While you may have been splashing in the surf or hiking in the mountain air, 130 eager students were sweating it out at the dance studio in Prague’s July heat.
For six days in July, students from across the Czech Republic, Germany, and Scandinavia met at the National Theatre Ballet studios at the International Contemporary Dance Workshop.
This is the fourth year that choreographer Jan Kodet and former ballet dancer-now teacher Veronika Iblová have offered the summer training.
Here, students study not only the expected topics – ballet, contemporary, and jazz dance – but some specialties you might not immediately think of: pilates for dancers, orienting your body in space, and dancing well with a partner.
Since this year’s workshop was also open to intermediate level students, as well as the usual professional levels, “students came from dance schools, including the Prague Conservatory,” Jana Malisová, the workshop’s production manager, says. “Many students were high-level amateurs, and there were also many dance teachers. These are also professionals, who just came to dance, to have fun, and to gain experience,” as well as to appreciate the warm (no pun intended) atmosphere of the lessons.
Veronika Iblová leads a class of intermediate ballet students in a series of warmup exercises.
The students’ varied experience, backgrounds, and current levels create an excellent medium for growth and inspiration, she tells Opus Osm. They also benefit from the mix of the nine multi-national teachers, all with experience in many countries, as choreographers, dancers, trainers, and teachers.
For example, Uri Ivgi (Israel) and Johan Greben (Holland) have created works singly and also as a choreographic team, appearing all over Europe. Charismatic jazz dance teacher Volker Michl (Germany) “can, with his positive energy, carry away dancers,” Mrs Malisová, says, whereas Róbert Tirpák (Slovakia) is a friendly teacher whose lessons are “fun and healthy.” Sonia Rodriguez (Gran Canaria) is “an emotional and inspiring” contemporary dance teacher who has likewise taught all over Europe.
Jan Kodet demonstrates a short dance routine and explains a move in detail.
You can get a glimpse of the action at two of the workshops in these videos. You’ll see why the teachers enjoy watching and commenting on the development of the returning students year-to-year, and even the new students who improve day-to-day. “Like everything, this workshop also brings experience for the workshop’s teachers,” Mrs Malisová comments. — oo
– Mary Matz
Photo Credits: Photos and videos: Miroslav Setnička