Ballet after the novel by Milorad Pavić

About Performance

In the region of sea depths and infinity of the sky, we discover encyclopaedic parts of Milorad Pavić’s novel, Dictionary of the Khazars, which reveal the voyage of dream catchers, their diving into somebody else’s and their own dreams and fantasies. Khazars, collectors of dreams, white and black birds in regions of love, with Khazar Princess Ateh’s fast and slow mirrors, build their dystopian alphabet. Through rehearsing of beauty, they dive into the labyrinths of past and future, never knowing into which part of time their thoughts will fall. Today, Khazars are no more, or maybe they are unknown of; they are dispersed throughout the world as thousands and thousands of homeless people, looking for their lost homes, their lost language. We have not discovered the secret, because only those who went very deep know how to come back from the deepest of dreams where the God is, as Pavić says. 

L. P.


I fervently believe in the power of theater
and all my works are archetypes of ritual.
Tomaž Pandur

It is extremely difficult, if not nearly impossible, to bring to a close the biography of Tomaž Pandur. A director whose artistic opus marked Slovene and global theater, who remained faithful to his creative credo and unique style to the very end, sharing his visions, dreams, solitudes, fears and enthusiasm selflessly with his co-workers and fellow travellers. His Immaculata would have opened the season 2016 of Drama in Maribor, and he would have, at least a little, returned to where it all began more than thirty years ago, first with Tespisov voz (Thespis Caravan), and then with the seven years when he ran this theater before he journeyed on to all those places already conquered or places to where he was invited for the first time. Since his first professional performance, Scheherazade, to his last, Faust, in Drama Ljubljana, he experimented with the quintessence of theatrical material. In his laboratory of thought he connected, deconstructed and discovered landscapes of the mythic, archetypal and transcendental, and in the process of performance-making revealed the anatomy and beauty of every moment. Whoever is so fiercely driven to transcend the forms of reality labors as well in research of the human and the divine, that is to say, of the relationship between the living and the dead, between concepts of time and space, mortality, flight into fantasy and conflicts between infinity and finitude. Next to all the titles of his performances, which have marked generations of artists and audiences and unsettled calm, common, steady waters against which he constantly rebelled, those that we will never see on stage in perfected, purified images driven to extreme sensation and feeling, those which we will never find signed in his name, have left the heaviest of seals: next to Immaculata, King Lear in Skopje, A Hundred Years of Solitude in Madrid and Guadalajara, Melancholia in Ballet Ljubljana, Clytemnestra in Merida—the 2016 / 2018 repertoire, written on a piece of paper before he left for the land of Alexander the Great. Tomaž Pandur has, through his global vision, proclaimed his will in order to realize the truth, his own will to power and his will to live, the meaning of life in any given circumstance, where beyond silence lies … imagination. And beauty. And dreams. This is why the creative team would like to dedicate this performance, this voyage into the dreams of Khazars, to our greatest Dream Hunter.

