Atlanta Ballet Gennadi Nedvigin | Artistic Director

Atlanta Ballet Gennadi Nedvigin | Artistic Director

Return to Fall

Return to Fall

September 14-16, 2018 Return to Fall

  • Return to a Strange Land Choreography by Jiří Kylián
  • Vertigo Choreography by Mauro Bigonzetti, Performed by Czech National Ballet
  • Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux Choreography by George Balanchine & Staging by Robert Barnett
  • Don Quixote (Grand Pas de Deux) Choreography by Marius Petipa
  • The Premiere (World Premiere) Choreography by Ricardo Amarante

Return to a Strange Land
Atlanta Ballet returns with a fall lineup that includes one of dance visionary Jiří Kylián’s signature celebrations of dancers’ physical limits, Return to a Strange Land. Sinewy forms entwine in intimate embraces before spiraling across the stage in graceful lifts. They are physical bodies in space detached from place and time – travelers in a strange land. They move as counterpoints, exploring the limits of centrifugal force and, seemingly, gravity.

Divertissement of short works
This selection of works will include the Grand Pas de Deux from Don Quixote as well as Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux staged by Balanchine* protégé and beloved Atlanta Ballet Artistic Director Emeritus, Robert Barnett.

Special performance by Czech National Ballet of Vertigo
As part of a new transatlantic partnership with Czech National Ballet, Atlanta Ballet will present a special guest performance this September. Witness the powerful emotional metamorphosis of the artists through sensual, off-kilter partnering in this in this highly stylized work by Mauro Bigonzetti.

The Premiere (World Premiere)
Rising Brazilian choreographer Ricardo Amarante will complement the fall program with a world premiere created on Atlanta Ballet’s artists. A graduate of the English National Ballet School, an accomplished dancer, and the current artistic associate at Astana Ballet Theatre, Ricardo’s choreography is recognized for its emotionally-charged, purely neoclassical style.

George Balanchine© The George Balanchine Trust

Performance Photos

  • Venue
    Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre

    The Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre is the first major performing arts facility built in metro Atlanta in four decades.

    The Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre is located in northwest Atlanta near the junction of I-75 and I-285, at the intersection of Cobb Galleria Parkway and Akers Mill Road. Click here for parking, dining, hotel, and additional venue information.

    Emergency Phone Number
    The 24-hour public safety number for the Cobb Energy Centre is 770.916.2911. Please leave your seat location with your babysitter or answering service so that the house manager may find you in case of an emergency.

    Special Needs
    The venue is ADA compliant. Designated seats in various locations are available for guests with disabilities and those needing special assistance. The venue is equipped with wheelchair accessible courtesy phones, elevators, plaza ramps, wheelchair accessible ticket windows, and wheelchair accessible drinking fountains.  For more information, please call 770.916.2800.

  • Group Discounts

    Community and Corporate Group Tickets

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    Click here for details and to submit a request to Group Sales Manager Myredith Gonzales.

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  • Seating Chart

    Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre

  • Reviews

    Former leader plays role as Atlanta Ballet prepares for new season

    Cynthia Perry, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 2018.09.11

    Tchaikovsky’s music plays as Jessica He and Anderson Souza move through dizzying turns and gravity-defying jumps. Barnett calls out directions, emphasizing each downbeat with full-bodied impetus, then rebounding on each upbeat as if airborne. "It’s not calm, with a bunch of commas," he later explained. "There are exclamation points all through it."

    Atlanta Ballet’s “Return to Fall” marks first autumn performance since 2011

    Candice Thompson, ArtsATL, 2018.09.11

    In a case of life imitating art, Amarante’s piece focuses on a day in the life of dancers as they prepare for opening night. With swooping limbs and undulating spines, his sensual take on the neoclassical ballet style seemed to ground the dancers and loosen them up during the rehearsal. Two male dancers worked through a partnered duet as Amarante coached the shyness out of them, and several short solos showed dancers such as Jacob Bush pushing the limits of speed with a new kind of finesse. “Before, you were just yourselves: dancers rehearsing,” Amarante told them, demonstrating an elegant gesture. “But now: it’s a premiere, and you must show everything.”

