Spring is generally the time in the Czech Republic when awards are given out for the best performances and ballet does not fall by the wayside with its presence in the prestigious Thálie and Philip Morris Ballet Flower Awards.
The year 2007 did not bring a flood of high-quality productions and exceptional performances. The Thálie Award was carried off by the soloists of the National Theatre in Prague and the Philip Morris Award was given to the smaller theatres. The winner of the Thálie Award in the category of dance, ballet, pantomime was given to Michal Štípa for his remarkable performance in the leading role of Petr Zuska´s “Solo for Three”, a clever production that combined the songs of Vladimir Vysocky, Karel Kryl and Jacques Brel. In the character of an unbalanced poet, Štípa produced an unexpected change from his traditional “danseur noble” characters. Nikola Márová received the award in the category for the best female performance in the dual role Odetta – Odilia in the production of Swan Lake at the State Opera Prague. It is a fact that some dance performers, among those who include Nikola Márová, truly shone in the more or less average productions. Two members of contemporary and independent dance were also nominated: Helena Arenbergerová and Petr Opavský.
The Philip Morris Ballet Flower Award surprisingly travelled away from the large theatres in Prague and Brno. For the first time, the Grand Prize was given to Ostrava, thanks to the talent of Lukáš Lepold. Last year, he sparkled in two dance-theatre roles: as Romeo in the title role of Prokofjev´s ballet and as Macbeth in Kirill Molčanov´s ballet. What was most surprising was the recipient of the smaller award - Zdeněk Mládek – who took away the award for one of the smallest ballet ensembles in the Czech Republic. The jury gave the award the quality work of this long-time soloist from České Budějovice, and this was a reminder that even in the very difficult conditions of the South Bohemian Theatre, it is possible to still create a solid and quality repertoire, and retain the high technical level of the ensemble. Last year, Zdeněk Mládek drew attention to himself on several occasions, but perhaps most notably for his performance as Claude Froll in the ballet The Hunchback of Notre Dame.