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Preview: 7th Prague Ballet Gala

Internationally renowned dancers pirouette into Prague

Posted: January 11, 2012

By Johana Mücková - For the Post | Comments (2) | Post comment

Preview: 7th Prague Ballet Gala

Courtesy Photo

The Prague Ballet Gala consistently attracts top-tier dance stars, like Wim Vanlessen and Aki Saito, above.

The best international classical ballet dancers are gathering in Prague for the International Prague Ballet Gala, an exquisite performance composed of selected highlights from a wide range of ballets.

Most of the selections are pas de deux or duets from classical works by distinguished choreographers of past centuries, but the elite of world ballet will present some exciting modern choreographies created by contemporary artists as well.

Founded by Jana Kůrová out of the nonprofit organization Prague International Ballet in 2005, the annual ballet showcase has become a tradition for local audiences. Kůrová used to be a renowned soloist at the National Theater, dancing leading roles in major ballets and winning many international prizes. Since retiring from the stage, she has been active as an international ballet master and choreographer. Having a broad network of professional connections, she brings top talents to Prague.

"I consider myself an expert in this artistic genre so I know whom to invite and how to communicate with my guests," Kůrová tells The Prague Post. "But of course, sometimes it is hard to convince the dancers to accept my invitation, mostly because of their tight schedule."

7th Prague Ballet Gala
When: Saturday, Jan. 14 at 7:30 p.m.
Where: State Opera
250-2,500 Kč, available through Bohemia Ticket and at the venue

In previous years, Kůrová has managed to invite soloists from such renowned companies as the Paris Opera Ballet, the Bolshoi Ballet, the Mariinsky Ballet, the Dutch National Ballet, the Bordeaux Opera Ballet, the Cuban National Ballet and many others.

"All participants of the seventh annual Prague Ballet Gala coming from all over the world are very interesting for Czech audiences," says Jana Kůrová. "I personally very much look forward to the high level of creativity that the world-renowned Cuban prima ballerina Viengsay Valdés and her partner Osiel Goueno will certainly show."

Valdés is a phenomenal dancer who has already shown her incredible talent to Czech audiences on two previous occasions; in 2007 and 2009, she participated in Prague Ballet Gala as one of its main stars. In her career, Valdés has performed leading roles in the major theaters of Europe, Asia, Latin America and North America, and has toured worldwide, and her unrepeatable performances have received outstanding reviews from the world's leading dance critics.

According to New York Times dance critic Anna Kisselgoff, "Ms. Valdés remains a charmer, and her virtuosity is unquestioned." Such a gifted and sophisticated dancer performing onstage in Prague is something that should not be missed.

But Valdés is only one performer on the star-studded program; it is certain that the seventh annual Prague Ballet Gala will offer dance fans a great evening's entertainment.

Renowned foreign companies rarely come to the Czech Republic with full-length ballet productions. By offering short demonstrations, Kůrová and her colleagues bring audiences an insight into world ballet beyond Czech borders. The visiting principal dancers will display first-class talents, radiant techniques and precision uncommon on local stages. For audiences, the event offers a rare opportunity to see and compare the skills of foreign artists. That is a valuable move for the continued progression of dance in the country.

So far, the event has built its audience, the responses are very good, and the interest from spectators has been increasing every year.

"In terms of the future, we have many plans," Kůrová says. "We would be glad to be able to stage more such evenings. Everything, however, depends on the financial support of our sponsors."

As every year, the Prague Ballet Gala sells out quickly. Be sure to get your tickets now, if you don't have them already.

Johana Mücková can be reached at

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