Vize tance in danger
Last Tuesday, a debate over the professional organisation Vize tance took place in Studio Alta. As it showed, the organisation had been lacking leadership for a couple of months and is now close to its end. The impulse to open a discussion had come from Lucia Kašiarová and the event was attended by more than twenty dancers, choreographers, managers. teachers, producers, and publicists – in short, professionals in the field of dance that Vize tance was originally meant for and who it has represented for years.
Though the organisation has accomplished many important projects and events - among others the successful Dance Day, the Dance to Schools project (Tanec do škol) or co-creation of the Dance Career Foundation – its existence is now at risk. There are many causes to this condition, besides financial and personal reasons, it is a lack of communication between Vize tance and the artists it shields.
The debate was, also thanks to the moderator Jakub Deml, well-structured and sophisticated (almost without emotional invectives we know so well from other discussions within our field); during the talk, Vize tance was viewed from outside, and its inner functioning and achievements, as well as failures, were pointed out. Jana Návratová, the present chair of the managing board, closed the discussion with writing down a slightly frightening list of consequences that the end of the organisation would bring. All the participants agreed on the fact that having a professional organisation inside the field was necessary and its aim was to act on behalf of the field in the political, social, and public sphere.
Problems came along with the question ‘Who is Vize tance meant for?’ For freelance artists only or also for dancers from theatre companies who have been seeking support and protection in the Dance Association of the Czech Republic for the last fifty years? Should Vize tance focus exclusively on ‘experimental and experimenting’ contemporary dance or embrace mainstream genres such as hip hop or ballroom with their wide public coverage as well? The plenum was not able to answer this question, though there were some suggestions the organisation should have represented all the above-mentioned genres. Obviously, issues such as artists’ second careers, social security, relation to the bodies of state administration and self-administration, and the “image of dance” in general must be opened and discussed. The future is still unclear. Vize tance needs not only a chair but also the support of dance professionals, ideally more than twelve (that was the number of its members in 2018). A wider membership would help define the organisation’s identity and hence its priorities and other activities. Since any professional organisation is defined by its members – without them the vision of dance, embodied by Vize tance, can never be fulfilled.
Note: A detailed record of the discussion Vize nevize will be published on the website vizetance.cz