The history of the ballet company

The beginnings of the Pilsen ballet go back to the mid-1860's and Pilsen theatre belongs to those with a long ballet tradition. The ballet company in Pilsen was formed under the leadership of Jana Freisingerová between 1902 and 1912. The company's activities were very modest and the repertory very small until 1945 as ballet often played a background role in operas and operettas.

Josef Škoda (1948–1951) gave the company solid professional basis.

The important milestone in the ballet history of Pilsen was the arrival of Jiří Němeček as the Head of the ballet company. The dramaturgy of his era (1951–1957) built on Škoda's foundations - it brought further works from the world production and particularly from the Soviet repertory, but also emphasised new Czech production. Ballet productions with inventive choreography, drama and effective plot with consistent direction helped promote the Pilsen ballet company among leading Czech ballet companies.

Němeček left to lead the ballet company at the National Theatre in Prague and Luboš Ogoun took his place for the period of 1957–1961. He realised his programme of transforming the dance art and he found a new technically-demanding style which required a broad interpretation maturity and aptitude.

Between 1967 and 2003, many distinctive personalities of the Czech dance art alternated as Heads of the ballet company and helped the company grow and transform into today's shape. The repertory included works of traditional classical legacy, progressive productions as well as original choreographies created directly for the Pilsen ensemble. 

Jiří Pokorný has been the Head of the ballet company since the 2003/04 season and he seeks a broad genre range. In practice it means regular productions of world classics and a search for titles that bring new choreographies and directorial processes.


Heads of the ballet company

  • • 1948–1951 Josef Škoda
  • • 1951–1957 Jiří Němeček
  • • 1957–1961 Luboš Ogoun
  • • 1961–1967 Věra Untermüllerová
  • • 1967–1981 Gustav Voborník
  • • 1981–1990 František Tichý
  • • 1990–1992 Zdena Nemcová
  • • 1992–1995 Jiří Žalud
  • • 1995–1997 Robert Balogh
  • • 1997–2003 Pavel Ďumbala
  • • 2003 Jiří Pokorný