In the 2012/13 season we celebrated together the extraordinary anniversary year of the Czech National Ballet Preparatory School. Its indisputable apex was two events of major significance: the celebrations of Mrs. Naděžda Sobotková’s 90th birthday and the gala show marking the 60th anniversary of the school’s existence. The celebrations also included accompanying events connected with the launch of Naděžda Sobotková’s autobiography, titled The National Theatre: The Alpha and Omega of My Life, and an exhibition on the dress circle of the National Theatre historical building documenting the Ballet Preparatory School’s past and present. At the beginning of the gala performance, a number of distinguished dancers shared their experiences and adventures relating to the school. The show was a resounding success, owing not only to the immense diligence and efforts of all the teachers, performers and other artists but also the pupils’ parents, who despite the tense situation caused by the spring floods in Prague co-operated with the school in a self-sacrificing manner. Highly successful too were the two training courses for children, Summer Arabesques III, in Kostelec nad Černými lesy. Just like every year, many of our pupils passed the entrance exams for the Prague Dance Conservatory. The main events of the anniversary year are thus over, yet a few more celebratory events will be taking place before the calendar year is out.
In September 2013 our school will enter the 61st year of its existence. It will not be an easy year though, primarily owing to the ongoing reconstruction of the Anenský complex, resulting in organisational and other types of problems. We, pedagogues, pupils and parents alike, will have to get through this challenging period in a spirit of co-operation and tolerance. When it comes to the 2013/14 school year, the Czech National Ballet Preparatory School will naturally continue to participate in selected performances throughout the theatre season and towards the end of the year our school will prepare its third independent show. Moreover, we will organise another summer training course, which over the past three years has become sought-after among our pupils and their parents alike. As for new activities, we would like to assess the possibility of engaging ballet companies from beyond Prague in our projects, as well as collaboration with foreign ensembles in this respect. And, naturally, throughout the year we will be updating and extending our website.
As you can see, just like the previous ones, the 2013/14 school year too will be abounding in numerous time-honoured events. At the same time, we by no means intend to rest on our laurels but advance forward. We are entering the new school year with firm resolve and belief in being able to successfully implement all our major plans and objectives.
Head of the Czech National Ballet Preparatory School
Summer Arabesques III
Performance celebrating 60 years of the Czech National Preparatory School
The exhibition “60 Years of the Czech National Ballet Preparatory School” is on display on the dress circle of the National Theatre historical building until the end of June 2013. It documents the rich past and fascinating present of the oldest Czech ballet training centre, operating within the National Theatre in Prague.
60 Years of the Czech National Ballet Preparatory School
It perhaps wouldn’t be overstating the case to claim that, with the exception of the evening performances, on the weekend of 8 and 9 June 2013 the National Theatre historical building belonged to the Czech National Ballet Preparatory School. A gala show titled 60 Years of the Czech National Ballet Preparatory School was the true apex of our ballet training centre’s 2012/13 anniversary season.
This year saw two significant anniversaries: 60 years of the Czech National Ballet Preparatory School’s operation and the 90th birthday of Mrs. Naděžda Sobotková, whose life and fate have been connected with its entire existence, first as a teacher and subsequently, for almost three decades, as the head of the school.
The gala performance opened with the logo of the Czech National Ballet Preparatory School being displayed on the red velvet curtain. After the introductory Polonaise, Petr Zuska, Artistic Director of the Czech National Ballet, came on stage to voice his congratulations. His speech was followed by dance demonstrations of distinguished artists who have all attended the preparatory school – Nikola Márová, Tereza Podařilová, Barbora Kohoutková, Jaroslava Obermaierová, Lukáš Slavický and Jaroslav Slavický.
Afterwards, a book about Naděžda Sobotková’s life and ballet career, bearing the title The National Theatre: The Alpha and Omega of My Life, written in collaboration with Alena Šloufová, was launched. Special thanks were given to Renata Sabongui (the publisher), owing to whom the book was issued, Vlastimil Harapes (a former Czech National Ballet soloist) and Martin Rypan (head of the Czech National Ballet Administration). The ensuing gala performance was ushered in by Petr Zuska and Jana Jodasová, head of the Czech National Ballet Preparatory School.
