Associated with our stage from 1966, she was first soloist with the ballet company between 1975 and 1988. She portrayed the leading roles in the great classical repertoire: Lise in La fille mal gardée, Sylphide, Giselle, Princess Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, Queen of Dryads in Don Quixote, and Odette-Odile in three different stagings of Swan Lake.
She scored successes in 20th-century ballets as Aegina in Evgeny Changa’s Spartacus, eponymous Francesca da Rimini in Alexei Cziczinadze’s staging, Miss Julie in Birgit Cullberg’s ballet, and Carmen in Valentin Elizariev’s choreographic version. She was also praised as Eve in John Butler’s After Eden, Girl in Joseph Lazzini’s The Miraculous Mandarin, and Bouboulina in Lorka Massine’s Zorba the Greek. She danced major parts in Warsaw stagings of renowned ballets by George Balanchine, Serge Lifar, Maurice Béjart, John Neumeier, Hans van Manen, and Albert Méndez. She often lent her talent to original pieces by Polish choreographers shown on our stage. She performed in Czechoslovakia, Denmark, France, Monaco, Germany, Norway, Romania, Switzerland, Sweden, the UK, Italy, and the Soviet Union.
Having retired from stage work, she took on the role of répetitéur with our ballet company and still works with the Polish National Ballet as a guest ballet mistress. She shares her enormous experience with our soloists during individual and group revival rehearsals of certain productions. In 2021 she was asked to perform the role of Archduchess Sophie, mother of Emperor Franz Joseph and grandmother of Prince Rudolf, in the Polish premiere of Kenneth MacMillan’s famous ballet drama Mayerling, which will mark 55 years of her artistic career.
Renata Smukała received the Silver Cross of Merit (1979), Knight’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta (1986), and Silver Gloria Artis Medal for Services to Culture (2010).
To mark her jubilee, the minister of culture and national heritage awarded the artist with the Golden Gloria Artis Medal for Services to Culture. (pch)
1. Renata Smukała as Archduchess Shophie in Kenneth MacMillan’s Mayerling, photo by Ewa Krasucka, 2021
2. Renata Smukała as Princess Aurora (with Łukasz Gruziel) in a staging of The Sleeping Beauty by Piotr Gusiew, photo by Juliusz Multarzyński, 1983
3. Renata Smukała as Carmen in Valentin Elizariev’s ballet, photo by Henryk Rosiak, 1980
4. Renata Smukała as Soloist in Maurice Béjart’s Variations ‘Don Giovanni’, photo by Juliusz Multarzyński, 1987