Young Careers: Occam’s Razor

Opus Osm

The three choreographers gather in the studio for an informal chat to explain their works

Three early-20-something dancers present their first ‘professional’ choreographies in Occam’s Razor, a new creative project by The Prague Chamber Ballet.

“Definitely, there’s a need for a place for young choreographers to get a start with their own creations,” says Johana Mücková, the Prague Chamber Ballet’s public relations director.

“We wanted to start something new and at the same time raise awareness about the young generation of choreographers,” she explains.

And starting in 2014, as the Prague ballet company observes the 50th anniversary of its original founding, the event will provide that space.

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The poster announcing Occam's Razor

“Every year we will support young and talented Czech and Slovak choreographers,” Ladislava Jandová, the company’s managing director affirms, with sponsorship of their new project called Occam’s Razor. The choreographers will audition for the opportunity to develop their piece, with a public performance, a small budget, and some technical support from the Chamber Ballet, under the supervision of the company’s artistic director Hana Turečková.

The title Occam’s Razor refers to the philosophical idea that the simplest explanation is usually the correct one. “This is the criterion which we require from the new generation of choreographers,” the project notes explain. “Precision, simplicity of statement, clarity of the topic … .”

To find out how the project is working, Opus Osm went straight to the three choreographers and asked them to describe what they’ve learned from their experience so far, just ahead of the Jan 23 official premiere of their creations. Mainly, they discovered the effort required to figure out how to instruct movement in a body that is not their own.

Slovak dancer/choreographer Palo Kršiak says, “Always before I’ve done my own choreography for myself as a solo or duet, but this is the first time – my first commissioned ‘job’ – giving me the opportunity to work with a group.” [His piece Eros calls for a cast of four women and three men, including the other two Occam’s Razor choreographers.] “And the time went very fast.”

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Nikol Šneiderová, Šimon Kubáň

Czech dancer Nikol Šneiderová learned how to prepare, “what to do, when. It’s the first time I created a choreography in which I was not dancing. On my own, I can improvise immediately, I know what to do, which kind of movement to use.”

Now she’s had to learn how to convey her ideas to two women and two men.

Šimon Kubáň, the other Czech choreographer explains, “As a choreographer, someone else is saying your ‘words.’ You try to give your self or idea or visions to someone else.”

Acting vs Trusting, in Dance
Nikol Šneiderová replies, “Yeah, this is exactly what I like. If you are a choreographer you can see a dancer should be trusted. But then, if you are in the opposite situation, as the dancer, you can feel that you should somehow show the choreographer that there is some trust there also.

“So it’s kind of like in a relationship, you should trust each other. Otherwise it’s not working.”

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Palo Kršiak

Palo Kršiak agrees, “The most important thing during the collaboration is to have a relationship with the dancer. – Like a friend, to communicate my type, or energy. …It’s unnatural to dance with a person you can’t communicate with.

“So it’s up to the choreographer to not make a … conflict relationship.”

“You have to trust the dancers, and every personality is different,” Nikol Šneiderová has learned. “Some people are helped by positive [feedback], but some others want strictness.”

Šimon Kubáň says a critical job is to get dancers to open up, even if they don’t particularly like the partner they’ve been assigned to dance with. “If dancers are closed, they just smile,” — he illustrates with a plastic grin — “and then they’re just acting: Imagine like this is a job, and imagine you’re selling a bad product like it’s the best thing in the world.”

He concludes with a realization shared by all three Occam’s Razorchoreographers: “Mainly I’m so glad and happy to have this opportunity to work in a professional way,” he says, as the others add their thanks to the whole Prague Chamber Ballet team, from the dancers to artistic director Turečková, and all the technicians.

“Yeah,” Palo Kršiak says, “even if it is for this short time, this is the way it should be.” – oo

The Choreographers and their Works, Simply Described:
Dancer Palo Kršiak, Eros:
“It’s an erotic ballet komik, about love, relationships, passion, sex – and cheating.” He says his focus “is more about style and visuality. If I could put it into one visual picture, it would maybe be post-modernism plus fashionable, together – and, I hope, symbolic as well.” He is currently completing dance studies at the Academy of Arts (AMU) in Prague.

Prague Chamber Ballet soloist Nikol Šneiderová, Intellectual: “I want to show the audience how I see the word intellectual, how I see it through my eyes. Something is born but it can have more meanings; all the universes are connected and something comes from this.” (“Oh, I could speak about this for hours!” she groans, smiling.)

Prague Chamber Ballet soloist Šimon Kubáň, 2nd Chapter: “I can’t describe it in a few sentences – I want to leave it open for the audience to make its own description. Even me, I’m always hunting and finding something new as it’s going along; it’s always changing, even for me.”

The premiere and only planned performance of the first Occam’s Razor (Occamova Břitva) choreographies will be held at 8 pm Jan 23 at Divadlo Ponec.

–Mary Matz, editor of Opus Osm

Photo Credits: Miroslav Setnička

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