The National Theatre in Prague is hosting a gala performance in honour of the world-renowned Czech ballet dancer Daria Klimentová, who is celebrating twenty years on stage. Born here in the Czech Republic, she has been a prima ballerina at the prestigious English National Ballet in London for the last thirteen years. On Wednesday night, the National Theatre will be the venue of her 1000th stage appearance. I spoke to the dancer just before her rehearsal for tonight’s event:
“Firstly I am Czech and second, the National Theatre is where I started. It was always my dream to dance at the National Theatre so I started there and even though I am not finishing - I am close to the finishing, I wanted to do it here. The National Theatre was so kind that they offered to celebrate it here.”
“Oh my God, that’s a long time ago, its twenty years ago, but I think my first big role was Aurora in Sleeping Beauty, when I was 18.”
Can you tell me about the programme that you have put together for tonight?
“It is mainly from my classical repertoire, there is neoclassical as well and there is going to be and a few modern variations as well. But the main thing was that I wanted to bring my friends to be around me, my partners that I prefer to dance with the most.”
Who are they? Can you mention some of them?
“I will tell you. It was quite unfortunate. I wanted to dance with my favourite partner, but he got injured. His neck and his spine are not all right so I had – at the last minute - to call all the men in the whole world and I have completely different partners now. So it’s really nothing like I planned.”
So it’s a bit of an improvisation.
“Yes, but that’s what makes it exciting.”
“Yes, I am definitely planning to, but it is not going to be my last show. Maybe in the Czech Republic, but I am planning to go a little bit longer, but not another 20 years. That is for sure.”