  • Video

    Ricardo Amarante's "The Premiere" | Atlanta Ballet

  • Choreographers

    Ricardo Amarante, The Premiere

    Ricardo Amarante was born in Brazil. He studied at the National Ballet School Cuba and English National Ballet School. As a soloist, he worked with Paris Opera Ballet, Jeune Ballet de France and Royal Ballet of Flanders. After creating many ballets for the Royal Ballet of Flanders, he participated in the New York Choreographic Institute. His ballet Love Fear Loss received the French Dance Foundation award and was performed at many international galas. He has restaged and created works for Palluca Schule Dresden; English National Ballet School; Royal Ballet School of Antwerp in Belgium; and Dortmund Ballet in Germany. He also choreographed the Adeline Genée Awards. In 2014, he created In Flanders Fields for the Royal Ballet of Flanders (Belgium), which was praised by dance magazines. Since 2016, Amarante has been the resident choreographer and an artistic associate at Astana Ballet in Kazakhstan, which has performed and toured his ballets to major theaters and festivals worldwide.

    George Balanchine, Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux

    Simply put, George Balanchine (Jan. 22, 1904-April 30, 1983) transformed the world of ballet. He is widely regarded as the most influential choreographer of the 20th century and co-founder of two of ballet’s most important institutions: New York City Ballet and the School of American Ballet. Balanchine was born in St. Petersburg, Russia. He studied at the Imperial Ballet School in St. Petersburg and danced with Maryinsky Theatre Ballet Company, where he began choreographing short works. In the summer of 1924, Balanchine left the newly formed Soviet Union for Europe, where impresario Serge Diaghilev invited him to join the Ballet Russes. For that company, Balanchine choreographed his first important ballets: Apollo (1928) and Prodigal Son.

    Robert Barnett, Stager for Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux

    Robert Barnett was born in Okanogan, Wash. on May 6, 1925. Due to his fathers’ work opportunities, the family relocated to Wenatchee, Wash. in 1939, where he developed his interest in the arts, in particular dance. He attended Wenatchee High School, graduating in 1943, at which time he joined the Navy during World War II, serving until the summer of 1946. Using his knowledge of Tap dancing, he appeared in several shows sponsored by the Army in Tokyo, Japan, while on temporary leave (?) from his Navy duties. Upon completion of his service with the Navy in 1946, he began his serious study of ballet. Locating to Los Angeles, California, he studied under the tutelage of Bronislava Nijinsky, made possible by the G.I. Bill of Rights. After a year and eight months of study, choreographer, David Lichine invited him to travel to Europe to join the original Ballet Russe, then performing in Spain, and throughout southern Europe and North Africa. Upon the company’s relocation to Paris, France, in February of 1949, he continued his studies with two distinguished teachers, Lubov Igorova and Olga Preobrajenska. Returning to the United States in the late spring of 1949, he spent the summer performing at the Municipal Theater in St. Louis Missouri. He later continued his studies in New York City, and in December of that year was invited to join the New York City Ballet. After two years, he was made a soloist and had the honor of having roles created especially for him by George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins, as well as two roles created by Fredrick Ashton, director of the Royal Ballet in London England. In 1958, by invitation of Dorothy Alexander, founder and artistic director of the Atlanta Civic Ballet since 1929, Robert with his wife, Virginia Rich Barnett, relocated to Atlanta, Ga., to be principal dancers and Associate Directors of the Atlanta Civic Ballet, later renamed Atlanta Ballet, at the beginning of its professional status. In 1962, at the time of Dorothy Alexander’s retirement, Mr. Barnett was asked to assume the duties of artistic director. He remained in that position until the end of May 1994, when he chose to resign after serving the Company for 36 years, developing it from pre-professional to professional status. Since his resignation, Mr. Barnett is called upon to guest teach, coach and stage his own choreographic works, as well as being authorized by the George Balanchine Trust to stage Mr. Balanchine’s works in the United States and abroad. In the past, he has served as head coach for the American delegation at the International Ballet Competition in Varna, Bulgaria, in 1980, and again in Moscow, Russia, in 1981. He was a panelist for the Benois de la Dance Competition at the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow, Russia in 1992. In 1998, he was on the Competitor Selection Committee, as well as a master teacher, for the sixth USA International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi. He also served as master of ceremonies, with Anna Marie Holmes, for this competition in the year 2000. He has served on the advisory board for the National Endowment for the Arts in Washington, DC, the Fulton County Arts Council in Atlanta, Ga., as well as Meet the Composer Foundation Panel in New York City. He continues to serve on the advisory committee for the International Dance Competition in Jackson, Miss., the International Dance Alliance LTD and the National Board for Regional Dance America. Until this year, he was master teacher and advisor for the S.C. Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities, Dance Department. Mr. Barnett has been honored by many dance organizations in the United States, and been an adjudicator, or teacher in all five regions represented by Regional Dance America. He was the proud recipient of the state of Georgia’s “Governor’s Award in the Arts” in 1987. In 1996, he was presented with the ABBY Award for Distinguished Service in the Arts, presented by the Coca Cola Company and the Greater Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, in Atlanta, Ga. Robert and his wife Virginia are proud parents and grandparents. They have two sons, Robert Jr. of Cumming, Ga., and David, of Roswell, Ga.; two daughters-in-law, Elizabeth, wife of Robert Jr. and mother to Ryan and Austin; and Jackie, wife of David, mother to their son Aaron.

