Light and Movement in Prague’s Medieval Underground For Small Audiences

The cellars of the Stone Bell house on the Old Town square in Prague will light up for several summer weeks for the Light Underground festival, a dance and light performance project under the auspices of the Prague Gallery of Modern Art. The Roman and Gothic arches of the cellars will enter into a dialogue with contemporary performance art. Each performance will be limited to fifteen viewers.

Clip featuring some of the performers in the cellars under the Stone Bell House

Four chamber dance performances choreographed around the theme of light and movement will involve four groups of artists, each featuring dancers, light designers, and musicians (Hana Polanská Turečková, Dora Sulženko Hoštová, Nataša Novotná, Pavla Beranová, Vladivojna La Chia among others). They will take place in regular intervals at the end of July and August as part of the Umění pro mesto (Art for the City) project which formerly focused on visual art and installations in public spaces and which, in 2020, newly incorporates temporary interventions and other performance which feature the topography of the city.

Dancer and choreographer Dora Sulženko Hoštová, musician Jan Čtvrtník and light designer Dominik Jančík created an installation involving technology and dance, named Tanzometr. This unusual multimedia performance will explore the connections between music, light, dance and their measurable potential. Tanzometr will appear on July 15th, 16th, and 17th, with three performances on each day, at 6pm, 6:45pm, and 7:30pm.

Light Underground, Tanzometr / Photo: Jiří Thýn

British dancer and choreographer of Czech descend Andrea Miltnerová and her longtime collaborator, light designer Jan Komárek, will present a visual dance fantasy. Jana Semerádová will accompany them on flute. Their dreamlike improvisation, which is created around the theme of “intuited lives,” and which they are calling Stone’s Memory, will attempt to return the genius loci into the empty Medieval cellars, bringing light, sound, and silence to life under the ancient arches. “Every place we go has had life come through it in some way. Someone passed through, perhaps even stopped… was born or died. There’s a forgotten memory in stones, lying dormant, which we can awaken for a brief moment with our imaginations.”  Stone’s Memory will pass through on July 22nd, 23rd and 24th, with three performances on each day, at 6pm, 6:45pm, and 7:30pm.

Light Underground, Paměť kamene (Stone’s Memory) / Photo: Kryštof Kalina

A narrative performance by dancer and choreographer Nataša Novotná, light designer  Pavla Beranová and composer, lyricist and singer Vladivojna La Chia bears the name Under the Thresholds (Pod prahy.) “Our story is woven of movement, music, and light in a space into which the outside world does not often enter, a space at once unknown and familiar. All you need to do is descend a few stairs and we’ll lead you through a space which has been here for centuries but which is unique in every new moment,” say the authors of this work. For this piece, Vladivojna La Chia has composed new music with her own text which she will sing live. Under the Threshold will take place on Juyl 29th, 30th a 31st of July, with three performances on each day, at 6pm, 6:45pm, and 7:30pm.

Light Underground, Pod prahy (Under the Thresholds) / Photo: Miloš Budík

French artist, set-designer, director, and choreographer Marie Gourdain joins forces with choreographer Hana Polanská Turečková, whose work often combines contemporary dance with visual art, and light designer Zuzana Režná to create the choreographic installation Unfinished system. This composition is created using a pre-set code and agree-upon rules which create unpredictable relationships. The performance will involve five dancers and conductor Jan Bubák (whose composition will be interpreted by singer Ema Katrovas). The work invokes Georgese Bataille and his (never-ending) system of unknowing. “The basis of a thought is always someone else’s thought, just like a brick in the wall is held by a greater whole. We are attempting a common structure which can never be complete. Its outer limits, however, can prove unexpected.” The choreographic installation Unfinished system will take place on August 5th a 6th with three performances on each day, at 6pm, 6:45pm, and 7:30pm.

Light Underground, Unfinished system. Photo: Jiří Thýn

Buy tickets on the site of the Gallery of Modern Art.

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