Contemporary dance started to develop as an independent stage dance genre only after 1989. Within the first ten years, the amateur activities and almost silenced historical heritage of modernism helped build the basic professional infrastructure, in which several professional artistic subjects were shaped. The dance community of professionals is slowly growing, but the core is in Prague with the most opportunities for production, presentation, communication and education. However, it may be said that the Czech Republic has only smaller and medium-sized independent companies with the stable artistic and managerial staff, who appoint the people in projects and they take care of their artistic career as well.
An Intro to Contemporary Dance
Theatre Ponec, ALTA Studio, Alfred ve dvoře, La Fabrika, Jatka78 or Archa Theatre rank among the significant contemporary dance venues. These centres manage various spaces and technologies, but all of them work as creative and training studios and production houses. The network of contemporary dance venues outside Prague is not very dense and is a constant desideratum of the Czech dance community. Na cucky Theatre in Olomouc, TanecValmez in Valašské Meziříčí, Cooltour Ostrava, Theatre 29 in Pardubice, Kredance in České Budějovice and others rank among the stable elements of the regional infrastructure.
The most important dance festival in the Czech Republic is Tanec Praha/Dance Prague (est. 1989, takes place in June), whose team organizes the Czech Dance Platform as well (est. 1996, takes place in April).
The international festival 4+4 Days in Motion has gained the specific dramaturgic profile with the emphasis on site specific projects within twenty years; the program of the festival taking place in Prague offers experimental and innovative projects as well as many lectures on urbanism, architecture, ecology and new technologies.
TanecValmez festival is a traditional cultural event in the regions as well as Korespondance festival with its original atmosphere, great dramaturgy and an accompanying program, which takes place in July in the chateau of Žďár nad Sázavou and its surroundings, and it focuses on contemporary dance, motion theatre and contemporary circus.
Dance started to regularly appear at festivals, which originally focused on drama. For instance, Flora Theatre Festival has the independent dance dramaturgy and dance is new part of the program of Theatre World Brno festival.
The professional training of new dancemakers is provided mostly by conservatories – Duncan Centre Conservatory, Dance Centre Prague and Janáček Conservatory in Ostrava. It is possible to study choreography at the Dance Department of the Music Academy of Performing Arts as well as a similar field – non-verbal theatre. Trainings for authors and dancemakers in both dance and non-verbal theatre are offered by the Physical Theatre School of the Janáček Academy in Brno.
Second career for dancers
Since 2015, the Dance Career Endowment Fund has been in operation in the Czech Republic, and provides services, such as coaching, personal and psychological consultations for dance professionals, who leave the stage as a result of their age or injury and look for their new career. The endowment fund accompanies them in the transition, provides information on the job market and organizes practical seminars focused on management, PR, copyright agenda etc. The endowment fund is active when enforcing a special participative saving system for dancers, in which the state would support dancer’s savings in the 1:1 ratio on a monthly basis. The state support would be linked to funding dancer’s new career. Since 1996, when the pension reform took place, dancers leave their job without any support and protection.