    Mauro Bigonzetti, Vertigo

    Mauro Bigonzetti was born in Rome. He received his dance training at Scuola di Danza del Teatro dell’Opera di Roma and entered Balletto dell’Opera di Roma in 1979. In 1983 he joined Aterballetto, a contemporary ballet company in Reggio Emilia, Italy, where he had a chance to collaborate with Alvin Ailey, Glen Tetley, William Forsythe and Jennifer Muller. His repertoire also included works by Balanchine and Massine. Bigonzetti’s first ballet, Sei in Movimento (to music by J.S. Bach), was created for Aterballetto in 1990. In 1993, he left Aterballetto to become a freelance dance maker. His most important relationship in the next four years was with Balletto di Toscana, where he served as resident choreographer. In 1997, he returned to Compagnia Aterballetto as artistic director, a position he held until 2008. He still choreographs for the company. Bigonzetti has choreographed for the English National Ballet, Ballet National Marseille, the Stuttgart Ballet, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Staatsoper Dresden, Ballet Teatro Argentino, Balè da Cidade de Sao Paulo (Brazil), Ballet Gulbenkian (Portugal), New York City Ballet, Turkish State Ballet, Royal Swedish Ballet, Ballet du Capitole Toulouse, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, Teatro alla Scala, Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, Arena di Verona and Teatro di San Carlo in Naples. His recent work includes Cinque (Reflections for the Bolshoi Ballet); In Vento, Oltermare and Luce Nascosta for New York City Ballet; InCanto dall’Orlando Furioso and Romeo and Juliet for Aterballetto; I Fratelli for Stuttgart Ballet; Le Quattro Stagioni for Les Grands Ballets Canadiens; Caravaggio for Staatsballett Berlin; and Festa Barocca for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Many of Bigonzetti’s notable ballets — Songs, Persephassa, Furia Corporis, Comoedia Canti, Sogno, Cantata, Rossini Cards, Vespro, Les Noces, Psappha, Orma and WAM — are in the repertory of major European and American companies.