MILORAD PAVIĆ  (1929– 2009)
Milorad Pavić is a Serbian prose writer, poet and historian of Serbian literature (specialising for the period of 17-19th century), expert in Baroque and Symbolism, translator of Pushkin and Byron, university professor, dean of the Faculty of Philosophy in Novi Sad, and since 1991, a member of Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts. Pavić is a novelist, storyteller, poet and playwright. He is known as a writer of non-linear, interactive prose (novels, stories, plays) and is one of the most popular modern writers from the Balkans; his works have been translated into forty languages and published in more than three hundred editions.
Pavić’s works staged in theatres:
Forever and a Day, Chamber Theatre of the City of Voronezh, directed by Mikhail Bichov, 2000 – Voronezh
Dictionary of the Khazars, Theatre Osobniak, directed by Aleksey Slusarchuk, 2002 – Saint Petersburg
Dictionary of the Khazars, Pandur Theaters, directed by Tomaž Pandur, 2002 – Belgrade, Ljubljana
Dictionary of the Khazars, Pandur Theaters, directed by Tomaž Pandur, 2003 – Novi Sad (Sterijino pozorje Festival)
Forever and a Day, Moscow Artistic Academic Theatre “Chekhov”, directed by Vladimir Petrov; 2002 – Moscow
Dictionary of the Khazars, Multimedia performance at the Synagogue, 2003 – Prague
Bed for Three, Lensov Theatre, directed by Vladimir Petrov, 2003 – Saint Petersburg
Dictionary of the Khazars, Neue Akzente Festival, directed by Dorothea Schroeder and Nina Guhlstorff, 2003 – Augsburg
Dictionary of the Khazars, 45 Bleecker Theatre, directed by Erica Gould, 2003 – New York
Bed for Three, Dramteatar, directed by Vitally Zakharov, 2004 – Prokopievsk
Forever and a Day, National Theatre Bitola, directed by Martin Kochovski, April 2004 – Bitola
Forever and a Day, Rhodopean Drama Theatre “Nikolay Haytov” directed by Krasimir Rankov, 2006 – Sofia
Bathroom Wedding, Theatre in Terazije, directed by Saša Gabrić, 2007 – Belgrade
Bed for Three (musical) – Company “Krass”, directed by Maria de Valuhoff, April 2010 – Moscow
Star Cape, Teatrul Mic, directed by Nona Ciobanu, April 2010 – Bucharest
Petkutkin and Kalina  (Play Pavich), Theatre Prijedor, adapted and directed by Gradimir Gojer, 7th May 2011 – Prijedor
Dictionary of the Khazars, Children of Dreams (SłownikChazarski. DzieciSnów), Jan Kochanowski Theatre, directed by Pavel Pasini, 11th February 2012 – Opole, Poland
LEXICON-lite – Female version-remix, Theatre Osobniak, 2016 – Saint Petersburg

After studying dramaturgy at the Academy of Theatre, Radio, Film and Television in Ljubljana, Slovenia,  Livija Pandur worked as a writer and dramaturge on various productions in a number of national and international projects.  From 1991 to 1996 she was the chief dramaturge in The Drama of the Slovenian National Theatre Maribor. Among others she signed dramaturgy in East-West opera ‘Scheherezade’, Goethe’s ‘Faust’, Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’, Merimee’s ‘Carmen’, Dante’s ‘La divina commedia’, Dostoevsky’s ‘Russian Mission’ , Svetina’s ‘Babylon’, directed by Tomaž Pandur. In 1997 she edited and published the theatre monography ‘Pandur’s Theatre Of Dreams‘ and writes essays and  articles for different publications. From 2001 to 2002 she worked at the Thalia Theatre in Hamburg, Germany as dramatist and dramaturge on Dante’s trilogy ‘The Divine Comedy’ (‘Inferno’, ‘Purgatory’, ‘Paradise’), she was the dramaturge and assistant director of Tomaž Pandurs’s projects: ‘Infierno‘ in Teatro Maria Guererro (Centro Dramatico Nacional, Madrid, 2005), ‘Barroco’ (Centro Cultural de la Villa, Madrid, 2007), ‘Hamlet’ (Teatro Español, Madrid, 2009), ‘Medea’ (Festival Merida, 2009), ballet ‘Symphony of Sorrowful Songs’ (Staatsoper Berlin, 2010), ‘Caida de los dioses’ (Teatro Español, Madrid, 2011). Since 2002 Livija Pandur is the director and producer of the theatre organization Pandur.Theaters. She is also the dramaturge of the performances: Pavic’s ‘Dictionary of the Khazars’, ‘Onehundred minutes’ based on The Brothers Karamazov by F.M. Dostoevsky , ‘Tesla Electric Company’, ‘Caligula’ by Camus, ‘War and Peace’ by L. N. Tolstoy and ‘Medea’ by Euripides coproduced by Pandur.Theaters. From 2013 till 2015 she is the co-author of the adaptations and dramaturg of the performances directed by Tomaž Pandur: ‘Richard III+II’ based on W. Shakespeare’s royal tragedies (Slovenian National Theatre Drama Ljubljana), ‘King Lear’ by W. Shakespeare (Athens, Greece) and Goethe’s ‘Faust’ (Centro Dramatico National Madrid 2014; Slovenian National Theatre Drama Ljubljana 2015). In 2016 Livija Pandur staged the performance ‘Immaculate, Hommage á Tomaž Pandur’ in the Slovenian National Theatre Drama Maribor.

