Polish National Ballet

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Polish National Ballet
Polish National Ballet.jpg
General information
NamePolish National Ballet
Previous namesBalet Teatru Wielkiego – Opery Narodowej
Year founded1765
Founders Stanisław II August
Principal venue Grand Theatre, Warsaw
Website teatrwielki.pl
Artistic staff
Artistic Director Krzysztof Pastor
Other
Formation
  • Leading soloist
  • Soloist
  • Corps de Ballet
Teatr Wielki (Grand Theater) in Warsaw,
home of the Polish National Ballet. Warsaw National Theater - panoramio - ekeidar.jpg
Teatr Wielki (Grand Theater) in Warsaw,
home of the Polish National Ballet.

The Polish National Ballet (PNB) is the largest and the most important ballet company in Poland. It continues a national ballet heritage, which dates to the 17th century.

Contents

Modernly it was known until 2008 as the ballet of the Teatr Wielki - Polish National Opera. In that year the ballet received artistic autonomy reflected in the theatre's by-laws and was elevated to the rank of Polish National Ballet. Since then, its director is Polish choreographer Krzysztof Pastor. [1]

Ballet events in Polish history

Michal Ryminski and Dorota Sitanska from His Majesty's National Dancers in Daniel Curz's ballet in the opera Pirro by Paisella in the Theatre at Krasinski Square, 1790, National Museum in Warsaw Spektakl w obecnosci krola Stanislawa Augusta.jpg
Michał Rymiński and Dorota Sitańska from His Majesty’s National Dancers in Daniel Curz's ballet in the opera Pirro by Paisella in the Theatre at Krasiński Square, 1790, National Museum in Warsaw

In 1628 a traveling Italian opera troupe created the first ballet performance in Poland. Ballet scenes were then often incorporated into operas held at the court theater. For many years it was foreign dancers who performed. Eventually in 1765 the first permanent ballet company was formed, on the initiative of the king Stanisław II August. The company functioned with some interruptions in the Saxon’s Opernhaus (opera house), the first Polish public theater. A 1766 book on ballet by the famous ballet master of France Jean-Georges Noverre was dedicated to the Polish king. [2]

Maciej Pręczyński (Prenczyński) was the first well-known Polish dancer; he worked with Gasparo Angiolini in Venice and Vienna in the 1770s. In 1785 Stanisław II August established a company of young dancers, trained in a ballet school at a Lithuanian estate. This first professional ballet company of predominantly Polish dancers was known as His Majesty’s National Dancers (1785-1794). [3] Performances were held on stage at the National Theatre building in Krasiński Square, Warsaw. Its heritage was continued by subsequent Polish companies.

Leading dancers of Polish romantic ballet: Aleksander Tarnowski & Konstancja Turczynowicz in cachucha, 1847, Teatr Wielki, Theatre Museum in Warsaw Aleksander Tarnowski i Konstancja Turczynowicz w tancu kaczucza, 1847, lit. Henryk Hirszel.jpg
Leading dancers of Polish romantic ballet: Aleksander Tarnowski & Konstancja Turczynowicz in cachucha, 1847, Teatr Wielki, Theatre Museum in Warsaw

During the Romantic era the National Ballet School flourished in Warsaw. After 1818 it was guided by French ballet masters Louis Thierry and Maurice Pion. Under construction 1825-1833, the Teatr Wielki (Grand Theater) then became the artistic center for both opera and ballet in Poland. The choreographer and teacher Roman Turczynowicz became a Polish ballet-master at mid-century. Several outstanding foreign masters, e.g., Filippo Taglioni, Carlo Blasis, Virgilio Calori, Pasquale Borri, José Mendez, Raffaele Grassi, and Enrico Cecchetti, worked developing Polish dancers. [2]

During the late 19th century, Mathilde Kschessinska (Matylda Krzesińska), a dancer of Polish extraction, became one of the leading lights of the Imperial Theater in St. Petersburg.

