Emotions in movement
Alumni of Czechoslovak schools in exile reunite to donate memorabilia to state archives
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This year's international festival of Contemporary Dance and Movement Theatre Tanec Praha or Dance Prague is living up to the great reputation it's built up in the last sixteen previous years. Throughout this month it is introducing some fine world dancers, and it has a clear aim - to revive forgotten or suppressed emotions.
So far I have only seen two performances but I have to say that I was really overwhelmed. "A Drop in the Ocean" and "Inside Each of Us" are choreographies of simple stories inspired by every day ups and downs.
"A Drop in the Ocean" captured my attention from the very first moment. Its music, created wholly from the sound of the human voice and drops of water, is very simple and yet amazingly impressive.
The performance is a story of absolute solitude and the limited space for human relationships, about seeking stability, peace and love. On one hand we desire freedom at the same time we create rules, constraints and build boundaries. We are like a drop of water - free and yet with a clear shape. The choreographer of the performance Mirka Eliasova talks about her "drop".
"It is made from many little pieces like a mosaic. It begins with solitude, male and female life, loneliness, desire, searching until they finally join together. I have cast one male and three female dancers to represent different sides of a woman. Therefore they are wearing similar but not the same costumes. "
The expressive face of a female is presented by Ivana Dukic, a ballet dancer from the former Yugoslavia. After a few years at the Prague Chamber Ballet she accepted the offer to try a new kind of dancing based on spontaneity and emotions.
"It was hard for me because I didn't know how long we would improvise. You start to improvise and then you improvise for an hour and a half. We didn't need to work on the music, to try to catch the music; we just needed to flow through it. We understood this music as drops in this space, in this life and I think this music is very calming."
The rhythm of the electro-acoustic composition changes according to the theme of each episode. Dancers run, walk, roll on a floor or just spread their limbs, all with great expression and emotions.
"I am trying to give energy from inside of me. I am not dancing just to feel happy from the dancing. I am always trying to think of something in the moment I am dancing, for example how to catch the metro after the performance."
"Inside each of us" is a story about the woman you can find inside each of us. A woman that doesn't do what you want her to do and she does what you tell her not to do. She is free in her mind and her body. Linda Stranska objects to perceiving her choreography just as a story.
"The performance is not just a story. It is a more detailed look into each of us and how we behave in different situations. My woman is the fusion of all features. The only female dancer is a tiny woman surrounded by four big men. It was not intentional but it shows that even a small and fragile woman can have a lot of energy and strength and will to back up her own decisions."
The performance is loosely inspired by the novel Carmen which has already been a model for numerous ballet performances. There are various impulses in each of us, says Linda Stranska, and we "kill" on a daily basis. While we do it only mentally Carmen dies for real.
"The audience is always surprised by the twist at the end and often shocked. The woman doesn't love the man who loves her anymore and instead of pretending anything she tells him to kill her. She is looking for a man that would have all qualities that she finds in different men. She wants only the one but fails to find him. I don't think people expect a happy end but they for sure don't expect the murder."
The festival Tanec Praha continues until the end of the month and I can only recommend it.