Choreographer and Dancer Ronald Savković after finishing his ballet school in Rijeka, Croatia. Year 1990 he joined Budapest Dance Academy in Budapest. After finished Ballet Academy in Year 1992 he became a principal dancer in Slovenian National Theater in Maribor, Slovenia. The beginning of the remarkable creations in  Classical and Contemporary roles lead him to be invited in young age already as a guest artist in Croatian National Theater in Zagreb, Croatia. Collaboration that start in Maribor with famous Slovenian theater director TOMAŽ PANDUR completely has opened a new visions, estethics, point of view at the Theater of 21. Century. 1996. Croatian National Theater in Zagreb has offered him a principal dancer Contract where he Danced until 1998. in variety of Classical and contemporary main roles. In that period National Academy of Art has awarded him with the price for the role in Ballet “ No steps on Grass …. Fallen Angels “ by Ivan Favier. 1998 the beginning of his most important move in the career is becoming a principal dancer of first StaatsOper Unter den Linden and later StaatsBallet Berlin, where he has worked with world famous choreographers. Patrice Bart, Rudolph Nurejev, George Balanchine, John  Cranko, Peter Martins, William Forsythe, Mauric Béjart, Jiri Kylián, Sir Kenneth MacMillan, Nacho Duato, Vladimir Malakhov, Angelin Preljocaj, Christian Spuck, Pierre Lacotte, Boris Eifman, Marguerite Donlon,Sir Frederick Ashton etc. Several awards has in that period been given, another Award from Croatian Academy of Art for the Role of prince Albrecht in Giselle in 2007, 2008 and 2009 he has been Awarded in New York as Star of the 21 Century. His career takes another path in 2008 where he dedicates himself entirely to the work as Choreographer in Ballets, Operas and Drama Theater. Some of his most remarkable choreographical works are :”Shut up and Dance “ Staatsballet Berlin “ Transparente “ Staatsballet Berlin, “ Symphony of Sorrowful Songs “ Staatsballet Berlin  , “ Romeo and Juliet “ National Theater in Sarajevo“ Alexander “National Theatre in Belgrade“ Samson and Delilah” National Theatre  in Skopje, Macedonia , “Shut up and Dance“, “ Nutcracker “, “Four seasons “, “ Carmen“ in National Theater in Rijeka, Croatia, “ Songs Without Words “ Croatian National Theater in Zagreb, “Cinderella “ Israeli Ballet Tel Aviv, “Don Quijote“ National Ballet in Sarajevo. Since 2008 he started his collaboration with famous Friedrichstadpalast Berlin, where he choreographed in “ QI”, YMA”, “SHOW ME “ and latest “ THE ONE GRAND SHOW “ Caligula St Gallen Tanz theater. He also worked as a choreographer in theatre productions of Tomaž Pandur : “ Caligula”, “Medea“, “Symphony of Sorowful Songs “, “La Caida de los Dioses“

His involvement in electronic dance music brought him a vast experience in sampling and synthesis of sound, while his academic education took a part in theoretical music, composition and recording, which altogether kept him constantly going through many genres and music-making methods, creating his own sonic world without technical boundaries, the playground for exploration, dance and drama. Studied at University Of Novi Sad – Academy Of Arts, department of music and dramatic arts. Involved in many social and humanitarian projects in Serbia and abroad. Former radio editor, scriptwriter, music producer. Professionally involved in music composition and production of contemporary electronic music for the last 13 years. His first radio feature was on the British BBC radio during the year 2003. After that period he signed more than 110 releases on the labels worldwide with several projects and pseudonyms behind which he works and which he presented on stages in Serbia, United Kingdom, Japan, Brazil, France, Thailand, Switzerland, Croatia, Hungary, Slovenia, Germany, Sweden, Romania, Greece, etc. He is a regular guest at annual events and festivals in most of these countries. In 2011 he wrote a complete musical composition for “Vices of Humanity” Play for Movement Theater, and during the years he worked on applied music for television, film and advertising. He wrote and produced the entire score for “Babylon” theater play. During 2014 he wrote, orchestrated and recorded full time score for “Ad Infinitum” play which won numerous awards and honors. The unique musical language of this scores is based on the classical cinematic and symphonic sections in parallel with a gentle acoustic atmospheres and epic or lyrical themes.

