Carte Blanche at Tanec Praha · By Jessica Greer

For my week at Tanec Praha I was met my Veronika Hladká, Project Manager, who had spent a week with me in February at The Place as part of Carte Blanche. It was really interesting to put her experiences against mine, as we had talked previously in some lenght about the differences and similarities between our two venues, so to see it in actuality added another layer of context.

The week in which I arrived was particularly busy for Veronika and the Tanec Praha team, as it was the start of the Česká Taneční Platform, or Czech Dance Platform. The Platform is showcase of the best Czech dance work for a cohort of international programmers and producers, as well as audiences of general Czech public to see.

A dramaturgical council made up of independent experts in the field of dance (critics, curators, producers, representatives of dance schools, etc.) selects around 10 of the most interesting performances of the past year. It is an extensive and diverse showcase, with accompanying program, such as Meet the Artists, site-specific projects, discussions, presentations and much more. It was interesting to see how the planning of the Platform takes place from the perspective of the team, but also to experience it as an audience member. It is clear that the team are well practiced in the delivery of the festival, with the orchestration of coaches and 100 international promoters going without a hitch!

I also attended the Be Spectactive! Partner Meeting earlier in the week. This is a European project with artistic creation and cultural organizations aiming to strenghten audience engagement via active spectatorship. Tanec Praha was hosting the meeting, and so I spent 3 days as “fly on the wall” listening to the artists, researchers and organisations that have taken part discuss the results of the projects thus far. There were some fascinating and thought-provoking discussions taking place, and it gave me a lot of food for thought in terms of audience engagement projects at The Place.

I was also interested to understand the general running of PONEC theatre and how the organisation operates in the contemporary dance scene, both nationally and internationally. Luckily there was an informative presentation as part of the Czech Dance Platform by Director Yvonna Kreuzmannová explaining just this. I also had the opportunity to speak with some members of the PONEC and Tanec Praha team like programming, technical, production and marketing to follow this up from a ground-level perspective. I had a chance to follow and feel the regular running of the organisation and venue, how the team works together and cooperate, how they communicate between each other.

Overall it is clear that there is a strong connection to supporting artists and to engaging audiences in Contemporary Dance, and the entire organisation is committed and enthusiastic about the work that is produced and shown both in the festivals and in the venue. There are differences in the ways that our respective venues are run, but what actually surprised me most is just how many similarities there actually are. It was great to feel the validation for the work and effort one puts in, and to know that other organisations are working in a similar way and towards similar aims. Carte Blanche provided me with a great opportunity to share and exchange information, experience and ideas.

Jessica Greer
Project manager at The Place London
17 May 2017