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July 2019


ARCHA.MAG - 1/08


In the last week in January, Archa Theatre will present the premiere of the project 420people from dancer Nataša Novotná and choreographer Václav Kuneš. Both artists have worked for a long time abroad and the performance at Archa is their return to the Czech stage. Nataša Novotná talks to Archa.mag about what will come next, how many members 420people actually has, and how it is far from being just a performance title.

What, or rather who 420people is…

420people is Nataša Novotná, Václav Kuneš and Ondřej Kotrč. The first two are linked by their engagement in one of the most famous world contemporary dance groups, the Nederlands Dans Theatre. They are also all united, apart from by nationality, by the desire and commitment to share their experience and knowledge with Czech audiences. To put many years of experience at the top of the international dance world to use with Czech dancers here in Czech Republic. We would also like to present our new Czech creation abroad. The 420 in our title is actually a sort of identification number, just like the telephone prefix for Czech Republic.

How we are working with Czech dancers at the moment and how we will work with others in the future…
For the first project of 420people we have chosen dancers from the ballet of the National Theatre in Prague, who have already worked with Václav Kuneš on the choreography Malá Ryba. These professionals have experience in contemporary dance and this gives us more room to concentrate on the other details of the performance. For the following productions – and we have already started, with a workshop in November – we would like to gradually find/produce “our own” dancers. We believe in quality and professionalism which is linked, as in all other professions, to education, experiences and personal approach and it is exactly this which we can and want to offer dancers here.

What we are presenting at Archa…..
For the performance at Archa we have chosen four fairly different choreographies. In the first of these, the above-mentioned Malá Ryba, the chorographer Václav Kuneš and the dramaturge Edd Schouten from the Netherlands were inspired by George Orwell’s book 1984. Neem-ya is a title which Václav Kuneš created for the Copenhagen International Ballet last year. In addition to the dance, the audience will be carried away by music from the jazz star Nina Simone. The newest piece from Kuneš’ workshop is the duet Small Hour, the first original choreography for 420 people, which he dances together with Nataša Novotná. After Small Hour was presented in the Hague in the Netherlands, the piece was incorporated into the programmes of Dutch theatres for the 2008 season and in this way 420people got its first international tour. One of our international guests at Archa will be the French dancer and chorographer Abou Lagraa, who will present the Prague premiere of his solo Ou Transe.

As a bonus for audiences, we have prepared an exhibition of photographs from Joris-Jan Bos, resident photographer of the Nederlands Dans Theatre and The Forsythe Company

And what we are generally bringing to the Czech dance scene…
The impulse for founding 420people was an endeavour to make good use of our professional experience to date, not only on the stage and through working with dancers, but also by presenting all our work in Czech Republic. We want to offer audiences performances where attention to detail and precision in all components creates a single organism, which helps bring the work of other young Czech artists – scenographers, designers, light designers, composers, musicians, etc – to life. We will try to present at least one new premiere at Prague’s Archa each season and accompany each performance with workshops. If possible, we will also take the performance to other stages in the Czech Republic and thus get “closer” to our audiences.


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