The marathon event, which has run from 4 June in Prague and 17 other cities and towns in the Czech Republic, will end today with a Closing Party in honour of all the domestic artists and partners who did not hesitate to bear the risks of constant change and uncertainty. The result was worth it! We managed to stage 50 performances of the improvised program, of which 16 were in Prague and another 34 in the regions, indoors and mainly outdoors. The festival attracted 3,500 spectators, some of whom also enjoyed a further accompanying program of more than 30 workshops, discussions or, for example, an exhibition.

"Rebuilding the entire program in a single month and giving Czech and Slovak artists priority was a tour de force that I have not experienced in more than 30 years of running the festival," said Yvona Kreuzmannová, founder and director of Tanec Praha. "It was not easy to set aside a year's worth of preparatory work and start anew. We could have resigned ourselves and done nothing; many of our European colleagues cancelled their festivals without compensation. But we were encouraged by the supportive attitude of the Minister of Culture and Prague City Hall, with colleagues from the Czech Association of Festivals we discussed various options to reach audiences even under the current situation, plus a series of Zoom conferences with colleagues from European networks… I have to say I never doubted we could do it. And we succeeded. And now we have many more negotiations and discussions ahead of us about what can be implemented this year. The opening of the borders is still uncertain."

The TANEC PRAHA Festival moved the foreign program to June 2021 and perhaps even partially to the autumn of 2020, yet some of the planned projects were successfully implemented. This includes the co-production of the premiere of the French artist working in the Czech Republic Florent Golfier / tYhle Wrestling with Language (three performances in Prague and others in Olomouc and Brno), collaboration with the Landscape Festival: the Lungs of Žižkov project, the second phase of which will take place on the last weekend in September (65 artists took part with 20 different short performances); a regional tour of Czech and Slovak artists with works such as The Lion's Den, LEGOrhythm, PLI, Roselyne, Don't Stop, World of Paper, Adrena Axis and Assemblage. In addition there was The NELKEN-Line from the laboratory of Pina Bausch (Prague, Plzen, Volyně, Olomouc) or the study Creature by Sasha Waltz and students of the Duncan Centre Conservatory under the guidance of Jiří Bartovanec as well as the unusual formats of the productions GUIDE and Duets.

There was intense online communication across borders. New formats were tried out by artists involved in major European projects: Tereza Ondrová with the teams of Tanec Praha and the Prague City Gallery involved Kateřina Šedá and Tomáš Žižka in a six-day workshop of the Dancing Museums project, which was to take place live but successfully moved online and offline with all six European partners; Marie Gourdain, Jaro Viňarský and Václav Kalivoda managed an important phase of the creative process with the involved communities in the Czech Republic and Slovakia online and finally live as part of the Be SpectACTive project; Aerowaves, a platform of young European choreographers, supported the video production of eight artists or teams, which we shared under the title Aerowaves Framework. The observations of colleagues from EDN (European Dancehouse Network), IETM (Informal European Theatre Meeting), ITI (International Theatre Institute), who mostly shared experiences through Zoom, were invaluable. In addition, Big Pulse, an informal platform of major European dance festivals, joined the new collaboration.

"We do not know today what awaits us in the autumn, but the experience of June has shown that our society cannot do without art and can appreciate it both in the public space and in theatres," Kreuzmannová added. "We are thankful for being able to offer them even under the given conditions. We keep dancing!" / Yvona Kreuzmannová