Who is Jiří Bubeníček?

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Jiří Bubeníček, a Czech citizen born in Poland, was an acclaimed dancer before he retired in 2015 to focus on his career as a choreographer. Jiří and his brother Otto, the sons of circus acrobats, began their ballet training at the Prague Dance Conservatory. In 1992, Jiří received an award at the prestigious Prix de Lausanne and a year later, he joined Hamburg Ballet (along with his brother), and became a principal dancer in 1997.

There, he performed all the principal roles in John Neumeier’s repertory and in 2006, he moved to Dresden’s Semperoper Ballet where he was appointed principal dancer. Throughout his dance career, Jiří has won many awards, including the Benois de la Danse in 2002, and has guested with many companies world-wide–including Paris Opera Ballet where he partnered Aurelie Dupont and Agnes Letestu.

Jiří Bubeníček and Dores André rehearse Bubeníčeks Fragile Vessels ©Erik Tomasson

Jiří Bubeníček and Dores André rehearse Bubeníčeks Fragile Vessels ©Erik Tomasson

In 1999, Jiří choreographed his first work, entitled La Foule, for Hamburg Ballet and continued to choreograph many of his over 40 ballets steadily over the years, while dancing. Jiří’s choreography includes Fragile Vessels (2017) for SF Ballet; Toccata for New York City Ballet; Le Souffle de l´Esprit for Zurich Ballet, later staged for Manuel Legris’ Vienna State Ballet, and North Carolina Dance Theater; Unerreichbare Orte for Hamburg Ballet, and Outrenoir for China National Ballet, among others.

Since 2009 Otto and Jiří have collaborated on two projects entitled: Bubeníček Ballet World and Les Ballets Bubeníček. These programs feature works created by the brothers, with choreography by Jiří and other production value such as costume design, by  Otto. In 2005, TV Arte made a documentary film about Jiří and his twin brother Otto called Die Ballett-Zwillinge (The Ballet Twins). In April 2016, Jiří’s full-length Dr. Zhivago, created with Otto, had its world premiere at the Slovenian National Opera and Ballet Theatre.

Jiri Bubeníček and members of San Francisco Ballet rehearse Bubeníček's Fragile Vessels. (© Erik Tomasson)

Jiri Bubeníček and members of San Francisco Ballet rehearse Bubeníček’s Fragile Vessels. (© Erik Tomasson)

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