Angelina graduated from the Stage and Costume Department of the Faculty of Applied Arts in Belgrade in 1985. She has been designing costumes and sets for theatrical productions since 1984. Her work spans over hundred and fifty theatre plays, ballets, operas, dance performances, children’s and puppet plays. She worked as a costume designer on three feature films. Her major design credits include – Sleeping Beauty, ballet, Mikhailovsky Theater, Saint Petersburg, Russia 2011 – Poisoned Tunic, Fomenko Studio, Moscow, Russia 2002 – Barrocco, Culture Centre Madrid, Spain 2007 – Theater Illusions, Yugoslav Drama Theatre, Belgrade, Serbia 1991. Since 2000, Angelina worked across Europe and US for acclaimed theater and dance companies, such as: – Germany - Staatsballett Berlin, Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden – Russia, Moscow - Bolshoi Theatre, Fomenko Studio and Mikhailovsky theatre in Saint Petersburg, – USA, New York - Marta Graham Dance Company – Spain - Teatro Español, Compañía Nacional de Danza, Centro Dramático Nacional, Centro Cultural de la Villa in Madrid, – Greece - National Theatre in Athens and Thessaloniki, Epidaurus Festival, – Turkey - Istanbul Municipal Theatre, – Italy - CSS Teatro stabile di inovazione del FVG in Udine, – Sweden - Interkult in Stockholm, – Slovenia - Slovene National Theatre Drama in Ljubljana, SNG Drama and Opera in Maribor, – Macedonia - Macedonian National Theatre, – Montenegro - National Theatre and Budva Theatre City. Awards: 2013 Lifetime Achievement award, ULUPUDS 2012 Belgrade, Serbia, 2010 Award for Drama Arts, Budva Theatre City Festival, Montenegro, 2009 Spain, MAX Award for the best costume design 2005 Serbian Grand Prize for Design and Applied Arts, awarded by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Serbia 2004 Greece, Atinorama Award for the best costume design 2002 Russia, SEAGULL. Awarded five times for the best costume design “Sterija” Theatre Festival. Theatre Journal Scena pronounced her the best costume designer four times in a row.

Numen/For Use is a Croatian-Austrian design collective working in the fields of scenography, industrial and spatial design and conceptual art. The group first formed in 1998 as a collaborative effort of product designers Sven Jonke, Christoph Katzler and Nikola Radeljković under the banner For Use.In 1999 they establish Numen as a collective identity covering all projects actualised outside the sphere of industrial design. From 2004 onwards, after completing an extensive site-specific installation for the production of “Inferno” in the National Centre for Drama in Madrid, Numen/For Use become strongly involved with scenography. Further realisations in theatres across Europe ensue. In 2008 the collective turns its focus towards configuring objects and concepts without a predefined function, an activity resulting in the more hybrid and experimental works such as the N-Light series and a whole spectrum of immersive large-scale installations (Tape, Net, Tuft, Tube and String) which are currently featured in public spaces and art galleries around the globe. The collective won many prestigious awards such as Brit Insurance Award London, a Design Award at International Design Festival DMY Berlin, two gold medals at Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space, two Borštnikov scenography awards, two Red Dot Awards for product design and German Design Council Award to name a few. They exhibited at Danish Design Center, Ars Electronica, Design Museum London, Watts Institute of Contemporary Art/CCA San Francisco, Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, Spiral Gallery Tokyo, Zou-na-hanna Terrace Yokohama, Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi Florence, Färgfabriken Stockholm, Centro Cultural FIESP in Sao Paulo and Palais de Tokyo in Paris among others. 

