About me

Michaił Zubkov

Michail Zubkov was born on March 10, 1962 in Ufa (Russia) in an intelligentsia family. His father, Yuri Zubkov, was a teacher, and his mother, Ariadna Makarova, a doctor. In 1969, he began his education in elementary school, and in 1974 he was admitted to the Perm State Choreographic College (Russia).

After graduating from the Perm State Choreographic College (Russia) in 1980, he began his dancer career at the Nizhniy Novgorod State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre (Russia). From 1985, he continued in the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre in Vilnius. He took part in international dance projects and workshops in Israel and Great Britain. In 1992, he was invited to the position of a ballet soloist for the Krakow Opera. In the artistic season of 1992/1993 he worked as a ballet teacher. He was associated with this institution until 2002.

During the 22 years of stage practice, he danced in ballets with the classical repertoire (Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, Giselle, Raymonda, Don Quixote, and others) and performances by contemporary choreographers.

During the Vilnius period, working with the folk ensemble “Fajerleh” (Lithuania), he began to try his hand as a choreographer. Using the knowledge gained in this ensemble, he developed dance arrangements for J. Bock’s musical Fiddler on the Roof directed by Marek Weiss-Grzesiński. The play was staged at the Juliusz Słowacki Theatre in Krakow by the Krakow Opera in 1993. The spectacle became the first significant choreographic creation by Zubkov, which was appreciated by the public and received good reviews in the press. In the years 1993-1995 he choreographed programs for TVP Krakow (one of the regional branches of the TVP, Poland’s public television) – Cali Galicyjskie directed by Krzysztof Jasiński.

The next step in the professional career was the establishment of the ballet group Oranim Dance Group in 1995. The choreography of performances (Miniatures of Jewish Dances, Only Jokes, Jewish Wedding, The Dark Side of the Mirror, My Chopiniana, At the Table, and others) forming the band’s repertoire are by Michail Zubkov. In July 1996, Oranim Dance Group performed with its spectacles on the stage of the Juliusz Słowacki Theatre in Krakow. In 1999-2001, the group took part in the Music World Festival in Fivizzano, Italy. In 2000, Oranim Dance Group became the laureate of this festival. In 2001, Michail Zubkov received a special jury award For the best choreography of the Music World Festival. The band has performed on many stages in Poland and abroad. In February 2002, he presented fragments of his spectacles at the Polish Institute in Paris. A year earlier, Michail Zubkov won the Second Prize in the competition Le Printemps de la Dance in Bordeaux (France).

In the years 2000-2002 he collaborated as a dancer with the Cracovia Danza Court Ballet (Poland) (Tancrède, Coffee Cantata, and others.), later in 2008-2011 as a classical and contemporary dance teacher and choreographer (in artistic season 2008/2009 educational program for the National Philharmonic in Warsaw Dancing Europe, in June 2011 co-author of choreography for the play Colors of Poland According to Karol Szymanowski).

In 2005, he became a finalist of the 10th International Competition of Ballet Artists and Choreographers in Moscow (Russia).

At the Music World Festival, the artist met with another winner of this event — the National Song and Dance Ensemble “Śląsk” in memory of Stanisław Hadyna (Poland). At the invitation of the Directorate of the Ensemble, he assumed the position of a ballet pedagogue and choreographer at the “Śląsk” Song and Dance Ensemble. Waltz to Wojciech Kilar’s music was the first choreography for “Śląsk”, prepared on the occasion of the composer’s benefit at the Theatre Scena STU in Krakow. In 2003, for the Ballet Ensemble “Śląsk”, he created the spectacle Wróżby (eng. Divinations) for music by S. Moniuszko. In the 2003/2004 artistic season, he was the ballet’s manager. In 2008, he was the choreographer for the spectacle Goran Bregovic and Śląsk Ensemble.

In 2009, he graduated from the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music (Dance Department), and in 2013 at the same University, he completed postgraduate studies in Theory of Dance.

In the academic year 2009/2010 he worked as a classical and contemporary dance teacher at the Spazio Nu Dance School in Pontedera, Italy.

On September 18, 2010, on the stage of the Ludwik Solski AST National Academy of Theatre Arts in Krakow, as part of The Lesser Poland Mecenate programme — Culture Without Borders, led by the Association for Support and Development of Ballet Art L’Art de la Dance the spectacle Letters of George Sand to F. Chopin’s music in choreography by M. Zubkov was released. On November 5 and 6, the performance was staged in Lyon (France) and year later (on November 25, 2011), it was presented at the XX jubilee edition at the Krakow Ballet Meetings in the Nowa Huta Cultural Centre in Krakow.