Early in the 20th century, there were many Polish dancers who joined the Ballets Russes of Sergei Diaghilev, which climbed to world renown. These included the ballet master Stanislas Idzikowski, [4] Leon Woizikovsky (orig. Wójcikowski), [2] [5] and Mieczyslaw Pianowski. [6] Polish dancers also distinguished themselves in the various Ballets Russes companies that succeeded Diaghilev's. Among these were Yurek Shabelevski, [7] [8] Roman Jasinski, [9] [10] Marian Ladre, [11] Yurek Lazovski, [12] [13] [14] and Nina Novak. [15] Siblings Bronislava Nijinska and Vaslav Nijinsky were of Polish heritage, [16] though they trained under the patronage of the Tsar at the Imperial Academy in St. Petersburg. They danced with Ballets Russes, and both became celebrated choreographers. [17] [18]

During the Second Polish Republic, Nijinska headed the Balet Polski, aka Les Ballets Polonais, aka The Polish Ballets newly formed in Warsaw in 1937. [19] [20] [21] [22] This company was the brainchild of poet Jan Lechoń, and created with the assistance of M. Waclaw Jedrzejewicz, Minister of Public Education and President of the Organization Committee of the Polish Section to the Art and Technical Exhibition in Paris. The company's general director was Arnold Szyfman. For the first season, 1937-1938, Nijinska created five new ballets including Baśń krakowska (La Légende de Cracovie), to music by Michal Kondracki; Pieśń o ziemi naszej (Le Chant de la Terre), to music by Roman Palester; Koncert E-moll Chopina (Concerto de Chopin), to Frédéric Chopin's B-minor piano concerto; Apollo i dziewczyna (Apollon et la Belle), to music by Ludomir Rozycki; and Wezwanie (Le Rappel), set to a score by Boleslaw Woytowicz. This repertoire featured scenery and costumes designed by Teresa Roszkowska, Waclaw Borowski, Wladyslaw Daszewski, and Irena Lorentowicz-Karwowska. The souvenir program for this company's Covent Garden appearances states: "Every gesture and every colour, the ebb and flow of the groups, each step of the soloists, the spirit and harmony of the Polish Ballets are imbued with the artistic ideals of Bronislava Nijinska and her ardent desire that the world should see the dances of her country in their noblest and most beautiful form." [23] At the Paris Exposition Internationale of that year, this Polish Ballet won the Grand Prix for performance, Nijinska the Gran Prix for choreography. [24] [25] In 1938 the Ballets Polonais was directed by Leon Wójcikowski. It appeared at the New York World's Fair in 1939, but World War II caused its closure. [26]

Following the traumas of war, the 'Ballet of Teatr Wielki' reemerged in Warsaw. Yet the original Teatr Wielki had been almost completely destroyed during the 1939 siege of Warsaw. Eventually it was rebuilt and enlarged, in a new facility (also called the Opera Narodowa [National Opera]). Continuing a heritage of several centuries, the new theater opened in 1965. It housed the companies and schools for both opera and ballet, its stage being shared. [27] The dance company later became the Polish National Ballet, which continues to rehearse and perform in Teatr Wielki.