    Jiří Kylián, Return to a Strange Land

    Jiří Kylián (Czechoslovakia, 1947) started his dance career at the age of nine at the School of the National Ballet in Prague. In 1962, he was accepted as a student at the Prague Conservatory. He left Prague when he received a scholarship for the Royal Ballet School in London in 1967.  After this, he left to join the Stuttgart Ballett led by John Cranko. Kylián made his debut as a choreographer here with Paradox for the Noverre Gesellschaft. After having made three ballets for Nederlands Dans Theater (Viewers, Stoolgame, and La Cathédrale Engloutie), he became artistic director of the company in 1975. In 1978 he put Nederlands Dans Theater on the international map with Sinfonietta. That same year, together with Carel Birnie, he founded Nederlands Dans Theater II, which served as a bridge between school and professional company life and was meant to give young dancers the opportunity to develop their skills and talents and to function as a breeding ground for young talent. He also initiated Nederlands Dans Theater III in 1991, the company for older dancers, above forty years of age. This three-dimensional structure was unique in the world of dance. After an extraordinary record of service, Kylián handed over the artistic leadership in 1999, but he remained associated with the dance company as house choreographer until December 2009.

    Jiří Kylián has created nearly 100 works of which many are performed all over the world. Kylián has not only made works for Nederlands Dans Theater, but also for the Stuttgart Ballet, the Paris Opéra Ballet, Bayerisches Staatsoper Münich, Swedish television, and the Tokyo Ballet. Kylián has worked with many creative personalities of international stature. Composers: Arne Nordheim (Ariadne 1979) and Toru Takemitsu (Dream Time 1983). Designers: Walter Nobbe (Sinfonietta 1978), Bill Katz (Symphony of Psalms 1978), John Macfarlane (Forgotten Land 1980), Michael Simon (Stepping Stones 1991), Atsushi Kitagawara (One of a Kind 1998), Susumu Shingu (Toss of a Dice 2005), and Yoshiki Hishinuma (Zugvögel 2009).

    In the summer of 2006, together with film director Boris Paval Conen, he created the film Car-Men. It was choreographed on location on the surface brown coal mines of the Czech Republic. In 2010, Kylián served as mentor in dance in the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative. In 2013, together with Boris Paval Conen and NTR, he created the film Between Entrance & Exit, which was nominated as one of the contestants for the “Gouden Kalf” award during the Dutch Film Festival in Utrecht. For the Aichi Trienalle 2013 in Nagoya, Japan, he created the full-evening dance/film production East Shadow, which was dedicated to the victims of the Tsunami in Japan. Together with the Czech film director Jan Maliř, he made the films Schwarzfahrer (2014) and his newest film Scalamare (2017) that was filmed on the steps of the famous Monumento ai Caduti in Ancona, Italy.

    Over the course of his career, Kylián received many international awards, including Officer of the Orange Order (Netherlands); an honorary doctorate (Julliard School New York), three Nijinsky Awards for best choreographer, company, and work (Monte Carlo); Benoit de la Dance (Moscow and Berlin); Honorary Medal of the President of the Czech Republic; Commander of the Legion d'honneur (France); and, in 2008, he was distinguished with one of the highest royal honors, the Medal of the Order for Arts and Science of the House of Orange given to him by Her Majesty the Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands. Kylián received the Lifetime Achievement Award in the field of dance and theater by the Czech Ministry of Culture in Prague, and, in this same year, the documentary Forgotten Memories received the Czech Television Award. During the Celebrating Kylian! Festival in 2017, Kylián received the prestigious gold penning as honorary citizen of The Hague, the Netherlands. In September 2017, Kylián was awarded with the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Prize, the Positano Premia La Danza Léonide Massine Award.

    Marius Petipa, Don Quixote

    Marius Petipa is considered the Father of Classical Ballet. Petipa (March 11, 1818-July 14, 1910) came from a family of artists in Marseilles, France. His father, Jean, was a ballet master, and his brother, Lucien, was a principal dancer and choreographer at the Paris Opéra.

