Skip to main content


Neoclassical ballet

Toccata is the name given to a composition, usually for keyboard, featuring virtuoso passages to show off the musicians’ dexterity. In this case, it refers to the music composed by Otto Bubeníček for his twin brother, the choreographer Jiří Bubeníček, featuring musicians while showcasing the dancers. Two pianists, a violist and a cellist are each dimly spotlighted in a misty backdrop as seven dancers follow the insistent beat of their music. The interplay of three changing couples and a lone dancer portrays the varying emotions of romantic relationships, joyful to melancholy. Said Jiri Bubeníček of this ballet, "What I want to create is not just steps but feelings between people."

Jiří Bubeníček made his choreographic debut at New York City Ballet with “Toccata” in 2009. To the encompassing piano music of Otto Bubeníček, which descends into the depths and then seems audible when it remains silent, a complex choreographic process arises. This is a work inspired by neoclassicism which creates its beauty from flowing dance that resembles a perpetual motion machine. His relentless figurations, whose ingenuity knows hardly any bounds, are fascinating as is the fact that the dancing also touches the human soul because the choreographer going beyond the movements is exploring the emotionality of the dancers who are interacting with each other. This additional level provides the ultimately abstract “Toccata” with an enchanting depth.

Neoclassical ballet

“To Ilona”
Premiere May 13, 2009, New York City Ballet, David H. Koch Theater

Music: Otto Bubeníček (Toccata for two pianos, viola and cello 2009)
Choreography: Jiří Bubeníček
Costumes: Otto Bubeníček, supervised by Marc Happel
Lighting: Mark Stanley

Pianos: Elaine Chelton and Susan Walters
Viola: Maureen Gallagher
Cello: Fred Zlotkin

Dancers: Abi Stafford, Brittany Pollack, Megan Mann, Robert Fairchild, Craig Hall, David Prottas, Andrew Scordato


Prague National Theatre

New York City Ballet



Prague National Theatre © Martin Divíšek | Creation © Rosalie O’Connor | Rehearsal © Felipe Mora



Costume design

Costumes: Otto Bubeníček, supervised by Marc Happel

Links | Reviews | Documents