The Otherness of Czech Contemporary Circus - CircusTalk

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The Otherness of Czech Contemporary Circus

Czech contemporary circus is in many ways a unique phenomenon. Having been born of the will of theatre actors and directors, dancers or actors of physical theatre, it is frequently perceived as non-verbal or experimental theater within the Czech cultural environment itself. Theater actors and dancers, though nowadays more often than not in association with gymnasts and international artists, still influence and determine the aesthetic qualities of Czech circus. As an art form, Czech contemporary circus is very young: its lifespan is still best measured in years rather than in decades.
Defining Czech Circus The division between traditional and contemporary circus in the Czech Republic has always been clear-cut. The operation of traditional Czech circuses falls under the Ministry of Agriculture (due to animal husbandry issues); as such, traditional circuses are therefore not legally recognized from any cultural policy point of view. Czech traditional circus differs from Czech contemporary circus not only with respect to its legal status, but also in terms of the values it recognizes, the philosophy it embodies and, above all, the origins it has emerged from. Traditional circus is obviously older and, unlike contemporary circus, inextricably linked to animal training and menageries. From a Czech cultural policy standpoint, contemporary circus falls within the purview of the Ministry of Culture and, at regional level, under the administration of various municipal authorities; cont...
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Veronika Stefanova

Veronika Štefanová holds a PhD from the department of theatre studies at Charles University in Prague, exploring contemporary circus as a dramatic art. She occasionally teaches at Academy of Performing Arts in Prague and is in charge of the circus magazine, library, documentation, and research at CIRQUEON, the umbrella organization for the support and development of contemporary circus in the Czech Republic.