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EMIL T. BARTKO, ARTISTIC DIRECTOR OF THE SND BALLET, INTRODUCES THE WORKS OF THE NEW SEASON

Ballet premieres are "demanding works"


The Slovak Spectator (TSS): What will the new season at the SND Ballet bring?

Emil T. Bartko (ETB): This time we would like to present to our spectators very traditional and well-known works, along with totally new creations. We would also like to give more space to young Slovak artists, composers and stage directors. In this direction, we started to work last season by presenting Rasputin [choreographer Ján Ďurovčík, composer Henrich Leško, stage director Boris Kudlička] and La Bayadera, which was performed in our theatre for the first time.


EMIL T. Bartko, SND Ballet director.
photo: Lidia Staub

The Slovak Spectator (TSS): What will the new season at the SND Ballet bring?

Emil T. Bartko (ETB): This time we would like to present to our spectators very traditional and well-known works, along with totally new creations. We would also like to give more space to young Slovak artists, composers and stage directors. In this direction, we started to work last season by presenting Rasputin [choreographer Ján Ďurovčík, composer Henrich Leško, stage director Boris Kudlička] and La Bayadera, which was performed in our theatre for the first time. These two ballets will also remain in our repertoire during the coming seasons.

We will premiere The Wooden Prince by Béla Bartók, the same evening as the one act opera Duke Bluebeard's Castle. The Wooden Prince will be shown to the Slovak public for the first time. For this occasion we have invited two Hungarian artists: choreographer Tamás Juronics and stage and costume designer Zsuzsa Molnár. Both of them are interested in modern ballet trends.

Another premiere will be Caligula. Henrich Leško composed an original musical score to it, and Igor Holováč, who is known to the public as an experienced [ballet] dancer, did the choreography.

And the last premiere of the season will be A Midsummer Night's Dream. Music to the Shakespearean work was written by Slovak composer Peter Zagar. We found the choreographer for this work in Prague - Libor Vaculík. He started his career in our theatre long ago, but now works in the Czech Republic.

As you can see, the premieres of the season are very demanding. Each one is realized by a different team and in a different style. It has been 14 years since we stopped having just one single choreographer responsible for all new productions.


TSS: Does it create problems?

ETB: Not really. The only question is to find good choreographers and to make them interested in coming to Bratislava. If the choreography is good, then the choreographer of the ballet is also good, but if the choreography is bad than not only the choreograher but also the artistic director is bad as well. Do you see my main problem? (Laughing).

We collaborate not only with Czechs and Hungarians but also with French, Swiss, and American artists. If we like their work, we are always ready to invite them again and again. For a long time, the main pedagogue of our [ballet] group has been a representative of the Russian classical dance school. On our stage he recreated such popular ballets as Giselle by Adolph Adam, Don Quixote by Ludwig Minkus, and the pearls of our repertoire - The Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake by Peter Tchaikovsky, using their original choreographies.


TSS: Is this pedagogue Armenian?

ETB: Yes, Rafael Avnikjan is Armenian and he comes from Tbilisi. He has been living in Slovakia for a long time and we consider him to be a Slovak artist. Thanks to his constant efforts, the artistic and technical level of our ballet [scene] has reached world standards.

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