A graduate in dance at The Ján Levoslav Bella Conservatory in Banská Bystrica, Mr Petrovič holds an additional degree in teaching classical dance from the Faculty of Music and Dance of The Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava. After completion of his studies at the conservatory, he joined the professional Štúdio tanca dance theatre in Banská Bystrica where he worked with the choreographer Zuzana Ďuricová-Hájková.
Once he relocated to Bratislava, he became one of the founding members of the professional dance group Dajv led, at the time, by Marta Poláková. His further fate in dance was influenced by dancers, choreographers and tutors Russell Maliphant, Julyen Hamilton, Martin Kilvády, Marta Poláková, Chrysa Parkinson, Jaro Viňarský, Giorgio Barberio Corsetti, and Viliam Dočolomanský. After he left Slovakia, he was with the Editta Braun Company (Salzburg), Fatou Traoré (Brussels), Giorgio Barberio Corsetti (Rome), Fatore Kappa Physical Theatre (Rome), and Jean Abreu Dance Company (London).
In addition to dance, Mr Petrovič is into film. He has co-authored and choreographed the dance film The Day, made in 2004 in collaboration with the choreographer Juraj Korec and the director Jozef Vlk.
Since 2007 he is member of the internationally acclaimed Akram Khan Company (London), where he was one of the foremost dancers and still is the assistant to the choreographer Akram Khan. Mr Petrovič participated in the production of iTMOi (in The Mind Of igor), (MC2: Grenoble 2013) made to mark the centenary of the opening of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring. As assistant to Akram Khan and principal dance master, he continues in staging works by Akram Khan worldwide. The two have collaborated on preparing the opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. They also jointly prepared the production of the modern adaptation of the ballet Giselle (2016) for the English National Ballet v London and its subsequent staging for international ballet stages.
In the recent years, Andrej Petrovič also focuses on his own works. His own projects include such productions as The Tempest – part Caliban (SND Bratislava 2014), Fifth (Kecskemét City Ballet Budapest 2014), Rashomon Effect (National Youth Dance Company – Sadler’s Wells Theatre London 2014), or L / One of the Seven (Theatre Ponec Prague 2016) – the first solo in the given cycle on lust (Lust), made for the dancer Martina Hajdyla Lacová. For her performance of the work she was nominated for the 2016 Thália Prize. The second part in the cycle – solo P / One of the Seven (Station Žilina-Záriečie 2019) focuses on pride (Pride). Mr Petrovič was member of the creative team, assistant director and assistant choreographer in the most recent performance by Viliam Dočolomanský and the company Farm in the Cave entitled Refuge DOX Centre for Contemporary Art, Prague 2018), where he is also part of the cast.
In 2018 he worked with the Department of Dance at The Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava to create, together with the students, dance production Trust. For the Slovak National Theatre Ballet he choreographed Michelle into a five-part show Beatles Go Baroque (2018) to the music by Peter Breiner. In a duet of two ladies he plays out the confrontation of youth and ageing, given that, for ballerinas, middle-age essentially means old age. The paradox of the impossibility of using the experience and mature perspective, limitation posed by the worn body reconcile in the duet through the acceptance and mutual respect.
Choreographic art of Andrej Petrovič is epitomised by the intersection of his international experience as performing artist and choreographer, and their application to the specific context in Slovakia. It is manifested by thorough work with stylisation of all aspects involved, in the balance of the expression and perfectionism within the purity of dance technique and dance that is brought to perfection. Even in any rough piece, his chosen symbolism is a potent source for explosive imagination. In his case, the fantasy interactions aren’t merely mesmerising, but they also capture the deep and often concealed multi-layered theme. Into the dance they bring excitement from the discovery of the unforeseen links. Mr Petrovič works thoughtfully and minimalistically with detail of the set design process, he uses it to define the map of the stage. He creates a unique focal point on stage. With its seeming inappropriateness it makes clear the absurdity of the cumulating storyline, creating a counterpoint to the dynamic curve of the dance the chair in the production L / One of the Seven, that serves as dramaturgical anchor for the female dancer, deer antlers in the dance production 4 heads that polarise the juiciness and exaggerated hedonism of the theme, or the table that fill the stage of the Slovak National Theatre in The Tempest / Caliban, that serves as the point of encounter, a cage for the conflict between Prospero and Caliban.
The dance itself fully uses, in his choreographies, the diapason of expression – from the polysemic statics with a defined visual aspect, to the virtually ecstatic climax of dance and acting. These creative approaches have become apparent in his work already in 2014, when the Slovak national theatre invited him to work on the Shakespeare title The Tempest as co-author of the three-part ballet. He featured as author in the second part with his own piece, Caliban.
In the dance libretto he abstracted the conflict between Prospero and the spontaneous Caliban into the duet of a sophisticated intellectual (Peter Dedinský) and inherently passionate and unpredictable creature (Andrej Cagáň). The visually charged image contains in the opening, similarly to the music overture (music by Peter Zagar), the motives of the universally familiar libretto. Mr Petrovič plays out the relationship between Caliban and Prospero within the space of the construction of the oversize able or ring to which Caliban remains attached by chain. That this opens the Pandora’s Box of the tension between intellect and passion. The construction allows to combine ballet language with the exaggerated opportunities of the extent of movement and athletic acrobatics. That brings to space masculine elements and the tension of risk. The drama is set in delicately positioned aesthetics of images with precisely synchronised elements, light design, music, choreography and performative engagement. Mr Petrovič thus reaffirms his perfectionism in using the minimalist material.