In 2012, he represented Poland as a finalist of the 6th International Sergei Diaghilev Competition of Choreographic Art in Lodz, Poland.

On May 6, 2013, Michail Zubkov was awarded The Bronze Medal for Long Service by the President of the Republic of Poland.

Spectacles Carmina Burana (May 25, 2013) and The Nutcracker (December 20, 2013), choreographed by M. Zubkow, were created in cooperation with the Symphony Orchestra of the Czestochowa Philharmonic and the Social Ballet School in Czestochowa.

The international project Polish-Norwegian folk dance inspirations ended with joint concerts of the “Śląsk” ensemble and the folk dance ensemble “Strilaringen” in Norway, (August 19-25, 2014) was an event in which Zubkow took part as a teacher and choreographer.

In November 2014, at the National Conference Dance in global culture. Profits and losses organised by the Scientific Association of Dance Theory at the Dance Department of the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music in Warsaw, he gave a lecture entitled Mazur dance journey to St. Petersburg.

On the stage of the Grand Theatre in Lodz in 2016, the premiere of the play Suite in olden style (music by Alfred Schnittke, choreography by Michail Zubkov) took part. It was performed by students of the Feliks Parnell State Secondary Ballet School in Lodz.

Helokanie from the South was another international project in which Zubkow participated. On 5-11 March, 2017, together with the dancers of “Śląsk” at the headquarters of the “SĽUK” ensemble (Bratislava), he run workshops on Polish national dances.

In October 2016, as part of the 4th edition of the Unsound Festival (Krakow), the dancers of the “Śląsk” Song and Dance Ensemble presented the Soft Power project. The spectacle received a positive review in the Guardian. The choreographer of the spectacle was Michail Zubkov. On December 8, 2017, Soft Power was presented during the London edition of the Unsound Festival at the Barbican Center. In November 2019, it will be exhibited in New York.

On 17 April, 2018, Michail Zubkov was awarded by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland with The Decoration of Honor Meritorious for Polish Culture.

On April 27, 2019, the premiere of the two-part performance of the National Song and Dance Ensemble “Śląsk” in memory of Stanisław Hadyna to the music of Wojciech Kilar’s Preludium and Exodus in the choreography by Michail Zubkov took place at the Bytom Cultural Center.

The Soft Power and Exodus projects were created as part of the international cultural program Poland 100! coordinated by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, implemented under the NIEPODLEGŁA Program for the years 2017-2022 financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.

Currently (since 2002), he is a classical dance pedagogue and choreographer at the National Song and Dance Ensemble “Śląsk” in memory of Stanisław Hadyna. From 2006, he is the founder and artistic director of the International Contemporary Dance Summer School in Koszęcin. He cooperates with many artistic teams and schools in the country (Ludomir Różycki State Ballet School in Bytom, Feliks Parnell State Ballet School in Lodz, and others) and abroad (Germany, Italy, France, Lithuania, Slovakia, Greece, Norway, and others). He conducts classical, contemporary, and Jewish dance workshops throughout Europe, performs theatre shows as a choreographer and director. Zubkov is a judge at national and international dance festivals and competitions (Dance World Cup 2013 Poland, Dance Revolution 2014-2017 Lithuania, 9th International Choreographic Competition for Ballet School Students in Bytom 2016 Poland, Polish National Dances Festival for State Ballet School Students 2016, 2017, and others).

A few reviews:

Jacek Świąder. Reviews and Reports of the Journalist of Gazeta Wyborcza at www.ktosruszalmojeplyty.com

October 28, 2016
“I entered Felicita’s concert with “Śląsk” and, as somebody wiser would say, I experienced. It began with an earthquake, the music was sharp, expressive, but the rhythm was hidden. It seemed that dancers — in well-known, traditional choreographies — must be fully focused, at the edge of the explosion, to maintain synchronisation. Every once in a while, as a sign of Felicita’s sampler taken from folk music, the choreography changed. Over time, the sound walked away from radicalism and modernity towards the folk, and the movements of the dancers included longer sequences of contemporary dance. It was a surprising show and certainly the best international collaboration of those I’ve seen in the last few editions of Unsound. The music was fresh and adapted to the place and biography of the dancers’ group, the dance also showed me the unknown face of “Śląsk”, the common quality was very high”.

