Les Ballets Bubenicek

Les Ballets Bubenicek Les Ballets Bubenicek Les Ballets Bubenicek Les Ballets Bubenicek Les Ballets Bubenicek Les Ballets Bubenicek Les Ballets Bubenicek Les Ballets Bubenicek
Jiri Bubenicek Otto Bubenicek

Strength lies in separate and yet common paths

Jiří and Otto Bubeníček started their ballet careers together at the Hamburg Ballet - John Neumeier, where within a short space of time, they both stood out in their respective parts and were soon appointed Principal Dancers. They danced innumerable solo roles in John Neumeier’s ballets. They caused a sensation, for example, when they danced the double part of King Ludwig II of Bavaria and his Shadow in “Illusions - like Swan Lake”. They have demonstrated to date the greatest development of their personalities in the roles that choreographers have created specifically for them. Apart from dance - both have received international awards on several occasions at competitions - Jiří and Otto have continued to develop artistically in their own way in order finally to foster their creative bond again. While Otto continued his ballet career in Hamburg and Jiří joined the Semperoper Ballet in Dresden as Principal Dancer, both exceptional dancers became sought-after guest soloists when they appeared worldwide in renowned companies and their programmes.

Apart from their vocation as dancers, they have both for a long time felt an affinity with other creative disciplines: Otto composes, designs and works in the film industry while Jiří has become over time one of the world’s sought after choreographers, and has already received prizes in this field. His works for e.g. the New York City Ballet, Zurich Ballet, Hamburg Ballet, Dresden Semperoper Ballet or the China National Ballet were premiered with great success and attracted the attention of audiences and the press to an equal extent.

The time had come for the two Bubeníčeks to combine their new artistic directions, consolidate their potential and develop formats such as the “Bubeníček and Friends” ballet evening or a benefit gala in Dresden with countless international guests in aid of the disaster in Fukushima, Japan, where they were involved as organisers and dancers.
Jiří and Otto Bubeníček have now taken a further step by creating their own programme with their full-length “Les Ballets Bubeníček”. As its initators, they present their personal ballet world to the audience as dancers, choreographer, composer, stage and costume designer - including numerous other artists - in a three-part.

Jiří & Otto Bubeníček two of the world’s best dancers follow common paths to develop, as creative minds, highly artistic worlds. Together with internationally renowned colleagues and themselves enjoy a high degree of recognition as the “Ballet Twins”





Les Ballets Bubeníček,
or Masters of the Dance Stage
11,12 January 2014 in Prague National Theater


Today’s performance is exceptional indeed in that it presents the joining of forces of sixteen outstanding dancers under the artistic guidance of Jiří and Otto Bubeníček. Two decades after graduating from the Prague Conservatory of Dance, the acclaimed twins have returned to the Czech capital to showcase not only their globally admired ballet artistry but also their own choreographies, compositions and fine arts creations.

Although having lived abroad for a long time, the Bubeníčeks have remained Czech patriots, manifesting their belonging to their homeland on every possible occasion and representing our country worldwide. Let us now have a brief look at how their il- lustrious careers have developed over the past twenty years.

For every young artist, it is crucial to be in the right place
at the right time, which applies doubly so when it comes to the performing arts and trebly so in the category of dance, since the time of top professional prowess is more limited. A dancer has to find a company with a repertoire making it possible for him or her to bring to bear his or her talent, one with an experienced and capable team of ballet masters who cultivate and enhance the dancer’s technical potentialities and skills, as well as in the ideal case having a great artistic personality at the helm welding everything together and emitting creative impulses.

Joining John Neumeier’s Hamburg Ballett in 1993 was undoubtedly the right choice for the Bubeníček brothers, as the renowned company provided all the aforementioned preconditions for the young dancers’ development. Born in 1974, they belong to the generation of Czechs for whom the beginning of the 1990s opened the doors to the world. Young people were no longer forced to abandon their country when they decided to accept engagements abroad, as was the case of the previous generation, represented by, for instance, Jiří Kylián, Vladimír Klos and Ivan Liška. Noteworthy too is that during their studies in Prague the Bubeníček brothers were lucky to be led by a professionally well balanced pedagogic team, who after the fall of the Iron Curtain were enhanced by visiting foreign teachers, and they were also given the opportunity to travel abroad to participate in prestigious competitions.

