Ballet – from 1960 to 1990

The period began with four operational ballet companies, but as time went by the independent activities of the ballet company within the Jonáš Záborský Theatre in Prešov gradually ceased, and the number of premieres in Banská Bystrica went down. Each of the ballet companies going through an interesting, sometimes even hectic period of development, with various artistic and personnel changed.
The activities of the Slovak National Theatre – Ballet during this period were determined by a succession of highly respected Artistic Directors, starting with Karol Toth (1961-1972) and proceeding with Boris Slovak (1973-1980), Karol Toth again (1980-1989) and finally Emil Tomaš Bartko, who led the ballet company until halfway through the 1990s.
The Ballet Ensemble of the State Theatre Košice continued with its activity under the leadership of Stanislav Remar until the end of September 1969, when he was replaced by choreographer Marilena Halaszova. After she left it took two seasons to find a new Artistic Director. In 1982 the ballet company came under the leadership of Juraj Goga, who stayed in the position until the 1990s.
After the departure of Bohumil Svoboda, the ballet company in Prešov was led from 1961 until 1963 by the Czech choreographer Jaroslav Bruha. In 1963, after a short spell in the post by soloist Olga Bruhová-Pyskata, the Artistic Directorship of the company went to Frantisek Vychodil, whose name is connected with its last independent presentations. Led during the seasons from 1967 to 1972 by Juraj Colombo, a soloist from Košice, and later by Felix Domenyi, the company began another era of its existence as a body serving only the needs of the Prešov opera company.
The first steps of the newesst ballet company in Banská Bystrica were guided from 1959 to 1962 by Frantisek Oldrich Bernatik, followed by Bohumil Cegan from 1962 to 1967. For a short period at the end of the 1960s the company was led by Jozef Badal. During the next seven seasons from 1970 until 1977, Frantisek Oldrich Bernatik returned to run the company, but after his departure it was left for a while without an Artistic Director. During 1977-1979 the company was managed by Czech dancer and choreographer Jan Pirner from the Prague National Theatre. In the following seasons from 1979 to 1983 it fell under the control of Jozef Zajko, but in subsequent years the company was only run by visiting choreographers, starting with Peter Veleta, followed by Jurij P Plavnik and finishing with Robert Balogh.
A ballet competition covering the whole of Czechoslovakia was organised for the first time half way through the 1970s, and again half way through the 1980s. It was extended by a separate choreography competition.
This chapter in the history of Slovak ballet was also noteworthy for its modern dance initiatives – for details see Modern and contemporary dance.