Under new name and status

Krzysztof Pastor, director of the Polish National Ballet, photo Lukasz Murgrabia Krzysztof Pastor, photo Lukasz Murgrabia.tif
Krzysztof Pastor, director of the Polish National Ballet, photo Łukasz Murgrabia
Tristan by Krzysztof Pastor, dancers: Izabela Milewska & Jan-Erik Wikstrom Tristan, balet Krzysztofa Pastora, Polski Balet Narodowy, fot. Ewa Krasucka TW-ON.jpg
Tristan by Krzysztof Pastor, dancers: Izabela Milewska & Jan-Erik Wikström
La Bayadere by Natalia Makarova after Marius Petipa, Polish National Ballet Bajadera, choreografia Natalia Makarowa wg Mariusa Petipy, Polski Balet Narodowy, fot. Ewa Krasucka TW-ON.jpg
La Bayadère by Natalia Makarova after Marius Petipa, Polish National Ballet
And the Rain Will Pass... by Krzysztof Pastor, dancer: Rubi Pronk & Polish National Ballet I przejda deszcze... (2), balet Krzysztofa Pastora, Polski Balet Narodowy, fot. Ewa Krasucka TW-ON.jpg
And the Rain Will Pass… by Krzysztof Pastor, dancer: Rubi Pronk & Polish National Ballet
Concerto Barocco by George Balanchine, dancers: Maria Zuk & Vladimir Yaroshenko and Polish National Ballet Concerto Barocco, choreografia George Balanchine, Polski Balet Narodowy, fot. Ewa Krasucka TW-ON.jpg
Concerto Barocco by George Balanchine, dancers: Maria Żuk & Vladimir Yaroshenko and Polish National Ballet
Romeo et Juliet by Krzysztof Pastor, Polish National Ballet Romeo i Julia (1) w choreografii Krzysztofa Pastora, Polski Balet Narodowy, fot. Ewa Krasucka TW-ON.jpg
Romeo et Juliet by Krzysztof Pastor, Polish National Ballet
Le Sacre du printemps by Maurice Bejart, soloists: Anna Lorenc & Maksim Woitiul Swieto wiosny, choreografia Maurice Bejart, Polski Balet Narodowy, fot. Ewa Krasucka TW-ON.jpg
Le Sacre du printemps by Maurice Béjart, soloists: Anna Lorenc & Maksim Woitiul
The Tempest by Krzysztof Pastor, Polish National Ballet Burza (1), balet Krzysztofa Pastora, Polski Balet Narodowy, fot. Ewa Krasucka TW-ON.jpg
The Tempest by Krzysztof Pastor, Polish National Ballet
Don Quixote by Alexei Fadeyechev after Marius Petipa, Polish National Ballet Don Kichot, choreografia Alexei Fadeyechev wg Mariusa Petipy, Polski Balet Narodowy, fot. Ewa Krasucka TW-ON.jpg
Don Quixote by Alexei Fadeyechev after Marius Petipa, Polish National Ballet
Casanova in Warsaw by Krzysztof Pastor, dancers: Maksim Woitul & Vladimir Yaroshenko Casanova w Warszawie (2), balet Krzysztofa Pastora, Polski Balet Narodowy, fot. Ewa Krasucka TW-ON.jpg
Casanova in Warsaw by Krzysztof Pastor, dancers: Maksim Woitul & Vladimir Yaroshenko
Bolero by Krzysztof Pastor, dancers: Chinara Alizade, Pawel Koncewoj & Polish National Ballet Bolero (1) w choreografii Krzysztofa Pastora, Polski Balet Narodowy, fot. Ewa Krasucka TW-ON.jpg
Bolero by Krzysztof Pastor, dancers: Chinara Alizade, Paweł Koncewoj & Polish National Ballet
Soldiers' Mass by Jiri Kylian, dancers: Vladimir Yaroshenko & Polish National Ballet Msza polowa, choreografia Jiri Kylian, Polski Balet Narodowy, fot. Ewa Krasucka TW-ON.jpg
Soldiers' Mass by Jiří Kylián, dancers: Vladimir Yaroshenko & Polish National Ballet
Swan Lake by Krzysztof Pastor, Polish National Ballet Jezioro labedzie (1) w choreografii Krzysztofa Pastora, Polski Balet Narodowy, fot. Ewa Krasucka TW-ON.jpg
Swan Lake by Krzysztof Pastor, Polish National Ballet
The Lady of the Camellias by John Neumeier, dancers: Yuka Ebihara & Patryk Walczak Dama kameliowa, choreografia John Neumeier, Polski Balet Narodowy, fot. Ewa Krasucka TW-ON.jpg
The Lady of the Camellias by John Neumeier, dancers: Yuka Ebihara & Patryk Walczak

On 18 March 2009 Polish choreographer Krzysztof Pastor, [28] already engaged with the Dutch National Ballet, became the director of the ballet of Teatr Wielki - Polish National Opera. He took over this position with Paweł Chynowski as his proxy only under the condition that the company receive artistic autonomy. Thanks to the efforts of Teatr Wielki’s general director Waldemar Dąbrowski on 29 April 2009 the Polish Minister of Culture and National Heritage Bogdan Zdrojewski took the decision to separately constitute the ballet in the theater’s by-laws, under the name Polish National Ballet. [2] With the foundation of the Polish National Ballet, the company became autonomous and works as an equal partner to the Polish National Opera.

Polish National Ballet pursues a program of major classic dance formation. It performs an academic choreographic repertoire, but also reaches for 20th-century ballet masterpieces. Invitations are extended to outstanding contemporary choreographers; it also introduces works by young Polish choreographers. With nearly 90 dancers it includes both Polish and foreign dancers and affiliated specialities. The company performs regularly at the Teatr Wielki, when it is not on tour in Poland or performing abroad.