But ... Even the most favourable conditions (and the Prague Dance Conservatory’s technical facilities were far from providing these!
are good for nothing if a young dancer is not able to make use of them. A talent without strong will, diligence and motivation does not evolve and ends up at the level of the mediocre, or below.

Otto and Jiří Bubeníček have always been versatile artists with multiple talents; they have also been immensely diligent, relentless and possessed great courage in seeking new challenges. Their professional acclaim has been boosted by the ability to analyse, learn new things and observe closely. Both of them are capable of generating enormous creative energy and possess a great sense for accuracy and form. Furthermore, they are gifted with a theatrical flair, owing to which they excel in dramatic works. Thus, in a nutshell, they represent the ideal of a professional dancer of the present time. Beyond these brief statements, however, are thousands of hours of intensive work on self improvement, immense selfdiscipline and determination, constantly renewed motivation.

Jiří and Otto are identical twins and hence have a lot in common, not only when it comes to their distinct looks, ideal for theatre. They were born under the sign of Libra and the duality contained in the air sign two independent and at the same time connected scales is characteristic for them. The scales’ content need not be the same, it often happens to be different, yet what is of importance is seeking balance, and in the dance arts the word equilibrium is of key significance indeed ...

The Bubeníček brothers’ performance style has become singular without anyhow undermining the given choreography. You can instantly recognise that it is they who are dancing, even if you are seated far from the stage or see just a silhouette; they are simply inimitable. At
the same time, each of them has a nuanced personal style they are very different personalities. On the other hand, it cannot be said that one brother is more generally lyrical and the other, let’s say, more dynamic, both of them are able to attain the same, and yet it is not identical, unless they deliberately want it to be this way.

Both Jiří and Otto possess extreme vitality, playfulness and openness to new impulses, which significantly aids them not only as dancers but also in the other artistic disciplines they have chosen to pursue. And only those who have themselves experienced how exhausting
the profession of dancer in a top notch ballet company is can understand how difficult it is to undertake another creative activity.

After thirteen years with the Hamburg Ballett, Jiří Bubeníček decided to leave the company and in 2006 joined the Semperoper in Dresden as a principal dancer, a step he considered necessary for his further artistic evolution. The two bold individuals have again got together, creating their joint project Les Ballets Bubeníček, for which Jiří prepares the choreographies, while Otto is in charge of the visual aspect and also composes music for selected dance works by his brother. And both of them perform in their productions, thus providing audiences with the unique opportunity to admire the entire spectrum of their creative powers, concentrated in dozens of minutes of perfor- mances.



Les Ballets Bubeníček
From 11,12 January 2014 in Prague National Theater


The name of the Bubeníček brothers’ ensemble echoes that of the legendary Les Ballets Russes, an extraordinary company who presented a new view of ballet, engaged dancers and stars as the particular productions required and, above all, created new works. Otto and Jiří Bubeníček are directors and managers of their own company, ensure its operation and logistics, thus being similar in this respect to Dhaghilev himself.

Great artists have performed with Les Ballets Bubeníček, including Yekaterina Kondaurova, Hervé Moreau, Dorothée Gilbert, Iana Salenko, Arsen Mehrabyan, Alexandre Riabko and other stellar dancers. Bearing witness to the fact that their work as well as human qualities have earned the brothers respect and love on the part of their colleagues was the participation of members of the most prestigious German companies in the charity gala performance Ballett für Japan – Dance for the Land of the Rising Sun, held in 2011 at Dresden’s Albertinum in response to the natural disaster in Japan.

Les Ballets Bubeníček have given performances all over the world, with the most significant being those at the Bunkamura Orchard Hall (for two thousand people) and the Saitama Arts Theatre in Tokyo, and the Auditorium Conciliazone in Rome. Owing to Marcela Tomášková’s organisational skills, Czech audiences had the opportunity to see the company at the Velké Losiny chateau in 2011 and at the Šternberk castle the following year. Upon Rudolf Kubičko’s invitation, the Bubeníčeks appeared at a gala evening within the Dance Bridge event in Brno (2009). The brothers rarely perform in the Czech Republic, and we can only envy audiences of renowned the- atres worldwide for being able to see these technically perfect and charismatic dancers on stage next to their outstanding colleagues.

