New head of ballet in Olomouc

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Michal Štípa, the long-time soloist at the National Theatre in Prague and Brno, is going to be the new artistic director of the ballet ensemble in the Moravian Theatre Olomouc as of January 1, 2019. A big creative challenge for him is to come immediately after he starts working: the production of a spectacular and romantic ballet La Bayadere by Ludwig Minkus, directed and choreographed by Štípa.

The first soloist of the National Theatre Ballet finished his contract in Prague and accepted the position of the artistic director of the Moravian Theatre Ballet in Olomouc. “It was not an easy decision, yet I found the offer very interesting because I can continue my career in handing over my experience I have gained at the National Theatre. Viewers and colleagues were sad that I had to end my dance career in Prague, but, at the same time, I have been fully supported by them,” said Štípa.

The priority of the new artistic director is to get acquainted with the operation of the theatre. “I perceive work of the previous artistic directors of ballet and their success with respect, which elicits the rightful respect for the legacy the ballet company bears as well as knowing that there is a real and reliable basis for fulfilling requirements in the upcoming period,” said Štípa.

Another important step is the preparation of the production of La Bayadere. Ludwig Minkus’s romantic ballet about a temple dancer set in exotic India is going to premiere on March 22, 2019 in the Moravian Theatre. Michal Štípa, who will be the choreographer and director, has had the opportunity to play the role of Solor, the warrior, several times. “As a dancer, I have been engaged in La Bayadere for a few times, yet every time with a different choreography. The role appeals to me because Solor was the role I graduated with at the eight-year-long studies at the Dance Conservatory in Brno,” said Štípa, who also staged Don Quixote by Minkus at the National Moravian-Silesian Theatre in Ostrava. “Both productions are expensive as far as costumes and stage design are concerned. It is a rule that La Bayadere is staged in big theatres due to financial demands and the size of the ballet company. These reasons are a challenge for me we have to handle,” said Štípa. The production team also includes Malgorzata Chojnaca, the assistant to the choreographer, Aleš Valášek, the stage and costume designer, and Martin Špetlík, the light designer.

Apart from classical ballets, Michal Štípa wants to stage modern titles as well. “I would like the ballet repertoire to be balanced. I will try to present classic titles as well as modern and neo-classic works. I would like to use my contacts and invite interesting ballet masters for rehearsals, so that the dancers have the possibility to develop,” Štípa pointed out. The new artistic director will also try to promote the ensemble more in public space by organizing workshops and rehearsals open for the public, for instance.

„Michal Štípa is out of the most outstanding figures of contemporary motion theatre not only in the Czech Republic but in Europe as well. I believe he can hand over his rich experience to our dancers and inspire them in dancing and taking care of their locomotive system. One of Štípa’s assets is cooperation with leading choreographers and theatremakers, which reflects in the way he creates choreographies and chooses guest artists. I think the audience at the Moravian Theatre have a lot to look forward to,” said the director of the Moravian Theatre Olomouc David Gerneš.