

Matthew Golding / emeritus principal dancer of the Royal Ballet London

Sarah Lamb / principal dancer of the Royal Ballet London

Cesar Corrales / first soloist of the Royal Ballet London 

Alina Nanu / first soloist of the Prague National Theatre Ballet 

Adam Zvonař / first soloist of the Prague National Theatre Ballet 

Soloists of the Slovak National Theatre Bratislava

Ivona Jeličová / first soloist of the National Theatre Ballet Brno

Klaudia Radačovská / first soloist of the National Theatre Ballet Brno

Emilia Vuorio / soloist of the National Theatre Ballet Brno

Arthur Abram / soloist and chorus dancer of the National Theatre Ballet Brno

Photo by Filmondo

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