Otto and Jiří have come to Prague not only as acclaimed and sought-after performers but also as seasoned creators. They have exerted a lot of effort and energy so as to not just participate in “some” gala evening but to bring a Czech audience a programme which they have been presenting around the globe and which also engages their dear colleagues and friends. This evening has a specific programme, featuring selected works that have played a pivotal role in Jiří Bubeníček’s career, works co-created by his brother Otto as a dramaturge, set and costume designer and composer. The audience are thus afforded a unique opportunity to savour these choreographies in their entire beauty not a mere fragment of works (as is customary with traditional gala mixed bills). The project has taken a considerable amount of or ganisation, since part and parcel of the performance is the sets which accompany the individual productions. Sixteen dancers will appear in four ballets, which in- fluences the evening’s structure.

Les Ballets Bubeníček’s guest appearances and successes link up to the guest appearances of the dancers, all of them renowned artists, as members of their own companies in Hamburg and Dresden. Owing to their variegated repertoire, interest on the part of choreographers desiring to work with them and create tailormade choreographies, and, of course, last but not least, their dazzling stage presence, Otto and Jiří have been constantly crisscrossing the world, not only as dancers-twins but also as bold individuals. From gala performances alongside global ballet stars to such prestigious events as the Danza&Danza and Red Cross galas, the Wiener Philharmoniker New Year concert, the World Ballet Festival in Japan and the Farewell Gala bid by the legendary Alessandra Ferri. They performed as guests in the gala evening Roberto Bolle and Friends, with which they toured Italy. Other ballet superstars invited the brothers to appear at galas: Manuel Legris and Aurélie Dupont and Friends. The Bubeníčeks were the first Czech dancers to perform three times in a row at the famous Bunkamura Orchard Hall in Tokyo (Bubeníček New Year Gala, 2013). And Otto Bubeníček is the one and only Czech dancer to appear as a guest with the Royal Ballet in London, Jiří at the Paris Opera. The film director Peter Schlögel made for Arte the documentary Die Ballett-Zwillinge (The Ballet Twins). Their per- formances have been recorded on DVD and broadcast on TV: Illusionen – Wie Schwanensee (Illusions – Like Swan Lake), Tod in Venedig (Death in Venice) and Donya Feuer’s documentary The Working of Utopia. Moreover, Otto Bubeníček appeared in the compelling documentary Nijinsky & Neumeier, Eine Seelenverwan- dtschaft im Tanz, portraying John Neumeier’s inspiration and muse on his creative journey towards finding ideal ballet. The celebrated choreographer himself paid tribute to Otto in the film, highlighting his technical skills, as well as extremely charismatic acting. Jiří Bubeníček’s performances in Dresden have been captured on DVD – as the Prince in The Nutcracker (opposite Yumiko Takeshima, choreographed by Aaron S. Watkin) and in Giselle (David Dawson’s new production). With their dance artistry, the brothers have long since transcended the borders of the ballet world; they have often inspired photographers, including the renowned fashion designer Salvatore Ferragamo, who presented his new collection with photographs of Jiří. Throughout their illustrious career the Bubeníček brothers have appeared alongside such globally renowned dancers as Svetlana Zakharova, Darcey Bussell, Aurélie Dupont, Agnès Letestu, Marie-Agnès Gillot, Polina Semionova, Lucia Lacarra, Roberto Bolle, Manuel Legris, Vladimir Malakhov, etc.

Yet their great acclaim, as well as the success of the Les Ballets Bubeníček project, has also been the fruit of longterm hard work, daily rehearsals. The brothers have served as inspiration not only owing to their professionalism, perfectionism and artistic performances but also, and most notably, as human beings. They do not like being compared with their colleagues or hearing people singing their praises, they value above all honesty and sincerity, both on stage and in life. Amid an amicable creative atmosphere, with the bar set at the highest possible level, all their guests consider collaborating with Les Ballets Bubeníček a truly great honour. Jiří and Otto’s ability to attract and inspire dancers, to provide a creative milieu and friendly spirit is a phenomenon that is undoubtedly firmly based on their character and human qualities.

Jiří Bubeníček’s choreographies need not be described. Everyone in the auditorium will perceive them through their eyes or heart. Noteworthy, however, is the essential transformation of the creator’s style of work. From precise preparation of the choreography, combinations of steps, to artistic freedom and inspiration by the dancer in front of him. Jiří and Otto do not deal in empty formal ballet or postmodernist dance. They pursue instead a bold theme, one that connects all their works: relationships and love. These are the personal leitmotiv of Jiří, who has explored their forms, or existence in general, throughout his choreographic oeuvre.



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