    In 1870, after many years of dancing in Europe, Petipa was offered a position as principal dancer in St. Petersburg. There he apprenticed under ballet masters Jules Perrot and Arthur Saint-Léon. In 1870, Saint-Léon left Russia, and Petipa was named chief ballet master. He was the architect of greatness at the Imperial Ballet during the last 30 years of the 19th century, developing the opulent, multi-act evening- length spectacle that was to set the pattern for the entertainments so loved by the court audience. It was this grand classical style of controlled emotion (stressing the formal values of clarity, harmony, symmetry and order) that produced such successes as Don Quixote, La Bayadère, Raymonda and, ultimately, Sleeping Beauty. One of Petipa’s greatest contributions to classical ballet was the crystallization of the pas de deux, which always has a well-defined structure in his ballets — the opening adagio for the ballerina and her partner, variations for each dancer and the concluding coda for both dancers, which usually contains a display of pyrotechnics.

  • Program Notes

    Return to a Strange Land (Rückkehr Ins Fremde Land) 

    Premiere: May 17,1975 at the Grosses Haus, Stuttgart, Germany
    Music by Leoš Janáček
    Choreography by Jiří Kylián

    A visually quiet and heartbreaking ballet, Jiří Kylián’s Return to a Strange Land (Rückkehr Ins Fremde Land) was originally choreographed for the Stuttgart Ballet in 1975 as a tribute to the company’s director John Cranko (Kylián’s mentor and longtime friend), who died suddenly in 1973.

    Created as a pas de trois in 1974, it was later extended to its present format for six dancers (two women and four men) forming intimate geometric shapes with light and fluid acrobatic poses. A signature of Kylián’s choreography is its perpetual movement. Kylián uses fast running across open spaces, sudden turns, lifts, falls, and graceful contortions of the body to give shape and energy to the ballet’s elegiac theme.

    While the ballet has no story, it mingles themes of passing and reappearance with death and rebirth. Kylián says, “the title Return to a Strange Land conveys the step from one form of existence into another...To die is to return into the other land: the strange land of one’s origin.” Return to a Strange Land is a masterly universal expression of longing, loss, dislocation, and loneliness.

    Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux

    Premiere: March 29,1960 at City Center, New York City
    Music by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Choreography by George Balanchine

    George Balanchine created the eight-minute Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux in 1960 to showcase the virtuosity of then New York City Ballet principal dancers Violette Verdy and Conrad Ludlow. It is choreography that demands exceptional speed and even more exceptional musical understanding, qualities that are hallmarks of Balanchine’s choreographic ideals. As is typical with Balanchine’s ballets, the inspiration for his choreography is the music itself.

    The duet is set to the music of the original pas de deux from the third act of the first Moscow production of Swan Lake in 1877. This extract from the score was thought to have been lost, but was discovered many years later in the music library of the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. Brought to the attention of Balanchine, he conceived of this brilliant work that we know today. Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux follows the structure of a four-part classical pas de deux: the couple perform a slow, sustained adagio together, which is followed by a solo variation for each. Finally, they reunite in a dazzling coda filled with pyrotechnical feats.

    Don Quixote (Act III - pas de deux)

    Premiere: December 26,1869 at the Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow
    Music by Ludwig Minkus
    Choreography by Marius Petipa

    On December 14, 1869, Marius Petipa premiered the multi-act story ballet Don Quixote in Moscow, the first of many successful collaborations with Ludwig Minkus, the house composer for the Bolshoi Theatre. In this extracted virtuoso pas de deux from the ballet’s final act, the lovers Kitri and Basilio are united in a grand spectacle celebrating their wedding. The popularity of this ballet endures as a result of its explosive, fiery mixture of traditional Spanish dance and pure classicism.

    Notes by Nathan Hites, Atlanta Ballet Dance Researcher/Historian 

    The Premiere

    Premiere: September 14, 2018 at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, Atlanta
    Music by Camille Saint-Saëns
    Choreography by Ricardo Amarante

    Note from the choreographer:

    In my first commission for Atlanta Ballet, I am inviting the audience to experience a day in the life of the dancers as they prepare for opening night. A palpable excitement surges through the studio as new and returning dancers come together in preparation for a fresh start to the season and contemplate the endless possibilities that lie ahead. They are full of energy, fueled by a passion burning deep inside them for an art form to which they have dedicated their whole lives. Repetition, repetition, repetition. The dancers push themselves physically and emotionally as they strive for perfection before the premiere. 