Jaša Koceli obtained degrees in Sociology and Theatre Directing in Ljubljana. During the previous five years, he has staged twelve professional performances in several Slovene theatres, which were mainly authorship projects and adaptations of published texts. He staged The Trojan Women by Euripides in season 2017/2018 in SNT Nova Gorica,. As an assistant director, he has cooperated with renowned stage directors. He worked with Tomaž Pandur on the production of Faust in the SNT in Ljubljana, which toured worldwide. Jaša Koceli is also involved in lighting design in the performances he stages, as well as in two ballet productions of SNT Opera and Ballet in Ljubljana, The Meat of the Heart and Symphony of Sorrowful Songs.

Sonja Vukićević is a ballerina, a choreographer and a director. As a member of the Ballet Company of the National Theatre, she has cooperated with choreographers Lavrovski, Parlić, Šparemblek, Vera Kostić, and interpreted the whole classical and neoclassical repertory, the roles of Myrtha (Giselle), Darinka (Darinka’s Gift), Deborah (Golem), Aphrodite (The Triumph of Aphrodite), Captain Hook (Peter Pan) and roles in performances The Afternoon of a Fawn, The Legend of Ohrid and in the opera Carmen. She danced in other ballet theatres in ex-Yugoslavia and authored first performances of contemporary dance in Serbia.  Vukićević’s choreographies (and interpretations) in the Yugoslav Drama Theatre are Don Juan, Hamlet, Nora, Born in YU, Discussion, Nijinsky, Salome, Mein Kampf, Blue Bird, Mario and a Magician, Calling the Birds, Jokester. She has been awarded with several annual recognitions from the YDT for these performances.  Sonja Vukićević designed choreographies for drama performances staged by Dušan Jovanović, Ljubiša Ristić, Haris Pašović, Gorčin Stojanović, Irfan Mensur, Ivana Vujić, Nikita Milivojević, Radmila Vojvodić, Aleksandar Popovski, Saša Milenkovski, Tomaž Pandur, Snežana Trišić, etc. Her independent career as a choreographer and a director has taken place in the Centre for Cultural Decontamination. The projects she staged are Macbeth/THAT (1996), Alzheimer (1998), Process (1998), Midsummer Night’s Dark (1999); first independent production for Bitef, Circus History (2006); in Serbian National Theatre: Carmina Burana and The Patriots. She has also interpreted roles in films and she has been involved in sculpturing.  She has received the “Dimitrije Parlić” Award, the Award of the City of Belgrade, Award of ABAS for lifetime achievement, etc.




Premiere performance

Premiere May 19 2018 /

Main stage
National Theatre in Belgrade and Opera and Theatre Madlenianum

Ballet in one act
Based on the novel by Milorad Pavić
Composer Miroslav Bako
Direction, Dramaturgy Livija Pandur
Choreography Ronald Savković
Costumes Angelina Atlagić
Light Design Jaša Koceli

Premiere Cast:
Sonja Vukićević, guest artist
Sanja Ninković, Milica Jević Drndarević, Tijana Šebez, Olga Olćan
Ljiljana Velimirov, Maja Stojakov, Mina Radaković
Dejan Kolarov, Taylor Clow, Davide Buffone, Miloš Živanović
Marco Luzi, Nicola Bianco, Remi Buyens

Acting Director of the Ballet Company Konstantin Kostjukov
Assistant Director of the Ballet Company Miloš Dujaković
Organisers  Brankica Knežević and Gojko Davidović
Ballet Rehearsal Associates baleta Marija Vještica
Video Projections Petar Antonović
Assistant Set Designer Ivana Lovre
Assistant Costume Design  Srđan Perić
Light Operator Vlado Marinkovski
Make-Up  Marko Dukić
Stage Master Zoran Mirić
Sound Operator Perica Ćurković
Stage Manager Brankica Pljaskić