Minimalism is also the main feature of the dance solo L / One of Seven (music Ben Frost and Amon Tobin) that Mr Petrovič made for the most gifted Slovak dancer Martina Hajdyla Lacová (ed. note: Ms Hajdyla Lacová is the founder of the ME-SA ensemble), the laureate of the prestigious Czech award, the 2015 Dancer of the Year. Her solo in the production also earned her nomination for the Czech Actors’ Association award, the 2015 Thália.
L / One of Seven is the first in the solo series where Mr Petrovič explores the theme of the seven mortal sins. He is inspired by Danteh Alighieri’s Divine Comedy. L stands for Lust – longing, passion, pleasure, adultery. In the solo, the choreographer explores the opulence of lust through the fascinating monologue of a beautiful woman. Mr Petrovič places on stage a single persona – woman whose thirst shall never be satiated. In the opening part, a silhouette of a white chair/royal throne, along with the fragments of body – shoulders, palms and especially the face, emerge from the darkness. The body is consumed by the symbol of power, it becomes part of the silhouette of the throne, embracing and appropriating it. In the end it sits on the throne in a dominant pose. The longing distorts the shell of self-control, the passion seeps through in the rupture of poses and the female dancer gradually sets herself in motion in the space. The dynamics and tension of movement gradate into the self-destructive ecstatic dance. The dancer lets herself be consumed by passion and lust, becoming their helpless instrument and getting caught in the cycle of the deformed unlimited passion.
Andrej Petrovič is fascinated by the thin line between hell and heaven, the proximity of good and evil, beauty and ugliness, ratio and instincts, their interplay and the danger of crossing these borders. All that has become manifesto in his yet another piece, 4 heads.
The production 4 heads is part of a three-part project 3x20 of the Štúdio tanca dance theatre in Banská Bystrica. In addition to 4 heads, it includes the productions Right angle by Tibor Truli and e(x) by Lukáš Homola. Mr Petrovič plays out here the movement interactions immersed into abstract images. Four dancers become the seekers of different sources of pleasure and delight that give him hedonistic satisfaction and create an illusion of freedom. Their caricature unveils the absurdity of the world with heaven and hell coexisting in the same time and place – The Garden of Delights by Hieronymus Bosch.
Andrej Petrovič has come across as the master of creating something close to the Greenaway atmosphere on stage. In addition to its own story, each character brings on stage an untold secret. Though it doesn’t become part of the storyline, it remains a disturbing element that keeps the attention of the spectator.
A list of original works:
2013 – iTMOi (in The Mind Of igor), Akram Khan Company, choreography and directed by: Akram Khan, creative collaboration, assistant choreographer and director: Andrej Petrovič. Première: Akram Khan Company MC2: Grenoble
2014 – The Tempest, part Caliban, Ballet SND, directed by: Jozef Vlk, choreography: Andrej Petrovič. Première: Slovak National Theatre, Bratislava
2014 – The Fifth, Kecskemét City Ballet Budapest, choreography and directed by: Andrej Petrovič. Première: Kecskemét City Ballet, Budapest
2014 – The Rashomon Effect, National Youth Dance Company – Sadler’s Wells Theatre London, directed by: Akram Khan, choreography: Andrej Petrovič. Première: National Youth Dance Company – Sadler’s Wells Theatre, London
2016 – Giselle, English National Ballet, London, choreography and directed by: Akram Khan, creative collaboration, assistant director and assistant choreographer, dance master for rehearsals: Andrej Petrovič. Première: English National Ballet, London
2016 – L / One of the Seven, ME-SA, Theatre Ponec, choreography and directed by: Andrej Petrovič. Première: Theatre Ponec, Prague
2018 – 3x20, part 4 heads, Štúdio tanca dance theatre, Banská Bystrica, choreography and directed by: Andrej Petrovič. Première: Štúdio tanca dance theatre, Banská Bystrica
2018 – Refuge , Farm in the Cave, concept, choreography and directed by: Viliam Dočolomanský, assistant directors and assistant choreographers: Andrej Petrovič and Hana Varadzinová. Première: Farm in the Cave, DOX Centre for Contemporary Art, Prague
2018 – Beatles Go Baroque, part Michelle, Slovak National Theatre, choreography and directed by: Andrej Petrovič. Première: Slovak National Theatre, Bratislava
2018 – Fabric Body Move, Nový priestor, concept: Andrej Petrovič, Maroš Baran, choreography: Andrej Petrovič. Première: Art Books Coffee, Bratislava
2019 – Atlas, Liptov Dancee Theatre, Liptovský Hrádok, theme and choreography: Andrej Petrovič. Première: Drama Hall and Culture Centre, Liptovský Hrádok.
Videos from productions:
Tempest, part Caliban, 2014
Author of the trailer: Ivan Ölvecký
Archive of the Theatre Institute, Bratislava
L / One of seven, 2016
Author of the trailer: Maroš Baran
archive of the ME-SA
3x20, part 4 heads, 2018
Author of the trailer: Ján Viazanička
archive of the Štúdio tanca dance theatre, Banská Bystrica