  • In-theatre Events

    Pre-show Dining

    Atlanta Ballet offers elegant pre-show dining at the theatre prior to the Friday, September 14 at 8pm and Saturday, September 15 at 8pm performances. Beat the traffic and enjoy a lovely, unhurried meal with a view of the city on the grand tier level of Cobb Energy Centre. Buffet-style dinners are $60 per person and include two glasses of wine.

    Purchase Dining

  • Guest Artists

    The Czech National Ballet
    Filip Barankiewicz, Artistic Director

    The Czech National Ballet has played a major role in the development of Czech ballet art, owing not only to its statute but also its being the largest dance company in the Czech Republic. Established in 1883, it possesses an uninterrupted, evolutionary tradition of Czech professional dance that has evinced itself by grand classical ballets having always formed part of the repertoire. At the present time, the Czech National Ballet has 81 members and is headed by its artistic director, Filip Barankiewicz. The dancers engaged at the company hail from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, the USA, the UK, France, Hungary, Japan, Korea and Italy. The Czech National Ballet’s openness to the world manifests itself in close collaboration with foreign pedagogues and choreographers. Embracing different dance phraseologies serves to season the artistic work: thanks to alternative views of itself and the world around, the company discovers its Central European identity, offers contemporary theatre, yet with a singular artistic flavor drawing upon Prague’s enchanting multicultural milieu.

    Filip Barankiewicz. Photo by Pavel Hejný.

    Filip Barankiewicz
    Artistic Director, The Czech National Ballet

    Filip Barankiewicz was born in Warsaw, Poland. In 1986, he began his ballet education at the National Ballet School in his hometown. In 1991, he received the Vaslav Nijinsky Medal. Following his graduation in 1995, he won first prize at the National Ballet Competition in Poland. He was a finalist at the Eurovision Young Dancers Competition in Lausanne. At the Académie de Dance Classique in Monte Carlo, led by Marika Besobrasova, he received a scholarship from the Rudolf Nureyev Foundation and continued study until 1996.That year, Barankiewicz joined the Stuttgart Ballet, where he was promoted to demi-soloist in 2000, soloist in 2001, and a year later as a principal dancer. Barankiewicz joins the Stuttgart Ballet on tours all around the world. From 2003, he has repeatedly been a guest principal dancer at the Czech National Ballet in Prague. He portrayed the lead roles in John Cranko’s Swan Lake, Onegin, The Taming of the Shrew, The Lady and the Fool, and Romeo and Juliet; Kenneth MacMillan’s Las Hermanas and The Song of the Earth; George Balanchine’s Theme and Variations, Four Temperaments, Serenade, and Symphony in C; Glen Tetley’s Le sacre du printemps; Arena John Neumeier’s A Streetcar Named Desire, Fratres, and The Lady of the Camellias; Sir Ashton's La Fille mal gardée; Jiří Kylián’s Forgotten Land and No More Play; Márcia Haydée’s The Sleeping Beauty; and other story ballets that include Giselle, Don Quixoteotte, and Peter Schaufuss' La Sylphide, amongst others. In 2003, Barankiewicz completed his ballet pedagogue education. At the end of his active dancing career in Stuttgart, from 2014, he started teaching daily classes and coaching the rehearsals of productions, including The Taming of the Shrew (John Cranko), Onegin (John Cranko), Giselle (prod.: Reid Anderson, Valentina Savina) and Don Quixote (Maximiliano Guerra). From 2014, he also oversaw rehearsals and coached John Cranko’s Onegin at the Royal Swedish Ballet in Stockholm, the Teatro Municipal in Santiago de Chile, the Finnish National Ballet in Helsinki, the Estonian National Ballet, Norwegian National Ballet and National Ballet of Canada. He staged Cranko`s Taming of the Shrew at the Korean National Ballet in Seoul, the Polish National Ballet in Warsaw and Bavarian State Ballet in Munich. From September 2015 until 2017, he was a guest ballet master at the Stuttgart Ballet, participating in the creation of the company’s repertoire and the staging of choreographies by William Forsythe, Jiří Kylián, Hans van Manen and Maximiliano Guerra. Furthermore, he has worked as a guest teacher at the Opéra National de Bordeaux, the Polish National Ballet, Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo and the National Ballet of Canada in Toronto. In 2016, Barankiewicz was a juror in the jury of the Vienna International Ballet Experience - VIBE. Barankiewicz has directed the Czech National Ballet since the 2017|2018 Season. His professional career has been highly variegated – besides having pursued an illustrious journey as a dancer, he has been a renowned ballet master and coach.

