Petr Zuska

Artistic Director of the National Theatre Ballet, choreographer, dancer In 1994 Petr Zuska graduated from the Music Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, where he studied choreography and stage direction. He launched his professional career with the Charles University Dance Company and subsequently became a member of the Pantomime of Prague’s Na Zábradlí theatre. A crucial phase in his artistic development was his engagement in the Prague Chamber Ballet (a member from 1989 to 1992, a guest artist from 1994). Here he encountered the choreographies of Pavel Šmok, Jiří Kylián, Robert North, Gerhard Bohner and others. Between 1992 and 1998 he was a soloist of the National Theatre Ballet in Prague, rendering a host of roles, including the Double in Little Mr. Friedemann (1993), Norman Bates in the ballet Psycho (for which he won the Czech Literary Fund Prize and the 1993 Thalia Prize), Tchaikovsky in the ballet of the same name, the role of the dancer Jerry in Some Like It ... (1994), solo parts in Kylián's Field Mass and Return to a Strange Land, Don José in the ballet Carmen (1997 Thalia Prize), Yesenin in Isadora Duncan – The Story of a Famous Dancer, Tybalt in Prokofiev’s ballet Romeo and Juliet. Since 1990 he has created a number of choreographic projects for theatres, dance groups, Czech Television, the Prague Conservatory, the Prague Chamber Ballet, Laterna magica and Prague’s National Theatre. His 90s works include, for example: Out of the Depths, Adagietto (1994 Czech Literary Fund Prize); Little Gallows (1994 Czech Literary Fund Prize); Seul (inspired by Jacques Brel’s chansons, 1995); the girls’ duet In the Mist to Leoš Janáček’s music (1996, prize for the Best Choreography); the full-length ballet Komboloi (1997) to music by Zbyněk Matějů; and Sonata (1999), again to music by Janáček. In 1998 Petr Zuska took up an engagement at the Munich Ballet, directed by Philip Taylor. Here he danced solo roles in choreographies by Philip Taylor, Jiří Kylián and Rui Horta. In 1999 he joined the ballet ensemble of Theater Augsburg, where he worked with the young German choreographer Jochen Heckmann, and besides dancing devoted to choreography as well. He was awarded the prestigious Prix Dom Perignon in the young choreographers’ category for his Triple Self to Shostakovich’s Piano Trio in E Minor. This choreography was later included in the repertoire of the Hamburg Ballet. In 2000 he became a regular soloist in Les Grands Ballets Canadiens in Montreal. Here he rendered the role of Don José in Carmen by the progressive Dutch choreographer Dida Veldman. He also danced in works of world-renowned choreographers such as Jiří Kylián, Nacho Duato and Ohad Naharin. He participated, as both dancer and choreographer, in a host of gala performances in Canada and Germany. In this period, he created the ballet Ways (2001) to music by Arvo Pärt, staged at the Semperoper in Dresden. In 2002 he choreographed Le Bras de Mer to Yann Tiersen’s music, premiered at Laterna magica in Prague. The choreography Maria’s Dream was first performed by the Prague Chamber Ballet. For the ballet ensemble of the Latvian National Opera in Riga he created the ballet Clear Invisible. Since July 2002 Petr Zuska has been Artistic Director of the National Theatre Ballet in Prague. Besides his choreographic work, he has also danced in a host of solo roles of the current dance repertoire. For this ensemble, he created the choreography Among the Mountains, staged within the ballet mixed bill entitled Songs of the Earth. It is a selection of several Czech and Moravian folk songs arranged and interpreted by the popular band Čechomor. He also created the choreography Ways 03, to music by Arvo Pärt. In 2005 Petr Zuska directed his own project bearing the title Ballet Mania in which he himself dances. Together with the composer Zbyněk Matějů, he created the full-length ballet Ibbur, or A Prague Mystery. At the present time, the National Theatre Ballet also has in its repertoire Petr Zuska’s earlier choreographies Les Bras de Mer, within the mixed bill Family Album, and Maria’s Dream, within the performance Ballet Mania. In this period Petr Zuska also created the ballet Bolero (2003) for the Prague Dance Conservatory, the choreography Last Photo…? (2004, inspired by Samuel Beckett’s play Krapp’s Last Tape) for the ballet ensemble in Augsburg, and the work D. M. J. 1953–1977 (2006 award for the Best Choreography), which was premiered in November 2004 at Brno’s National Theatre. In March 2005 he was invited by Diana Vishneva, prima ballerina of the Mariinsky Theatre, to dance with her within her gala benefit performance in the choreography Les Bras de Mer, which has remained in this theatre’s repertoire. At the present time, this ballet is also part of the repertoire of the Royal Danish Theatre in Copenhagen. In March 2006 the National Theatre in Prague gave the world premiere of Zuska’s ballet Requiem within the performance Mozart?Mozart! to mark the occasion of the 250th anniversary of W. A. Mozart’s birth. In February 2008 West Australian Ballet presented Petr Zuska's choreographies Maria’s Dream and Bolero within its new premiere in Perth. Petr Zuska was asked by Youri Vamos, the Artistic Director of the ballet in Düsseldorf, to co-create a non-traditional ballet performance premiered in May 2006 at Rhein Oper Mobil of the Düsseldorf Opera. The result was the choreography A Little Extreme, to hip hop and rap music. In 2007 it was performed within the 6th international Dance in Version festival at the Stanislavski and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Academic Music Theatre by National Theatre Ballet soloists. A Little Extreme had its Czech premiere within the mixed bill Extreme in June 2009 at the New Stage of the National Theatre in Prague. For this evening, Petr Zuska also created a brand-new choreography, A Little Touch Of The Last Extreme, which was presented in world premiere. Another original choreography Petr Zuska has created specially for the National Theatre Ballet company is the full-length performance entitled BREL – VYSOTSKY – KRYL / Solo for Three, whose world premiere took place on 19 May 2007 at Prague’s National Theatre. It met with a tremendous response on the part of audiences and critics alike and also received the “For Original Work” award (a diploma with a premium) at the Competition of Contemporary Dance Creation in 2008. In the 2008/09 season he also created the shorter choreographies Déja vu, Lyrical and Empty Title, which have been frequently presented at Czech and international Ballet Galas or within guest appearances of the National Theatre Ballet soloists abroad. In June 2009 the Estates Theatre premiered a unique project of the National Theatre Ballet together with the dulcimer band Hradišťan. Petr Zuska created a dance composition Oh Love to eight songs by Hradišťan’s artistic director, Jiří Pavlica.

Petr Zuska appears in productions

SEASON 2014/2015