Eva Horáková, Longtime Soloist of the Laterna Magika Theater and Head of Ballet at the Czech National Theater Opera, Dies at 50

Eva Horáková (photo: Lucie Kocourková)

On August 3rd, the excellent dancer and longtime soloist, one time head of the Laterna Magika theater and head of ballet at the National Theater Opera, Eva Horáková, died unexpectedly. She began her career at the Slovak National Theater but then dedicated almost all of her career to Prague’s Laterna Magika, where she appeared as a guest in 1992 at the invitation of choreographer Libor Vaculík, in a dance adaptation of The Magic Flute. She proceeded to excel as a soloist and was nominated, in 2002, for a Thálie Award and, in 2005, won the Philip Morris Ballet Flower Award for best ballet artist in the Czech Republic.

Eva Horáková (* 9. 7. 1970 – 3. 8. 2020) was a talented, multifaceted dancer with a distinctive, sensitive expressiveness in both classical and contemporary repertoire. She was born in Bratislava and graduated from the Eva Jaczová dance conservatory in 1988. For four years, she was a member of the Slovak National Theater then, in 1992, moved to the Laterna Magika theater in Prague. As a soloist, she danced Pamina in Hra o kouzelné flétně (Play About a Magic Flute, 1992), Ariadna in The Minitour (1993), Penelope and Nausika in a succesfull production of Odysseus (1993), Angelika in Juraj Jakubisko’s Casanova (1995). In 2002 she was nominated, along with her dance partner Pavel Knoll, for the Thálie Award (an annual national award for theater arts) for her performance in the program Graffiti in which she danced the choreography of Petr Zuska, Les Bras de Mer (see video below.) She danced solo parts in Hádanky (Riddles, 1996), Past (Trap, 2006) and Jean-Pier Aviott’s Rendez-vous (2006). In the years 2005–2009 she was the head of the Laterna Magica theater and, even after it was merged with the National Theater, Eva continued to dance, for example in Jiří Srnec’s Legendy magické Prahy (Legends of Magic Prague.)

Les Bras de Mer, Eva Horáková and Petr Zuska dancing

“For me, she was always an inspiring figure, an irreplaceable partner on stage, an absolutely reliable professional anchor. She left a deep mark which we will cherish for a long time to come,” said Pavel Knoll, Eva Horáková’s longtime dance partner.

Besides Laterna Magika, Eva was also a guest at the Prague Chamber Ballet, where she danced in the choreographies Svatby (Weddings, by P. Šmok) and Slovanské dvojzpěvy (Slavic Duets, by L. Vaculík) and at the F. X. Šalda Theater in Liberec (CarmenPeer Gynt). She also collaborated with the La Compagnie Commun Instant of French choreographer Jean-Pier Aviott, whom she assisted as répétiteur and assistant during his many years working at the Laterna Magika. Besides standard theater repertoire, choreographer Petr Zuska created a successful duet for Eva and her dance partner Pavel Knoll called Lyrická (Lyrical, 2008) (see video below). In 2012, she became the head of the ballet ensemble of the National Theater Opera and continued to dance smaller parts in operas. She never had to give up on the world of dance even after she had her son at the age of 40.

Lyrical (Lyrická), Eva Horáková and Pavel Knoll dance Petr Zuska’s choreography

This summer, Eva Horáková celebrated her 50th birthday, for which she was interviewed in the Taneční aktuality magazine:

 “If I ever find life balance to be an issue, I just tell myself that I had a good time and regret nothing. I got lucky when it comes to choreographers and dance partners and I’m grateful that I could continue to exist within the world of dance, which I’ve loved since I was a child. I find fulfilment in the fact that I can pass on my experiences and share the stage with others.”

Note: Eva Horáková’s death was not Covid-related.

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