PRESIDENT OF THE JURY
Choreographer and director, dancer
Petr Zuska is a European-format creator, an extraordinary choreographer within the context of Czech dance who has worked with world-renowned ballet companies. In his works, he brings to bear a broad scale of creative vocabulary, ranging from the high bel canto of the neo-classical style through an innovative approach to modern creation. His productions are sophisticated, full-blooded, reflecting the world of symbols and archetypes, spiritual questions, as well as moral principles. He is among the precious few choreographers capable of imbuing his works with humour, wit and hyperbole.
Petr Zuska graduated from the Music and Dance Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague where he studied choreography and non-verbal theatre direction (1994). During his performing career, he was a soloist in Pantomima Ladislava Fialky in Divadlo Na zábradlí theatre, Prague Chamber Ballet of Pavel Šmok, the Czech National Ballet, ballet companies in Munich, Augsburg and Les Grands Ballets Canadians in Montreal. He performed not only in classical ballet productions, but mainly in productions of renowned contemporary artists (such as Czechs Jiří Kylián, Pavel Šmok and Libor Vaculík, or foreign artists Alvin Ailey, Gerhard Bohner, Robert North, Mats Ek, Hans van Manen, Christopher Bruce, Ohad Naharin, Nacho Duato, Itzik Gallili and others). As a dancer, he performed in many countries of the world. In the 1990s he was also a permanent guest artist at the National Theatre In Brno and Slovak National Theatre in Bratislava.
From 2002 to 2017, Petr Zuska was Artistic Director of the Czech National Ballet in Prague. During his time as head of the company, he produced for the National Theatre six feature-length ballets and numerous other, one-act, pieces. Under Zuska, the Czech National Ballet gave performances on 36 prominent stages globally, including Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Washington D.C., Houston, Athens, Tallinn, Beijing, Shanghai, Paris and Tel Aviv.
Since 1990, Petr Zuska has created choreographies for more than 60 productions for both foreign and Czech companies, including the Hamburg Ballett, Ballett Augsburg, the Semperoper in Dresden, the Latvian National Opera in Riga, the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, the Royal Danish Ballet, the Ballett Deutsche Oper am Rhein, the West Australian Ballet in Perth, the Finnish National Ballet, Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo, the Boston Ballet, the Czech National Ballet and the National Theatre Ballet in Brno, Laterna Magika, the Prague Chamber Ballet, Bohemia Ballet and Ballet Prague Junior and and of course for the Ballet of the National Theater in Prague.
In addition, he has collaborated on directing and choreographing several drama productions. In 2021, he wrote and directed an original production called Therapy for the actors of the Dejvice Theater in Prague.
The numerous prestigious accolades Petr Zuska has received as a dancer and choreographer includes the Thalia Prize (1993 and 1997), the Prix Dom Perignon (1999), the Original Choreography prize within the Modern Dance Competition (2006, 2008), the Choreography of the Year (1996 and 2002), the Czech Literary Fund Prize (1993 and 1994), the Opera Plus Prize (2015 and 2017) for his achievements as the head of the Czech National Ballet and for 25 years of choreographic work, and the Czech Ministry of Culture Award for an achievement in theatre (2017). He was awarded a prize for the best choreography at the ČR BALET 2019 dance festival for his production “A Bouquet” for the Prague Chamber Ballet.