A packed theatre greeted Pavel Šmok Oct 20 when his “creation,” the Prague Chamber Ballet, presented excerpts from six of his choreographies. The occasion marked his 85th birthday on Oct 22.
Stars from all over the dance universe, television, and other media were there to applaud his lifelong work as an internationally known choreographer and dancer, actor and pedagogue, revered at home as well as abroad. But I know Prof Šmok first as a friend.
When I was a new English teacher in Prague, an American friend got us tickets to some kind of performance with one — to us unknown — jazz flutist, Jiří Stivín. Our seats were in front of the organ, overlooking the stage. So we couldn’t see very well when, in the middle of the flute concert, some stocky, gray-haired grandpa in glasses – dressed as a peasant woman right down to the head scarf – crashed the performance and began dancing around the stage.
We couldn’t see all his antics from our vantage point; we could only hear the audience nearly shout with laughter and applause. Whoever this guy was, he had an overt and at the same time subtle sense of humor that the audience truly loved.
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Photo Credits: Photos and videos: Miroslav Setnička