November 3, 2016
“Felicita introduced PC Music, a musical genre that irritates me more than it fascinates, plus dancers from Stanisław Hadyna’s “Śląsk” Song and Dance Ensemble — these kinds of designs usually look great from behind the desk, where they are invented, but in practice they turn out to be a spectacular catastrophe. So I came to see how the Titanic drowns, and she waved goodbye to me and flew away to the stars. (….) “Śląsk”, on the one hand, danced their usual folk pattern, which I expected, but on the other — introduced extensive elements of modern dance, brave choreography over which they had to really sweat. The performance, which could only be grotesque, turned out to be a completely new, refreshing story that has great potential and which I really count on. Bravo!”
Joanna Brych taniec.blog.polityka.pl

May 27, 2018
“… However, the positive cast change in the Suite in olden style in the choreography by Michail Zubkov to the music by Alfred Schnittke made that this evening had a much better end than the beginning. The whole confirmed the potential of the ensemble…”.
Katarzyna Gardzina-Kubała www.naczubkachpalcow.pl/

May 25, 2018
“…The evening was crowned with the Suite in olden style, choreographed by Michail Zubkov for the music of Alfred Schnittke. The soloists and corps de ballet of the Great Theatre of Lodz were magnificent…”
Anna Bieńkowska http://theaterdlawas.pl 20 Krakow BalletOFF Meetings

November 25-27, 2011
“After these spectacles, it was the turn of the most-anticipated point of the evening (and rightly so!), namely Letters of George Sand. An impressive spectacle was given without a hint of showing off. Captivating minimalism, no unnecessary decorations — just a piano and a chair — left plenty of room for a good play. It went without biographical details and puff pieces straight from school celebrations, though Sand and Chopin were great artists, without doubt. The focus was on transmitting the climate of this loud romance into a show of emotion. And all based on fragments of letters and music by Chopin, Szymanowski and Sati. So we saw Aurora — in this role a genius King Szablowska — a radiant intoxication, frozen in longing, wandering in doubt and overwhelmed with helplessness, to despair, in which you cannot even cry … This multidimensionality seemed all the more striking with the poverty used measures. The motion echoing in the void, or perhaps the music vibrating in motion, introduced a strange kind of peace. The space was distilled in some way. It would be nice to cite Sartre’s remarks about the metallicity of music, which detaches from the intrusive “stickiness” of the world. It allows you to stay out of everyday life for a moment.
The performance would perfectly defend itself as a monodrama, but it is impossible not to mention other dancers who presented admirable skills. The same should be said about Przemysław Winnicki playing piano songs live. Bravo!”

Ewa Siemdaj, Gazeta Krakowska, Fiddler on the Roof, Krakow Opera, premiere on June 13-14 at the Słowacki Theatre.

“… and Michail Zubkov’s ingenious and adequate to music choreography is played on a level not seen on the stage of the Słowacki Theatre for a long time.”

Jerzy Parzynski, Fiddler on the Roof, the Krakow Opera, premiere on June 13-14 at the Słowacki Theatre.

“I looked at the dance arrangements with pleasure: modest in means, and pure in expression, hit in style and skilfully woven into the course of action.”

“The Bytom premiere of Exodus is not the first such an innovative combination of folk and contemporary culture with the participation of artists from the “Śląsk” Song and Dance Ensemble. In 2016, the choreographer and pedagogue of the “Śląsk” ensemble, Michail Zubkov, created a choreography combining elements of folk dance: oberek, mazur and highland dances, with contemporary dance. A group of ten ballet artists from the “Śląsk” ensemble danced to the hypnotic sounds of electronic music, in costumes with folk elements. The project delighted the audience at the Unsound Festival in Krakow. In the reviews appeared, among others statements, that it was “a touching affirmation of how cultures can co-exist, keeping their own voices”. The Soft Power project was also successfully presented in 2017 during the London edition of the Unsound Festival. (…) According to the Hitchcock principle, it began with an earthquake, and later the tension grew. Classical figures of Polish national dances have been subjected to creative stylisations, treated as a modern expression of tradition. Tradition combined with electronic music is surprising, it turns out to be very up-to-date and attractive” — reported from London Jacek Hawryluk, a journalist from Gazeta Wyborcza.