Choreographer and founder of the Prague Chamber Ballet Pavel Šmok has died at the age of 88. In 1964, Mr Šmok, Luboš Ogoun, and Vladimír Vašut founded Studio Ballet Prague, which Šmok continued in 1975 as the Prague Chamber Ballet. The largest Czech independent professional dance company, the ballet has presented Czech dance in many countries around the world. Pavel Šmok himself headed the company for two decades.
Many Czechs will be observing folk traditions on Easter Monday. Particularly in rural areas and smaller towns, people will sing Easter carols and symbolically "whip" girls and women with willow switches, a custom said to ensure fertility. Easter Monday also signals the end of Lent and traditional foods with symbolic meaning are consumed.
The wine flowed freely and the music played until the small hours at the annual costume ball in the town of Vlčnov last Saturday. The ball annually launches the reign of the new boy-king elected by the young men who’d come of age the previous year. The centuries old tradition, which culminates with the Ride of the Kings in May, is on UNESCO’s cultural heritage list.
Music is an essential part of the unique Christmas atmosphere. Along with the scent of frankincense and spices, fried carp on the Christmas Eve table, the candles, baubles and mistletoe – traditional music is what makes Czech Christmas complete. Besides Advent and Christmas church music, including the “Czech Christmas Mass” by Jakub Jan Ryba, the local Christmas musical heritage also abounds in folk songs and carols.
Marie Kinsky, a French dancer, teacher and graduate of the French Conservatory of Classical Dance, has moved to Prague back in 1997, and since then, she has been involved in all kinds of dance activities. She established the first Centre for Choreographic Development in the Czech Republic and along with her husband, she has been involved in the reconstruction of the Kinsky family estate in Žďár nad Sázavou. This weekend, the beautiful baroque castle will be hosting the fourth edition of KoresponDance, a festival of dance and physical theatre.
President Miloš Zeman and the First Lady Ivana are hosting a charity ball at Prague Castle, the first social event of this magnitude since the president took office two years ago. 440 people are expected to attend. The event will culminate with a lottery in which one of the prizes is a five-course dinner with the presidential couple. The proceeds will go to charities supported by the First Lady.
A record number of visitors on Saturday came to see the carnival at the open-air museum at Veselý Kopec, near Hlinsko in eastern Bohemia. More than 2,000 people watched a group of young men from a village called Vortová, performing a procession with masks. The centuries-old folk tradition, which remained intact in several communities in the area, was added to the UNESCO list of world heritage in 2010.
Motifs from traditional Moravian folk dress, known as ‘kroje’, are enjoying new popularity in modern fashion, both casual and higher-end. A number of artists and designers have taken inspiration from folklore and updated motifs for the present-day. They hail largely from parts of Moravia where folklore still plays an important role in the Christian calendar, annual events including historic processions and celebrations such as the wine harvest.
Last year, fourteen countries of the central and eastern belt of the European Union joined the project Identity.Move!. Artists from Croatia, Germany, Greece and Lithuania took part in The Lab, a sub-part of the project designed for research on identity. In Prague, they spent a month working on their contributions for the grand finale scheduled to take place in the Czech capital in March 2015.
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