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About the history of the Ballet Preparatory School


Under the management of Ballet Preparatory School, great figures of Czech and international ballet took turns during a century.

The beginnings of ballet education for children date back to 1835, when Johann Raab undertook to establish a ballet school within the Estates Theatre in Prague. Between 1862 and 1868 Franz C. Liegert, Marie Kneislová and Marie Hentzová taught children at Prague’s Provisional Theatre. Hentzová assumed the task of officially founding the preparatory school (1868–1880) and taught there together with Karolina Höflichová (1880–1883) and Františka ze Schöpfů (1881–1899).

Following the opening of the National Theatre, the ballet prep school existed on and off (1883–1953). It was officially managed by the Ballet’s artistic directors Václav Reisinger (1883–1884), Augustin Berger (in 1883 he taught there, as the ensemble’s chief he headed the school in 1894–1900 and 1912–1923 in tandem with his wife Giulietta Paltrinieri), Achille Viscusi (1901–1912), Remislav Remislavsky (1923–1928), Jaroslav Hladík (1928–1933; during his directorship Remislavsky alternated as a teacher; primarily Helena Štěpánková and Zdenka Zabylová carried out pedagogic work), Jelizaveta Nikolská along with Joe Jenčík (1934–1945). Also playing a vital role at the ballet prep school were Václav Pohan (1924–1933 and 1945–1953), Emanuel Famíra (1945–1946) and Saša Machov (1946–1951).

The modern history (1953–)

The modern history of the ballet prep school began in 1953 under the leadership of Antonín Landa, when the school was revived by N. Sobotková, O. Pásková and V. Ždichyncová, graduates of the Dance Department of the Academy of Performing Arts. A new curriculum was drawn up according to Olga Ilyina Alexandrovna which still serves for pupils’ education.

Dagmar Špryslová has been teaching at the ballet prep school since 1977 and Jana Jodasová since 1998.

Its students have regularly performed in National Theatre Ballet productions. Owing to the patient work of Prof. Naďa Sobotková, Dagmar Špryslová and Jana Jodasová, the ballet preparatory school has achieved excellent results. Every year, many of its pupils are accepted to the Prague Dance Conservatory, with some of them dancing on theatre stages both at home and abroad