All the pupils of the Preparatory School appeared during the show, portraying roles corresponding to their age. The youngest children performed folk songs while the older girls presented extracts from the classical repertoire, as well as interesting modern dance numbers. Distinguished guests, the Czech National Ballet principal dancer Michal Štípa and the demi-soloist Radka Příhodová, appeared, showcasing fragments from Raymonda, while the soloists Andrea Kramešová and Viktor Kocian performed an extract from Giselle. The event also encompassed the opening of an exhibition on the National Theatre dress-circle mapping the first years of the prep school’s history, its further development, as well as its current activities.
The enthusiastic responses on the part of the pupils’ parents and the audience alike revealed that the gala performance marking the culmination of the school’s 60th anniversary was a resounding success. A few more celebratory events will be taking place before the year is out. After the anniversary year has come to an end, the Czech National Ballet Preparatory School has no intention of resting on its laurels but will continue to go forward with the same energy.
On 20 April 2013, Mrs. Naďa Sobotková turned 90
On 18 April, Mrs. Sobotková celebrated her birthday in the company of those most dear to her in her professional life – current and former pupils of the Czech National Ballet Preparatory School. The atmosphere of the party was pleasant, sincere and informal. The celebrations are captured on a few photographs.
Painting competition – My Greatest Ballet Experience
In November 2012, the Czech National Ballet Preparatory School announced a competition for children on the theme of "My Greatest Ballet Experience".
Twenty-two little painters competed in three categories. Have a look at the best pictures!
In the 2012/2013 season, the Czech National Ballet Preparatory School will be celebrating the 60th anniversary of its modern-time existence, which dates back to 1953, when the school’s operation was renewed by O. Pásková,
N. Sobotková and V. Ždichyncová, graduates of the Dance Department of the Academy of Performing Arts. Whether 60 years is a short or long time depends on your vantage point, yet if we bear in mind that the school was founded under
a different social system, in another state and in the middle of the last century of the past millennium, and that it has devoted to something as essentially delicate and ethereal as ballet, it is at least extremely remarkable. The school has served as the springboard for the later dazzling careers of
a number of distinguished figures of ballet art. These include, to mention but a few at random,
J. Kylián, P. Ždichynec, D. Wiesner, J. Slavický, A. Voleská, later on T. Juřicová, T. Podařilová and
Absolutely unique is the fact that the school was also attended by Norodom Sihamoni, the current King of Cambodia. The Czech National Ballet Preparatory School not only adheres to its classical, yet by no means narrow-minded, form, it is also in tip-top shape, as, after all, was demonstrated by the most recent performance, First Ballet Steps. At the present time, the staff combine tradition and continuity, embodied by Mrs. Naďa Sobotková, with new invention and a modern approach being represented by young pedagogues.
The new season will feature numerous special events and projects, which should show the Czech National Ballet Preparatory School from various perspectives, ranging from events taking stock of our history to demonstrations of its latest direction. Moreover, the announced projects will not only pertain to, for instance, the art of movement, but also the visual and verbal rendering of our artistic discipline. We believe that the projects we are planning will be a pleasant and refreshing surprise for all ballet-lovers. Let us then wish together that we step into this anniversary year on the right foot, or, rather, tiptoes…
Jana Jodasová, Head of the Czech National Ballet Preparatory School
During this year’s summer holidays, the 2nd edition of the holiday gathering Summer Arabesques took place between 21 July and 28 July. It was again held in the beautiful milieu of the chateau in Kostelec nad Černými lesy. Spacious training halls, first-rate accommodation and excellent food provided the ideal conditions for the participants to focus on the ballet programme. What’s more, the children were taught elementary English in a highly entertaining form. In their leisure time, they devoted to various games and sports and prepared their own choreographies. Sausage grilling on an open fire and a special “Olympics” in specific disciplines spiced up their stay too. The gathering ended with the final competition, within which the girls enthusiastically presented their choreographies. We look forward to seeing you again next summer, at 2013’s Summer Arabesques III.
Painting competition - The Nutcracker
At the end of 2011, the Czech National Ballet Preparatory School announced a painting competition for its pupils on the theme of "The Nutcracker".
The works of pupils in individual grades were evaluated by the Czech National Ballet Preparatory School teachers.