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Preview: Bubeníček Ballet World

Twins offer a rare performance in their home country

Posted: July 11, 2012

By Johana Mücková - For the Post | Comments (0) | Post comment

Preview: Bubeníček Ballet World

Courtesy Photo

In this new choreography, the twins will collaborate with international dancers.

The world-famous twin dancers, Czech-born Jiří and Otto Bubeníček are preparing the most remarkable dance event of the summer.

Bubeníček Ballet World is a gala performance at which they will collaborate with superlative dancers from renowned European ballet companies. To every true ballet fan it will mean as much as a concert of U2 or The Rolling Stones does to a music fan. The show will take place at the beautiful stage in the forest below the medieval Šternberk Castle, close to Olomouc, and promises to deliver an unforgettable evening.

"Bubeníček Ballet World is a stunning ballet performance presenting the twins and other outstanding dance soloists from major European scenes. Spectators will have a wonderful opportunity to see for example Ekaterina Kondaurova, the prima ballerina from the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg," says Marcela Tomášková from the organizing National Heritage Institute. "The program features three pieces prepared by the brothers themselves (choreography, music, costumes) - Le Souffle de l'Esprit, The Picture of Dorian Gray and in European premiere the ballet Gentle Memories. The performance will be one of the most important cultural events this year, and not only in the Moravian region."

The Bubeníček brothers were born in 1974 to an old Czech circus family that toured in Poland at the time - both of their parents worked as acrobats. The twins spent most of their childhood traveling around Europe with the circus. When they were 11 years old, a dance teacher recognized their talent and recommended them for studies at the Dance Conservatory in Prague.

Bubeníček Ballet World
When: Tuesday, July 17, at 9
Where: Šternberk Castle, Horní nám. 6, Šternberk
Tickets: 300-1,200 Kč, available at

At the conservatory, the twins caught the attention of John Neumeier, director and chief choreographer of the Hamburg Theater Ballet. He invited them to study at a ballet school in Hamburg. Both elected to stay in Prague but after graduating from the Conservatory in 1993 they went on to Hamburg, where in just a few years they became principal dancers with Neumeier's company. They gained a great deal of experience with important choreographers, interpreted plenty of leading and significant roles and toured the world many times. Both have been awarded many international prizes for their work.

In 2006, Jiří moved to the Dresden Semperoper Ballet while his brother Otto stayed in Hamburg. Otto has been active in other fields, composing classical and electronic music for film and dance and creating short films. Jiří remains devoted to his choreographic work, which has been presented throughout the world.

"The collaboration with my brother is great. We are very close, we trust each other, and our cooperation as a choreographer and composer is also very inspiring," says Jiří Bubeníček. "I think we speak the same artistic language. Therefore, to prepare a new choreography for my brother takes very little time. Each piece we have created together so far has taught me something new. In my opinion, to constantly improve and learn is the most important thing in life. And that works very well with my brother, even though sometimes, of course, we also have some arguments."

While watching the Bubeníček brothers on stage you might think from time to time that your eyes are deceiving you, as the twins are identical. Throughout the world, performances of Jiří and Otto - in which they dazzle alongside the best prima ballerinas - have sold out and become sought-after, and their dance art has been lauded by critics and audiences alike. The twins have danced with renowned soloists throughout their career and have been invited as guests on prestigious stages, participating in gala performances and international festivals in cities like Munich, Vienna, Paris, Hong Kong, Beijing, Tokyo, St. Petersburg, Houston, New York City and Los Angeles.

Unfortunately, the Bubeníčeks don't come to the Czech Republic often and local audiences have had an opportunity to see them on very few previous occasions. At Šternberk, it will be their first Czech performance in a year. Last summer, they performed at Velké Losiny Castle.

"All guest artists were excited to perform at the great outdoor show at this Renaissance monument. I have to admit it was also one of the reasons for the Bubeníčeks to accept our invitation to perform at another historic building administered by the National Heritage Institute. We are very happy to cooperate with them for the second time," Tomášková says.

In the frame of the twins' world tour, there was also one performance scheduled for last September in Prague National Theater, but when one of the brothers fractured his hand it did not happen.

Bubeníček Ballet World at Šternberk Castle is an absolute must-see for all ballet lovers. The only appearance of the twins in the Czech Republic this year is one of the main cultural summer events. These strikingly good performers will certainly stir the calm waters of the slow holiday season.

Johana Mücková can be reached at

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