The Piano:
The Ballet
Royal New Zealand Ballet

The Piano:
the ballet

Inspired by the film The Piano with permission kindly granted by
Jane Campion, Jan Chapman and Saddleback Productions.

Premiere: 14.2.2015 (One Akt)

Theater Dortmund, Ballett Dortmund, Dortmund, Germany

Premiere: 23.2.2018 (Full-Length)

Opera House, Royal New Zealand Ballet, Wellington, New Zealand


Igor Stravinsky
Dmitri Shostakovich
Johannes Brahms
Alfred Schnittke
Charles Ives
Peteris Vasks
Michael Nyman
Clive Williamson
Te Rauparaha
Otto Bubeníček
Maori traditional music


Jiří Bubeníček


Jiří & Otto Bubeníček

Stage Design (Projection):

Otto Bubeníček

Music Arrangment:

Otto Bubeníček

Costume Design:

Elsa Pavanel

The Piano
Dortmund Ballet
Trailer / Royal New Zealand Ballet


Trip to New Zealand
Research / Filming the sea


The Heart Dances
- the journey of The Piano:
the ballet

2018 ‧ Documentary ‧ 1h 39m

The Heart Dances | Official Trailer


The Heart Dances

- the journey of The Piano:
the ballet

A film by Rebecca Tansley
1h 39min | Documentary | 28 July 2018 (New Zealand)


Rebecca Tansley


Robin Laing


Jiří Bubeniček, Otto Bubeniček

New Zealand Cinemetographers Society 2018: Gold Award to Simon Raby

An iconic film is re-imagined by celebrated Czech dancers Jiří and Otto Bubeniček for the Royal New Zealand Ballet, setting the stage for a voyage into uncharted territory for everyone involved.


When Czech choreographer Jiří Bubeniček and his stage designer brother Otto arrive in New Zealand to re-stage an extended version of their work The Piano:
the ballet for the Royal New Zealand Ballet, the stage is set for a voyage into uncharted territory for everyone involved. The twins, both former Principal Dancers, are now sought-after by Europe's most eminent ballet companies for their choreography and staging, but they are unaware that in New Zealand, their work raises questions of cultural appropriation. Over the coming weeks the brothers must work together with Maori cultural advisor Moss Te Ururangi Patterson to adapt the work for a New Zealand context the very process challenging concepts of freedom of expression so important to them both. Meanwhile the dancers responsible for delivering the ballet face challenges of a different kind as they come to terms with the famous characters of Ada, Stewart and Baines and the love triangle they are caught up in. Written by Rebecca Tansley.

Facebook | Youtube Interview with Rebecca Tansley (Director)

The Piano en Pointe

UPBEAT Radio 19 February 2018

A ballet that has been lurking in the back of Jiri Bubenicek’s mind for over twenty years finally has its premiere this week at New Zealand Festival. Jane Campion’s 1993 film The Piano has been re-made into a ballet by Jiří and Otto Bubeníček. The brothers collaboration with Royal New Zealand Ballet is faithful to the film version, with music a key ingredient in the love story. Otto's music selection features some of Michael Nyman’s film score along with work by Debussy, Stravinsky, Schnittke, Brahms and Shostakovich. Otto's large scale projections also help bring the colonial New Zealand bush setting to life.