The 25th Year of Tanec Praha Festival Starts with a Dance-Movie Evening

Yesterday, June 3rd, 2013 the 25th anniversary year of Tanec Praha Festival opened with a commemorative evening Reminiscence at Ponec Theatre.

The whole evening was deliberately made up of a collage of both "live" and dance-movie performances, humbly presented by Martin Zbrožek dressed in a fitting blue suit, which is the colour of this festival year. His wit and readiness contributed to the flair of the evening .

The audiences thus switched their attention between the screen and the stage. Several short films that presented the best of the past twenty-five years of Tanec Praha were shown on a screen. Some of the greats of contemporary modern dance of 1990s such as Merce Cunningham, Martha Graham and Joseph Nadj danced and spoke on the screen. Indeed, these celebrities were hosted by Tanec Praha in its early years. Of the more contemporary artists outstanding personalities such as Palle Granhøj (DK), Jorma Uotinen (FIN), Ohad Naharin (ISR) and others were chosen for the film reportage. Individual films were used as a brief introduction to short productions tailor-made for this particular year of Tanec Praha, or taken out from choreographies in the above-mentioned film reportages.

As for live performances, Jorma Uotinen (FIN) featured his production La Diva, which slightly evoked a parody of a dancer impersonating field poppies. A virile naked body dressed in a big red skirt with black petticoat moving around red chairs. The beginning was really cheerful and brusque! Among other performers were ladies of the company 420PEOPLE with a piece called B/OLERO, created for the company by Ohad Naharin (ISR) in 2008. The company Granhøj Dans (DEN) performed two short pieces. First of them, a dance etude Dance to me to the end on/off love, focused on the upper part of the body was performed by the great leader Palle Granhøj himself. His skimpy dress showed his wiry body, especially arms to good advantage. He was accompanied by a guitar. The same guitarist then accompanied Aline Sanchez Rodriguez, who performed a small excerpt from the production Aline Not Alone. Audiences, who are going to this show have really something to look forward to. A female dancer of the Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan (TW/ROC) performed in two pieces as well: first of them was a little excerpt from a production Cursive, the other excerpt was from a delicate and meditative piece Moon Water. The commemorative evening was crowded with major personalities who contributed to the interesting and attractive programme of Tanec Praha year after year and, above all, to its continuity to the present day. Jan Hartmann’s Authentic recounting was not missing either, Hartmann, together with Jiří Kylián, Pavel Šmok and Vladimír Vašut was one of the chief instigators of the post-revolution festival, back then simply called Tanec. Michaela Pavlínová – organizer of the early years of the festival came up with few recollections in the course of the evening, too. The biggest stalwart and admirable person is undoubtedly the festival director Yvona Kreuzmannová, who naturally participated in the commemorative evening and eventually also presented an award for the Dance Piece of the Year at the dance festival of professional art: Czech Dance Platform 2013. The results are traditionally announced on the gala-opening night of Tanec Praha.

When speaking of this, it should be noted that the Dancer of the Year award went to Markéta Vacovská, who together with Lenka Dusilová excelled in the production One Step Before the Fall. Markéta was praised especially for her expressively very powerful and captivating dancing. The most appraised production by the international jury of the Czech Dance Platform was announced too. The Dance Piece of the Year award went to Lenka Vágnerová and Comp. for their piece Riders, however, the runner-up One Step Before the Fall received just one point less in the voting. In addition to dance awards, the Prize for Lighting Design was awarded too. This year it went to Martin Špetlík for his work on One Step Before the Fall. The Audience Award had been already announced before, anyway, Tereza Ondrová of VerTeDance picked up the prize only yesterday. This means the audiences had chosen the choreography Simulante Bande.

Opening night ended, nevertheless, it started the 25th year of Tanec Praha – the festival without which a summer in Prague would not be a real summer in Prague (regardless of weather) got underway in a very promising manner indeed. Photo: Vojtěch Brtnický

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