Thursday, Nov 24, 2011: Red Dress Evening
A Red-Dress Evening
Put on your red dress (or red bow tie, as appropriate) because next Wednesday (Nov 30) is a red-letter day in Prague dance. It’s the high point of two weekends of dance workshops, the date for a gala dance performance, a night to celebrate an anniversary, a time to launch a new book, and a night for a whole constellation of leading dancers in Europe to perform one night only, on The New Stage.
The action started last weekend with an intensive, “Bella Figura” (beautiful body) workshop limited to a maximum of 20 dance students. They stretched, leapt, watched, twirled, listened, arched, and repeated the choreography to Bella Figura and other dance pieces again and again for the two days.
Their aim was to improve their performance quality, to learn how to function as understudies, and to learn the choreography for Wednesday’s gala, according to Nataša Novotná of the sponsoring dance group 420People. The dance troupe organized the workshop because “Growing a new generation of dancers is as important as [us] performing,” she tells Opus Osm. The students come from universities, conservatories, and dance schools; a few are already freelance dancers.
This coming weekend the students have a rare opportunity to continue their work under, among others, Cora Bos-Kroese, assistant to world-renowned Czech choreographer Jiří Kylián of The Nederlands Dans Theater.
Mr Kylián is expected to return to Prague for the launch Wednesday of the monograph Different Shores – Jiří Kylián, Between the Haag and Prague. This is also the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Kylián Foundation Videotheque, the world’s only comprehensive library of recordings, documentaries, and film on the choreographer’s complete works. The archive is located at the Arts and Theatre Institute on Prague’s Celetna street.
“The archive is valuable because it includes his performances combined with the choreographies of his own pupils in Holland,” Mrs Novotná explains. “There are a lot of videos that are spoken-word, including backstage remarks, and what Mr Kylián himself likes – some of the worst criticisms he’s ever gotten. He laughs at that, which shows you – the most important thing is not to be too serious,” she smiles.
Far from being too serious, Wednesday’s “Different Shores” gala performance promises to be a constellation of stars celebrating dance, dancers, and Mr Kylián’s monumental contribution to world choreography.
But such a stellar convergence of events, like the brief appearance of a meteor, happens only rarely, so be there to look quick – after one evening it will be gone. – oo
– Mary Matz
A brief biography of Jiří Kylián was published on Opus Osm June 3.
Photo Credits: Top two photos: Joris Jan Bos; bottom: Serge Ligtenberg