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29 Jan 2016 19:00

Poets of the City (Vitka - Blatný - Jan)

Dance-theatre triple bill inspired by extraordinary personalities of Czech cultural and political history: Jan Palach (Jan), the Czech student who immolated himself in protest against communism in 1969; Czech composer Vítězslava Kaprálová (Vitka) and Czech poet Ivan Blatný (Blatný). Choreography: Martin Dvořák (CZ) + Nir Ben Gal (IL); Dance: Martin Dvořák, Irene Bauer, Alena Pajasová. Accompanied by workshops lead by the performers on 30th and 31st January.


Choreography: Martin Dvořák (CZ) + Nir Ben Gal (IL)
Dance: Martin Dvořák, Irene Bauer, Alena Pajasová

This female solo is shaped by Czech composer Vítězslava Kaprálová’s music, specifically her piano compositions, April Preludes. This piece is dedicated to one of the most talented Czech composers and conductors, who died at age 25 in Montpellier, France.
What remains is to find good with open eyes and to toughen through evil; to be grateful for the beauty that surrounds us, even for the pain ...

This piece is centred on Czech poet Ivan Blatný´s own poems, taking its inspiration from spoken word as a tool for sharing emotions and evocating images. The creative circle comprises three parts – word-music-motion – and their mutual inspiration and interaction. The work is dedicated to Blatný (1919-1990) who emigrated to England in 1948 and would live out the rest of his life in psychiatric clinics. He never returned to his country.
Art is not burdened by responsibility and could care less for its role. It is simply here, a reality equal to life and just as incomprehensible and surrounded by the same darkness; yet it brings us moments of relief even without attempting to turn on the light of so called certainties in the boundless sea of the dark and the inexplicable. IB

Our history is full of violence and resistance to oppression. Is violence the only way to fight the repression? Is it possible to look for a different way? A lot of times the violence, oppression and resistance can be found in my face, in my body, my intent and not as an external factor like in a cruel regime or occupying power. With dance, let’s try to find ways to love without resistance. Move without suppression. This piece is dedicated to the memory of Jan Palach, the Czech student who immolated himself in protest against communism in Prague, 1969.
"People must fight against the evil they feel equal to at that moment." JP


Tickets: £10.00
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Vítězslava Kaprálová
24th January 1915, Brno – 6th June 1940, Montpellier, FR

Kaprálová was one of the first female Czech composers and conductors. In just 25 years of her life she produced 40 compositions in various styles from piano to vocal and orchestral, including songs of her own writing as well as those by her contemporaries. Since childhood she was led to music, and she was only nine when she composed her first piece. She studied composition and conducting in Brno Conservatory, and continued her studies in Prague before graduating from the Conservatory with a composition for a large orchestra, the Military Sinfonietta. She later conducted this piece for the BBC Orchestra in London to open the 16th annual festival of the International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM). Given her extraordinary talent and close relationship with Bohuslav Martinů she received a scholarship to study in Paris, where she was intensively working and composing twice more than before. After a sudden illness, she died in southern France at the age of 25.

Ivan Blatný
21st December 1919 Brno – 5th August 1990, Clacton on Sea, UK

Blatný is one of the most interesting but most neglected Czech poets of the 20th century. During his studies he had a very active social-literary life. Ivan, known as the “Czech Rimbaud,” became friends with František Halas, Vítězslav Nezval, Jiří Orten and other active writers, and, meanwhile, published his poetry collections. In 1948, he flew to the United Kingdom to study, but he never came back to the Czech Republic. He worked for some time for the BBC and Radio Free Europe, although his illness did not allow him to continue working. He would return to writing later, but in the late 1980s his emotional and mental health declined, before he died on the 5th August 1990. Examples of his works include the Brno Elegies, Bixley Special School, and Former Homes.

Jan Palach
11th August 1948, Prague – 19th January 1969, Prague

Palach was a student of the Faculty of Arts, Charles University in Prague who committed self-immolation in Wenceslas Square on 16th January 1969 to protest against the suppression of freedom and to arouse the Czech public from lethargy following the August invasion of Czechoslovakia. After his act he was transferred to the hospital with extensive burns, where he died after three days. Palach wrote a letter outlining his purpose which he signed as ‘Torch n.1’. His was supposed to be the first of further acts which would support the fight against communism in Czechoslovakia. However, his ‘living torches’ plan was not fully realized, and there was only one successful follower in Jan Zajíc. In January 1989 there was a public commemoration of Palach which escalated to series of public protests lasting for one week – Jan Palach week. After the Velvet Revolution and the fall of the Communist regime, Palach could be remembered freely and publicly. The square in front of the main building of the Faculty of Arts of Charles University in Prague was renamed after him afterwards. President Václav Havel bestowed Palach and Zajíc, in memoriam, the Order of Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, 1st rank, for their outstanding contribution to the development of democracy and human rights. In 2000, an extraordinary monument to Palach and Zajíc was built in front of the National Museum in Prague.

Workshops lead by the performers

Saturday 30th January
14:00-15:30 - Contemporary Dance with Martin Dvořák.
15:45-17:15 - Dance in Pairs (contact impro) with Martin Dvořák & Irene Bauer
17:30-18:30 - Pilates with Irene Bauer

Sunday 31st January
9:45-11:15 – Yoga with Martin Dvořák
11:30 - 13:00 - Dance Improvisation with Martin Dvořák

One class £10, two classes £18, three classes £26, four classes £34, five classes £40.

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Martin Dvořák: BLATNÝ (ProART Company)



Oxford House Theatre, Derbyshire St, Bethnal Green, London E2 6HG


29 Jan 2016 19:00


Czech Center is a coorganizer of the event

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