On Prague’s Stages, the Best in Czech Dance

The New York Times

Now in its 17th iteration, the Czech Dance Platform, running April 7 to 11, showcases the best in dance from the Czech companies that have made a mark over the last year. Fourteen shows — selected from a pool of 40 submitted pieces — were chosen by a panel of Czech dance and theater experts.

“The authors have the opportunity to take part in a festival that hosts numerous foreign guests and leading personalities of the cultural scene,” said Michaela Kernova, a spokesman for Czech Dance Platform. “At the same time the festival is a unique opportunity for all spectators to see in a short period of time the best Czech dance pieces created during the last year.”

Ms. Kernova says the pieces this year are mainly from well-established groups who have achieved recognition both at home and abroad. A few highlights she mentioned include a “Perfect Day or Mr Gluteus Maximus,” an easy-going piece set in a spa with a bit of black humor by the DOT504 Dance Company; and “Excursion with Helga,” a piece created by Marta Trpisovska and Jana Latalova, which looks at themes of beauty and pleasure.

Another piece being shown is “Transforma,” by the Israeli choreographer Maya Lipsker. It was designed for VerTeDance, a company of two women, which expanded a bit for this performance.

“It was our idea to work with five women, and Maya thought of the subject, theme,” said Tereza Ondrova, one of VerTeDance’s two members. “This is a special piece, mainly because of the other dancers. We are all women, but we all have different types of movement and the piece is very colorful in its movement.”

Czech Dance Platform will also feature a workshop on light design, and, on April 11, after the “Transforma” performance, will screen a documentary, “Touches of Dance,” about the emergence of two Czech dance companies, VerTeDance and NANOHACH.

The festival comes at a time when the contemporary dance scene is struggling in Prague. Ms. Bartunkova said she appreciates the exposure dance festivals like this can bring, but Ms. Kernova said they struggled to find available money, citing lower government grants and difficulty in finding corporate partners.

“Our wish is also to allure new people to theaters and show them that contemporary dance is a beautiful way to perceive the reality around us,” Ms. Kernova said. “Dance can enrich our everyday life experience of the world.”

Czech Dance Platform is held at three venues: Ponec Theater, Teatro NoD and Studio Alt@rt. Tickets can be purchased at the Ponec Theater box office.