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Petr Zuska

Choreographer and stage director, dancer

Petr Zuska is a European-format creator, an extraordinary choreographer within the context of Czech dance who has worked with world-renowned ballet companies. In his works, he brings to bear a broad scale of creative vocabulary, ranging from the high bel canto of the neo-classical style through an innovative approach to modern creation. His productions are sophisticated, full-blooded, reflecting the world of symbols and archetypes, spiritual questions, as well as moral principles.

He is among the precious few choreographers capable of imbuing his works with humour, wit and hyperbole. Petr Zuska studied choreography and non-verbal theatre direction at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, graduating in 1994. He launched his professional path at the Ladislav Fialka Pantomime at the Na Zábradlí Theatre in Prague (1987–1989). A significant phase in his career was his engagement at the Prague Chamber Ballet (1989–1992 soloist; from 1994 guest artist).

Between 1992 and 1998, he was a soloist of The Czech National Ballet in Prague. In 1998 he was engaged by the Munich Ballet, and in 1999 he joined the ballet company of the Augsburg Theatre. In 2000 he was named a soloist of Les Grands Ballets Canadiens in Montreal. Throughout his career as a dancer, Petr Zuska performed in classical ballets, yet he primarily appeared in works by renowned contemporary Czech creators, including Jiří Kylián, Pavel Šmok and Libor Vaculík, as well as foreign choreographers, such as Alvin Ailey, Gerhard Bohner, Robert North, Mats Ek, Hans van Manen, Christopher Bruce, Ohad Naharin, Nacho Duato and Itzik Galili. As a dancer, Petr Zuska to make debut in numerous countries all over the world. In the 1990s, he was also a permanent guest of the National Theatre in Brno and the Slovak National Theatre in Bratislava.

From 2002 to 2017, Petr Zuska was Artistic Director of the Czech National Ballet in Prague. During his time as head of the company, he produced for the National Theatre six feature-length ballets and numerous other, one-act, pieces. Under Zuska, the Czech National Ballet gave performances on 36 prominent stages worldwide, including in Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Washington D. C., Houston, Athens, Bonn, Budapest, Tallinn, Beijing, Shanghai, Paris and Tel Aviv.

Since 1990, Petr Zuska has created choreographies for more than 50 productions for both foreign and Czech companies, including the Hamburg Ballett, Ballett Augsburg, the Semperoper in Dresden, the Latvian National Operain Riga, the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, the Royal Danish Ballet, the Ballett Deutsche Oper am Rhein, the West Australian Ballet in Perth, the Finnish National Ballet, Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo, the Boston Ballet, the National Theatre Ballet in Brno, Laterna magika, the Prague Chamber Ballet and Bohemia Ballet – the ensemble of the Prague Dance Conservatory, and, of course, The Czech National Ballet.

In addition, he has collaborated on directing and choreographing several drama productions. He currently teaches at the Department of Nonverbal Theatre of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. The numerous prestigious accolades Petr Zuska has received for his performances and choreographies include the Thalia Prize (1993 and 1997), the Prix Dom Perignon (1999), the Original Choreography prize within the Modern Dance Competition (2006, 2008), the Choreography of the Year (1996, 2002), the Czech Literary Fund Prize (1993,1994), the Opera Plus Prize (2015, 2017) for his achievements as the head of the Czech National Ballet and for 25 years of choreographic work and for the choreography Tremble, and the Czech Ministry of Culture Award for his achievements in dance theatre (2017).

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