Year of Czech Music and Dance Theatre, 12. 06. 2024 Stavovské Theatre


This year the Dance Centre Prague celebrates the 30th anniversary of the conservatory, which is actually the second half of its existence. In the 2020-21 season, covid has spoiled the 60th anniversary of the first modern and jazz dance centre in Central Europe. The centre spent its first 28 years, since 1961, in the cultural underground, with the support of Charles University and many enlightened and courageous local and international teachers, artists and producers. In the late 1970s, we added intensive classical instruction and began building an eclectic dramaturgy of contemporary dance theatre. The center had about 150 "students" in the preparatory departments and a 20-member company producing about 50 artistic events per season - despite the official educational and cultural policy of the state.

After 1989, we devoted all our energies to the creation of a unique educational concept "conservatory - grammar school". We were again helped by foreign experts (with the essential supervision of Jiří Kylián and important art centres), and an important impulse was also a detailed analysis of our dance education and the position of dance art in our living culture. We opened our first year on September 1, 1994 in our iconic headquarters - the Canteen of the UK on the Vetrnik. We "launched" our first graduates in 2002 - now 207. In 1999 we transformed the original company into a purely student junior company Ballet Prague Junior (25th anniversary this year) and - because it was not able to satisfy the extraordinary interest - in 2004 we founded Baby Ballet Prague (20th anniversary this year). Both companies have fully professional dramaturgical, artistic and pedagogical management, production, artistic and technical operation of stage technology and rehabilitation care.

Statistics say that in the last decade before covid, both companies produced 18 premieres, 875 performances in 106 cities and reached about 23,000 spectators annually. In doing so, they are significantly plugging the cracks in the regional accessibility of dance theatre and preserving the diversity of live culture in Prague, even in the most remote areas. The Centre has always cared for children's dance centres and primary schools, inspired the cooperation of domestic and foreign conservatories, exported and imported junior dance culture and co-produced artistic projects with the South Bohemian Theatre Ballet and now mainly with the Prague Chamber Ballet; stable partners include the National Theatre, Czech Television, FOK and others. The last significant step so far was the opening of the first House of Dance Art in the Czech Republic in September 2021 - in the revitalised heritage-protected Braník Brewery, several institutions of the "same blood group" finally found a common roof over their heads: DCP Conservatory invited the Prague Chamber Ballet, the International Dance Centre (BPJ and BBP productions), the Dance and Theatre Foundation, the Pavel Šmok Foundation and Institute, and the Terpsichore Dance School (also a preparatory school of the Conservatory). In the after-school hours, the open gate system is regularly used by 6 institutions (about 180 children and adults, sports organisations and independent dance artists).

Finally (written 1 April 2024), we would like to thank the state and public institutions of the education and culture ministries for their exceptional support, understanding and responsibility in consistently applying our experience and results in the ongoing practical innovation of public educational and cultural services. Thank you for your honest competent approach in evaluating our exceptional dramaturgical, performance and economic indicators. Also, almost the entire dance community responds sensitively - without jealousy, resentment or hypocrisy - to our work and develops it further for the benefit of the development of the entire dance culture. At this point, I must especially acknowledge the excellent work of the grant evaluators and the politicians and staff who make up the grant committees. Independent dance culture (following the example of the EU) has a truly "exceptional" position in Czech culture.

We look forward to seeing you at the theatre and also at the Braník brewery during the open days and other events.

Ing. Antonín Schneider

Dramaturg DCP – conservatoire

The project was created with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture as part of the Year of Czech Music 2024.