Ever – Traces Deeply Imprinted In Dancers’ Bodies Forever

The 420PEOPLE company has opened the 2022/2023 theatre season with the premiere of the dancer production Ever with the choreography by the artistic director Václav Kuneš. He invited dramaturg Lucie Němečková, scenographer Lucia Škandíková, and costume designer Olo Křížová to come together to work on a new piece with foreshadowed excursions to philosophical contemplations on human existence and theatre. Jan Mlčoch shrouded the opus in the light, foggy haze.

Ever. Photo: Vojtěch Brtnický.

Ever. Photo: Vojtěch Brtnický.

The performers underpin the fact that Ever is not a story, but a moment and place captured in dance. Although Ever does not offer any narrative, four dances capture thoughts and emotions as a reflection of situations and micro-stories that come to them from the inside (the perception of themselves) or outside as excerpts from Jan Skácel’s The Prayer, Liu Ka-shiang’s Solidarity, briefly mentioning the contemplations on the peripeties and shortcomings of theatre staging from Václav Havel’s A Few Notes. The literary snippets do not make the central intellectual filling, though. They illustrate the one-hour production, in which the performers play first fiddle, who, through their instruments aka bodies, electrify the field with energy and sharpen your senses, accompanied by the meditative-like electronic mix of rhythms and low-key melodies by Czech DJ Ladislav Zensor aka Exhausted Modern.

Four dancers enter the scene in dim white light, the performers gradually gather in a formation, and the figures are lit by the compact light stream. Like the misty luminescence, the grey bubble trousers and loose T-shirts do not accentuate the proportions of the performers who, at the very end, take their T-shirts off and reveal their bodies in transparent tops with discreetly mixed shades of violet, blue and grey.Ever. Photo: Vojtěch Brtnický.

It seems alluring to me to see the muscle system of the dancers like in Jiří Kylián’s choreographies not only in the moment when the performers are in sharp light.

Kuneš, who worked under this author in the NDT 1 company, “resists” the revelation of the bodies, as well as clear and direct lines and accurately polished details; the motion pushes its way like a river with blurred contours, it virtually pauses in meanders, and flows on the rapids in the staccato rhythm. The dance variations are a fluid flow of organically structured motion phrases with heterogenous dynamic scales captured in solos and a group when everybody is on the same wavelength that requires mutual acceptance, as well as physical and mental alertness. Every new performance may allow a certain dose of tolerance in points, execution, and merging of the relations.

The second part of the play features grey cubes and blocks, on which dancers pose, balance alone or in pairs, climb into the objects, and bring a different perception of themselves alias “researched subjects” – two men and two women. In the end, the grey and white scales are revived by bright red pumps on high heels worn by Veronika Tököly, who seductively walks on the stage, wiggling her hips.

Ever. Photo: Vojtěch Brtnický.

Václav Kuneš gave a good account of the members of his company in Ever. He let their individualities and technical qualities stand out. Speaking of V. Tököly, he developed lyricism and softness, Francesca Amy Amante focused on dynamism and amazing talent; Filip Staněk incarnated the limitless flow and Michal Toman introduced some of his acrobatic skills.

The dance texture of Ever makes an extremely soft impression and the soft treads and falls of feet multiply the effect. Kuneš created a series of abstract images concretized by dancers’ bodies. And who would long for absolute understanding and unambiguous answer to the question that touches upon the plot of the performance (Who Are We When Nobody Is Watching?) when Ever offers so many magical moments…


Written at the premiere on 13 September 2022, La Fabrika.


Choreography: Václav Kuneš
Dramaturgy: Lucie Němečková
Cast: Francesca Amy Amante, Veronika Tököly, Michal Toman, Filip Staněk
Music: hudební koláž
Stage design: Lucia Škandíková
Costumes: Olo Křížová
Lights: Jan Mlčoch
Premiere: 12 and 13 September 2022


Translation: Eliška Špilarová

Czech original of the review was published on 18 September 2022.

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EverVáclav Kuneš




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