What vision did you have in mind when you prepared this year’s edition?
We are trying to present contemporary dance to two groups, which are completely different at first sight: Czech and international professionals, and local inhabitants, who would not go to a dance performance alone. This is the reason why we choose productions of high quality, which can guarantee accessibility to those who are not in the know.
What are the reactions to the festival from local people?
They were skeptical at the beginning due to the fact that it is a festival of contemporary dance Czech people are suspicious of, but also due to the fact that it takes place at the Kinsky chateau people have unclear attitudes to. Confidence in the festival is slowly growing with every year of patient work, mostly due to participation of local people in projects and production.
How do you work with the locals?
We approach many projects in which they can participate actively or passively. The great advantage is that the festival takes place outdoors, thus the merger of joy and production is more spontaneous. Sometimes people are afraid of entering the confined space of theatre. When the performance does not appeal to them in the way they wished for, they feel trapped. We are trying to destroy limits and fear of contemporary dance local people sometimes have. Community projects rank among regular activities: a professional choreographer, usually an international one, works with the local community, the project School Is Dancing, which connects the programme of local basic schools and working with the professional choreographer, or a one-week summer camp, which presents trainings in dance, theatre and contemporary circus to 50 children from the Czech Republic.
You are bringing on young audiences, aren’t you?
Not only them. Last year we produced a big project with the Mexican company Foco al Aire. The ten-member company spent three weeks in Žďár and worked with twenty seniors from Žďár and Jihlava (in cooperation with Senior Points in both towns and the regional department for social affairs). The project worked and established harmony. Twenty women over 65 then performed in a lovely production with the local brass company Zelenohorští muzikanti. The project had a positive feedback in Vysočina.
How has the festival changed since it moved from Prague to Žďár nad Sázavou?
The festival had to firm up and become different from other Czech dance and physical theatre festivals.
Why is KoresponDance special?
The specific feature is that it works mostly with the open air and site-specific stage. The festival works with local people with the programme being designed for professionals, families with children and there are often productions that are tailor-made for the chateau. Artists Billy Mullaney and Niels Weijer created their Corridor Piece for the chateau corridor.
What does an outdoor festival do when the weather is bad?
This is something nobody wants to happen. Every year we have Plan B for rainy weather and the festival has to move, depending on the agreement, to the local cultural house or winter stadium.
The festival focuses on contemporary circus, which has experienced a big boom recently. Is it still so popular?
Yes, a contemporary circus production or any urban-street style performance draws attention of the young generation and is very successful. We are planning open styles battle under the guidance of Kristián Mensa, with an international jury involved. We believe it will bring the young generation of dancers and audiences to Žďár and will facilitate the way for future performances.
Why do you think that contemporary circus is so popular?
People want to see what they cannot do, virtuosity. A sort of a reality show, taking chances – unlike contemporary dance, which often presents common situations performed in such an excellent way that audiences do not feel they are in theatre. Sadly enough, they do not often realize that virtuosity lies in the fact that they approach the most essential and isolated feelings each of us protects deeply inside – yet without symbols and description.
What else are you engaged in – apart from the festival?
I have started to feel greater need to deal with the local community and bring dance closer to people who have nothing in common with it. I am the co-director of the residential programme HOME I Centro Creazione Coreografica in Umbria, which provides residencies for choreographers working for local people.
What do you think dance can bring to people in everyday life?
Situations from arts production can be applied to everyday life. There are a lot of them and we do not sometimes even link them to dance, such as the importance of having one’s own space within a group of people, to cooperate and be open to the unknown, to overcome uncertainty in favor of the others, to be perceptive to one’s own feelings and acknowledge their importance, to orientate in space and anticipate motion of the others, to rely on an unknown person or to communicate without words. Everything has then a psychosomatic impact on everyone who is not afraid to try it.
Lenka Flory has danced with Chamber Dance Studio (CZ), Czurda Tanztheater (D), Ultima Vez (B) and Ernesto (B). Back in Prague in 1992, she taught at Duncan Centre Conservatoire, founded & directed the Progressive European Dance Theatre Project and international Confrontations festival. Together with Simone Sandroni, she founded and directed a multinational company DEJA DONNE (1997-2013), which toured in 26 countries, including Europe, Americas and Asia. As a director, specialist, choreographer, pedagogue and mentor, Flory has participated at international projects worldwide. She created a set design & costumes and directed for the National Theatre Prague, Bavarian State Ballet Munich and National Theatre Brno. In 2013-2014 she directed Duncan Centre Conservatoire in Prague.
Since 2014 she is working as an independent manager, producer and supervisor for international projects including partners as Theatre du Galpon in Geneva/Switzerland, Tanec Praha festival Prague/Czech Republic, KoresponDance festival Zdar nad Sazavou/Czech Republic and HOME / Centro Creazione Coreografica Perugia/ Italy.
Author: Marie Vejvodová
Edited by Jana Návratová