THE BALLET COMPANY OF THE NM THEATRE
The ballet ensemble, which has been an important part of the National Moravian-Silesian Theatre since its establishment in 1919, belongs with its history and size to our biggest ensembles, together with the ensemble of the National Theatre in Prague (established in 1883) and the ensemble of the National Theatre in Brno (1891).
First chief of the ensemble was an Italian, Achille Viscusi, who has built a working ballet ensemble from the amateur dancers in years 1919-1924. After his leaving, the ensemble was led by Milena Fuchsová (1924), then Ivo Richard Stuchlý (1924 – 1927), Loris Relský (1927 – 1929), Saša Machov (1929 – 1934), Jaro Häusler (1934 – 1939).
The ballet ensemble recorded a phase enviable in the whole spectrum of our dance history in years 1938 – 1970, when it has been led by Emerich Gabzdyl. He engaged Pavel Šmok as a choreographic reinforcement. After Gabzdyl left, the ensemble was led by Jarmila Kovalová (1970 – 1971), then Albert Janíček (1972 – 1990), who continued in Gabzdyl’s steps and attracted many celebrities from the Czechoslovakian ballet, after him it was led by Petr Koželuh (1990 – 1992), Ivan Hurych (1992/1993) and Libuše Králová (1993 – 1995).
In 1996, the competition for the head of the NM theatre ballet was won, thanks to his concept, by Igor Vejsada. In nowadays is the head of the ballet ensemble of the NM theatre Lenka Dřímalová.
Nowadays, the ballet ensemble of the NM theatre is, thanks to its long tradition and high artistic standard of all members, capable of performing not only classical ballet pieces of the world repertoire, but also the works of new authors as well as the choreographies of the modern dance and physical theatre. This trend is supported by native, but also foreign dancers and choreographs, who visit the ensemble. The dramaturgical concept of Igor Vejsada systematically develops the ensemble in classical and modern repertoire – both lines are equally represented in two premieres of the season.
The ballet ensemble cooperate with foreign visitors from lines of the top dancers, pedagogues and choreographs. In the number of visitors appeared e.g. Jeanne Solan (pedagogue, Nederlands Dans Theater of Jiří Kylián), Derek Williams (choreograph and pedagogue, USA), Philippe Talard (choreograph, France), Eddy Toussaint (choreograph, Canada), Christopher Fleming (choreograph, the USA), Eric Trottier (choreograph, Canada), Yehuda Maor (pedagogue, the USA), Irina Strode (choreograph, Latvia), Jozef Sabovčík (choreograph, Slovakia), William Fomin (choreograph, Hungary), Alexander Pereda (pedagogue, Cuba), Lilla Pártay (choreograph, Hungary). To the list of former head Vejsada’s important guests belongs also Yehudit Arnon, founder and directress of Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company (Israel), to who was symbolically dedicated the first Czech premiere of performance “Purim: The Casting of Fate”.
The members of the ballet ensemble appear also in the opera and operetta/musical performances. They regularly attend national and foreign dance competitions, festivals and workshops, the ensemble visited for example Germany, Italy, Hungary, Poland and Canada (Festival des Arts de Saint-Sauveur).
The soloists of the NM theatre ballet got many awards, for the Thalia Award were nominated Tamara Černá and Lukáš Lepold (2007), in last year Barbora Kaufmannová appeared in wider nominations (2009 – Églé, Spor aneb Dotyky a spojení), the National Moravian-Silesian Theatre Award was given to Olga Borisová-Pračiková, Jan Krejčíř, Jan Kolda, Tamara Černá, Dana Muntágová and others. Lukáš Leopold has won twice the prestigious Philip Morris Ballet Flower Award (2004, 2007); Yuriko Kitamura won the honourable mention in the 2nd International ballet competition in Brno, 2006. The ballet ensemble won an award for distinctive work (The Beatles) in the international festival National Dance Week in Prague.