    Miho Ogimoto. Photo by Pavel Hejný.

    Miho Ogimoto
    First soloist, Czech National Ballet

    Miho Ogimoto studied at the Sakamoto Ballet Studio in her native Japan and at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School in Canada. Between 1995 and 1997, she won in the junior category in the Nagoya Ballet Competition, All Japan Ballet Competition and Kyushu & Asia Ballet Competition. She obtained her first professional engagement at the New National Theatre of Tokyo (1999 – 2001), followed by a soloist contract with the Theater Altenburg-Gera in Germany (2001 – 2004), where her creations included the role of Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and a solo part in Boléro. From 2004 to 2009, she was a soloist of the Deutsche Oper am Rhein, where she danced in John Neumeier’s version of Sylvia, in Jiří Kylián’s Petite Mort and, most notably, in numerous choreographies of the company’s then director, Youri Vámos. Among her highlights in Vámos productions were the roles of Queen Eleonora in La Fermosa – The Jewess of Toledo, Tatyana in The Sleeping Beauty – The Czar’s Last Daughter, Myrtha in Giselle, the Chinese Woman in The Nutcracker – A Christmas Carol, the African Girl in Spartacus and Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. During the 2009|2010 Season, she was a soloist of the Aalto Ballet Theater Essen, where her creations included the lead role in the company’s production of La Sylphide. n the 2010|2011 Season, she became a soloist of the State Opera Prague ballet company, where she portrayed the title role in Giselle, performed as Tatyana in Tchaikovsky’s The Sleeping Beauty – The Czar’s Last Daughter, appeared in the pas de trois in Swan Lake and danced the Good Fairy in Prokofiev’s Cinderella. In the 2012|2013 Season, she joined the Czech National Ballet, where since the 2013|2014 season she has been a first soloist. Audiences have seen Miho Ogimoto in the productions Americana III, Czech Ballet Symphony II, Ballettissimo and Vertigo. She has dazzled as Queen Mab in Petr Zuska’s adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, as Nikiya in Javier Torres’s version of La Bayadère, as the Mother in Zuska’s The Nutcracker and the Cuddly Mouse, in the title role of Michael Corder’s Snow Queen, and as the Grandmother in Jan Kodet’s The Little Mermaid. Furthermore, she has performed in Ohad Naharin’s decadance and portrayed the role of the Dark Angel in George Balanchine’s Serenade within the triple bill Timeless, which premiered in the 2017|2018 Season.

    Michal Štípa. Photo by Pavel Hejný.

