Opus Osm Minutka:Folk Music+Ballet? = Ej, Lásko!
Five Fast Facts About Ej, Lásko,
performed May 24 at The National Theatre:
1 This performance was divided into three parts: Člověk a Země (Man and Earth), solely music, performed live by Hradišt’an; Tři Duety, three excerpts from CNB’s repertoire – Romeo and Juliet, Raymonda, and Déjà Vu, to recorded music; and Ej, Lásko, a blend of folk-dance-inspired ballet, again with Hradišt’an’s live folk music.
2 Hradišt’an, a Czech folk group originally founded in 1950 centered around a stringed instrument called the hammered dulcimer, played everything from flutes and violins to drums and a hurdy-gurdy. Band leader Jiři Pavlica even incorporated African influences in Člověk a Země, with clicking sounds woven between Czech lyrics.
He’s a She and She’s a He …
3 The standout performance of Tři Duety was Petr Zuska’s 2008 piece Déjà Vu, challenging gender stereotypes with a perfect balance of humor and self-awareness.
Dancers Andrea Kramešová and Karel Audy slowly traded clothes and movement styles throughout the piece, all the while embodying the struggles and compromises of a relationship.
4 For Ej, Lásko, two women in long white dresses and flowered headdresses partnered two men in white dress shirts. They alternated long classical lines with leaps and flexed feet, as well as miming a drink (or four). This “liquid courage” led to daring lifts and mixing partners, while a single woman in black swept on and off stage, bringing a somber element to the story.
Watch an excerpt from Ej, Lásko:
5 Beneath this quirky, theatrical performance, Hradišt’an’s multi-part harmonies and impeccable sense of rhythm proved that these guys are seriously talented musicians. Combining the talent and beauty of the Czech National Ballet’s well-trained dancers with the fun of folk music may sound like a strange idea at first, but when done well, it just might become a national favorite.
– Auburn Scallon, Opus Osm writer
Photo Credits: Photos and video: Czech National Ballet