Vlastimil Harapes died on 15 May 2024 at the age of 77


Vlastimil Harapes was in fact an unofficial classmate of today's students of the Dance Centre Prague Conservatory: in 1963-65 he was (together with Jiří Kylián) a member of the VUS Modern Dance Group, from which the current Dance Centre Prague gradually evolved. Even during his stellar career at the National Theatre and elsewhere, he kept in touch with us, attended our performances as a critical spectator, and even danced as a guest in our dance theatre, Games of Mary. We also met on various festive occasions of Czech dance art.

In 1990 Vlastík invited me to join him at the time when he became the artistic director of the National Dance Ballet immediately after the revolution. We became two representatives of the dance art in the management of the "golden chapel" - at that time with a fundamental task: to transform it from a communist theatre into a top-quality and effectively working artistic institution in a democratic environment. Here, his honesty, sincerity and passion for dance were on full display. His familiar face and name opened many important doors, and under his "patronage" everything went much faster than I expected, including dramaturgical issues and the preparation of the company's repertoire - especially the much awaited or requested foreign artistic "injections".

At the same time the Prague Dance Centre was struggling with the Ministry of Education and the conservative ballet lobby to establish a modern dance conservatory. Here Vlastík was always on our side and had very liberal ideas about the development of dance art. It was logical that in 1994 he became a member of the first Board of Trustees of the newly founded conservatory, Dance Centre Prague.

Vlastimil Harapes was a truly exceptional artist and person - I am proud to have worked with him and to have been friends with him.

18 May 2024

Antonín Schneider