    Michal Štípa
    First soloist, Czech National Ballet

    Born in Brno, Michal Štípa studied at the local Dance Conservatory, from which he graduated in 1998. That year, he joined the ballet company of the National Theatre in Brno where, from the very beginning, he was cast in numerous solo parts in key pieces of its repertoire. Subsequently, in 2000, he was appointed a soloist. During his seven-year engagement in Brno, he regularly appeared as a guest at the National Theatre in Prague, where in the 2004/05 season he was engaged as a soloist. In 2009, after having had the opportunity to dance in all major pieces of the repertoire, mainly in lead roles, he was appointed a first soloist. Elegance, natural refinement, perfect body proportions and especially his reliability as a partner and technical skills have always ranked him as a "danseur noble". Owing to his talent for natural acting, he has repeatedly proven that he is also able to portray the most demanding dramatic roles, requiring deeper reflection. Today, Štípa is undoubtedly a versatile and mature dancer. He has demonstrated his qualities when portraying Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake, Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, the lead character in Petr Zuska’s legendary production Brel – Vysotsky – Kryl / Solo for Three, and other roles. At the National Theatre in Prague, he has danced a variety of roles in the classical and contemporary repertoire: Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake (Harapes and Mazalová, 2004; Vláčilová and  Ďumbala, 2007; Greve, 2009), Jean de Brienne in Raymonda (Grigorovich, 2004), the Nutcracker in The Nutcracker (Grigorovich, 2004), Albert in Giselle (Hampson, 2004; Vláčilová, 2012), the Prince in The Nutcracker - A Christmas Carol (Vàmos, 2004), Romeo in Romeo and Juliet (Vàmos, 2006), the title role in Othello (Vàmos, 2010), Lensky in Onegin (Cranko, 2005), Escamilio in Carmen (Ek, 2008), James in La Sylphide (Bournonville, 2008), the Father in Cinderella (Maillot, 2011), the Prince in Cinderella (Šmok and Ďumbala, 2007), the Prince in The Sleeping Beauty (Torres, 2012), Solor in La Bayadère (Torres, 2014) and the Wolf in Snow Queen (Corder, 2016). He has also excelled in the Czech National Ballet staging of Le sacre du printemps (Tetley) within the 2017 mixed bill Timeless. Moreover, Štípa has appeared in the productions Tchaikovsky, Pas de deux within the mixed bill Ballet Mania (Balanchine, 2005), Maria's Dream within Ballet Mania (Zuska, 2005), Album Familiar (Janssen, 2004), Petite Mort (Kylián, 2007), Sinfonietta (Kylián, 2005), A Little Extreme (Zuska, 2009), Symphony No. 1 in D (Zuska, 2010), Empty Title (Zuska, 2010), Brel-Vysockij-Kryl / Solo for Three (Zuska, 2007), In the Middle Somewhat Elevated (Forsythe, 2012). In the recent seasons, he has danced to great acclaim in the production Rain (Poklitaru) and the neoclassical duet Vertigo (Bigonzetti, 2016). In the 1998|1999 Season, Michal Štípa received the Philip Morris Flower Award for the classical dance talent of the year, and three years later he won the main Philip Morris Flower Award. In 2000, he came second in the Competition of Dance Artists of the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic in Brno. In 2004, he was nominated for the Thalia Award for his performance of the role of Solor in La Bayadère and received the Audience Prize. In March 2005, he earned the Thalia Award for the role of Albert in Giselle. In 2007, he won the Komerční banka KOBANADI prize for the best premiere performance in the production Brel – Vysotsky - Kryl / Solo for Three, in which he portrayed the lead role, and subsequently received the Thalia Award for the same role. During his engagement at the National Theatre in Brno and within guest appearances with a number of ballet companies in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, he performed the following roles: the Prince in Swan Lake, Colas in La Fille mal gardée, Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, the Prince in The Nutcracker, Spartacus in Spartacus, Solor in La Bayadère, Phoebus in Notre Dame de Paris, Des Grieux in Manon, Armand in The Lady of the Camellias, Escamilio in Carmen, the Prince in The Sleeping Beauty, Albert in Giselle, Sarapo in Edith Piaf, the Prince in Cinderella, Daphnis in Daphnis et Chloé, and he also danced in the ballet Andersen and Sylphides. Furthermore, he has appeared as a guest in Giselle in Yekaterinburg, in Swan Lake in Helsinki, and in Giselle and The Lady of the Camellias in Taiwan. Štípa has performed on prominent stages in Germany, Austria, Spain, Finland, Italy, Portugal, Malta, Japan, China, Taiwan, Russia, the USA and South America. At the present time, Michal Štípa also teaches and choreographs (e.g. the production of Don Quixote at the National Moravian-Silesian Theatre in Ostrava).

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