Repertoire, 2009-2023

Ballets staged by the Polish National Ballet from its establishing (year, ballet, choreographer): [29]

Leading soloists, 2009-2023

Principal female dancersPrincipal male dancers
First female soloistsFirst male soloists
  • Melissa Abel [36] (since 2022)
  • Chinara Alizade [30] (2016-2022)
  • Magdalena Ciechowicz [37] (2010-2016 & since 2019)
  • Dagmara Dryl [38] (2016-2019)
  • Yuka Ebihara [31] (2013-2019)
  • Marta Fiedler [39] (since 2007)
  • Karolina Jupowicz [40] (2000-2016)
  • Mai Kageyama [41] (since 2017)
  • Dominika Krysztoforska [42] (1998-2018)
  • Aleksandra Liashenko [43] (2010-2015)
  • Izabela Milewska [44] (2001-2015)
  • Maria Żuk [45] (2012-2019)
  • Sergey Basalaev [46] (2003-2014)
  • Petr Borchenko (2009-2010)
  • Robert Gabdullin [47] (in 2012)
  • Paweł Koncewoj [48] (since 2014)
  • Egor Menshikov [49] (2009-2012)
  • Sergey Popov [50] (2009-2013)
  • Wojciech Ślęzak [51] (since 2000)
  • Dawid Trzensimiech [32] (2016-2019)
  • Patryk Walczak [33] (2018-2022)
  • Maksim Woitiul [34] (2002-2019)
  • Vladimir Yaroshenko [35] (2010-2019)

On tour

See also

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References

  1. Cf. Polish National Ballet at website Teatr Wielki / Opera Narodowa. Accessed 7 April 2017.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Paweł Chynowski, History of the Polish National Ballet. Accessed 7 April 2017.
  3. Halina Goldberg, The Age of Chopin (Indiana University 2004), p. 110. Accessed 2-17-04-11.
  4. Cyril W. Beaumont, The Art of Stanislas Idzikowski (London: Beaumont Press, 1926), pp. 7-8. Idzikowski (1894-1977) was ten when he started at the ballet school in Teatr Wielki. After his debut, when sixteen he left for London. In a few years Diaghilev asked him to join.
  5. Haskell, Arnold, ed. (1940). Ballet to Poland. New York: The MacMillan Company. pp. 29–32.
  6. "Diaghleff's Ballet Russe". Boston Sunday Post. 26 December 1915. p. 27. Retrieved 20 February 2021 via NewspaperArchive.com.
  7. "Biography of Yurek Shabelevsky". The Biography.
  8. Chujoy, Anatole (1949). The Dance Encyclopedia. New York: A.S.Barnes and Company. p. 426.
  9. Koegler, Horst (1977). The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Ballet. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 280.
  10. Chujoy, Anatole (1949). The Dance Encyclopedia. New York: A.S.Barnes and Company. p. 265.
  11. Chujoy, Anatole (1949). The Dance Encyclopedia. New York: A.S. Barnes and Company. pp. 280–281.
  12. Haskell, Arnold L., ed. (1940). Ballet--To Poland. New York: The MacMillan Company. p. 9.
  13. Koegler, Horst (1977). The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Ballet. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 318.
  14. Chujoy, Anatole (1949). The Dance Encyclopedia. New York: A.S. Barnes and Company. p. 285.
  15. Koegler, Horst (1977). The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Ballet. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 390.
  16. Bronislava Nijinska, Early Memoirs (New York: Holt Rinehart Winston 1981), pp. 3-13. Both parents (1891-1972) were professional ballet dancers who'd been trained at Teatr Wielki.
  17. Lynn Garafola, Diaghilev's Ballets Russes (Oxford University 1989), 122-134 (Nijinska); ix, 376 (reference to her Théâtre de la Danse [Paris 1932-1934] that "carried on Diaghilev's experimental tradition").
  18. Agnes de Mille, The Book of the Dance (London: Paul Hamlyn 1963), pp. 152-153 (Bronislava Nijinska).
  19. Turska, Irena (1983). Krótki Zarys Historii Tańca i Baletu. Polskie Wydawnictwo Muzyczne. pp. 268–270.
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  21. Wysocka, Tacjanna. Dzieje Baletu. pp. 436–438.
  22. Arkin, Lisa C. (Fall 1992). "Bronislava Nijinska and the Polish Ballet, 1937-1938: Missing Chapter of the Legacy". Dance Research Journal. 24/2: 1–16.
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  33. 1 2 "Patryk Walczak". Teatr Wielki Opera Narodowa. Retrieved 6 July 2018.
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  52. "PBN goes to Montreal". teatrwielki.pl. Retrieved 2 March 2019.