BALLET DANCERS This multimedia stage project is an adaptation of the successful, partly autobiographical novel Ballet Dancers written by the director, dancer and writer Miřenka Čechová and her online production metaBALLET DANCERS. The book contains a raw and realistic description of studying at a dance conservatory and the trauma the experience has left behind, an insight into the soul of a girl fighting against an oppressive, dogmatic system and the loss of her own identity. On stage, accompanied by bizarre and dark humour, live music, rhythmically rendered texts and physical expression, the play follows a girl struggling with blind obedience, self-destruction and the fear of not living up to her dreams. All this against the backdrop of surreal images and artistic objects. Miřenka Čechová’s productions typically feature bold visual and music components. For this piece, she approached the painter and sculptor Eva Matoušová, who created the set as well as numerous metaphorical objects. The music was composed by the same artists as in metaBALLET DANCERS – DJ Mary C and composer Martin Tvrdý; with the latter, Čechová created the performance Miss AmeriCa featured at the Divadlo festival in 2018.
Miřenka Čechová has created a multi-genre version of her book Ballet Dancers, where she narrates the hard and sometimes even cruel journey of young girls in pursuit of their ballet dreams. Her production is a very personal testimony and emotional expression, where the heroine reveals herself to the audience physically and, more importantly, spiritually – she relives her traumas, but eventually achieves a catharsis.
– Jana Machalická, lidovky.cz
Sometimes, the time and current context play a significant role as well. On opening night, we had no clue that the audience watching the performance the very next day, 24 February, would be watching the show under completely different circumstances – in a world shocked by Putin’s aggressive invasion of Ukraine. Ballet Dancers hold a mirror up to current events as they highlight how minor acts of violence generate terrible disasters.
– Jana Návratová, tanecniaktuality.cz
MIŘENKA ČECHOVÁ (1982) She is a performer, choreographer, director, writer, and prominent personality of experimental dance and physical theatre, active both in the Czech Republic and abroad. She studied at the Prague Dance Conservatory, DAMU, and HAMU, where she received her doctorate degree in Directing Physical and Pantomime Theatre in 2012. During her studies, she was granted the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship to American University, Washington DC, where she developed a new field of physical theatre. As a performer, she has over twenty feature productions under her belt, many of which – mostly her original shows – have won her major international awards, including S/He is Nancy Joe (The Best of Contemporary Dance 2012 by Washington Post and the Herald Angel Award at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival), The Voice of Anne Frank (Best Overseas Production at the International Arts Festival in South Africa, Outstanding Performance Award at the Prague Fringe Festival, and the Best of Fringe at the Amsterdam Fringe Festival), Antiwords (Divadelní noviny Award, Next Wave Festival Award, and Skupa’s Pilsen Award), just to name a few. As a director and choreographer, she has created several full-length productions, often as part of foreign co-productions, including Sniper's Lake (co-produced with Baerum Kulturhus, Norway), Shrimp à la Indigo (supported by the Schloss Bröllin Residency Program in Germany; another version for Dixon Place, NYC), FAiTH (supported by the Atlas Performing Arts Center Residency Program in Washington DC), Vernissage (produced by New Music Theater in Washington DC), Vivisectic (at the Center for Performance Research in Brooklyn and Gibney Dance in New York). Čechová has also directed several operas, including Opera and the French Revolution for Opera Lafayette, an American Baroque orchestra, which was performed at the Rose Theatre at Lincoln Center in New York and at the Lisner Auditorium in Washington DC. She wrote an English-Czech, fictional documentary Miss AmeriCa and turned it into a one-woman show of the same name, for which she was nominated for a Thalia Award. Her second book, Ballet Dancers, won her two nominations, one for the European Union Prize for Literature and one for the Divadelní noviny Award for Best Published Work. She has lectured at several US universities (American University, Washington DC; Tampa University, Florida; Stephens Collage, Missouri) and regularly returns to Mercesburg Academy, Pennsylvania as a choreographer and teacher of auteur-style theatre. She is a co-founder of Spitfire Company (with P. Boháč), Tantehorse (with R. Vizváry), and Zero Point International Festival. These days, she has been immersing herself in docu-dance-theatre and engaging with the Invisible series on female artists whilst also curating the engaged dance project Emergency Dances and lecturing for Tantelab, an educational art platform focused on bridging the gap between studies and professional careers for graduates.
SPITFIRE COMPANY An artistic group engaged in physical, experimental and dance theatre. Typical for them is the emphasis on physical action on stage, experimenting with innovative theatrical techniques, the existential aspect of the characters, and combining various genres while searching for new visual impulses. Petr Boháč is its artistic director.