“Ballet dancers’ preparation at conservatories lasts eight years and is the longest out of all arts. Most dancers suffer a serious job-related injury and more than ¾ of dancers wind up their career before 30 years of age,” says Jana Návratová, the head of the administrative board of the Dance Career Endowment Fund, which was founded in 2015 and has supported Czech dancers since. She reveals the pitfalls of being a dancer: “There is currently no social program or any other supporting system allowing for the specific features of a job of a dancer as well as for preparing the dancers for the change in their career,” says Zdeněk Prokeš, the former dancer, choreographer and a former director of Laterna magika, who is one of the founders of the Dance Career Endowment Fund.
The Dance Career Endowment Fund is the only organization in the Czech Republic, which supports dancers during an involuntary change of their job. It also works with students and active dancers and aims to prepare them for changes in their career. One of fund’s many activities is a series of fundraiser events Vstupenka/The Ticket that Helps Czech Dance. The fund is trying to actively engage Czech ballet companies and their audiences as well. Czech ballet has great audiences, the attendance is about 80 % and nearly 100 % in Prague. Yet not many people realize what the job of a dancer is about, when and under which circumstances it finishes. Thus, audiences have a chance to directly support dancers by purchasing tickets for the performance. And this is the mission of the event.
The series of fundraiser events starts with a gala evening Ballet Dancers for the Republic in the Grand Theatre in Pilsen (23 November 2018). The National Theatre in Brno will participate in the event for the second time and will play The Nutcracker as part of the fundraiser event (9 December 2018). The Nutcracker, the popular Christmas story, will be also staged in the National Theatre in Prague (12 December 2018). The series of the fundraiser events will end with the performance of Romeo and Juliet at the F. X. Šalda Theatre in Liberec (30 December 2018).
The event The Ticket that Helps Czech Dance took place for the first time in 2016 with five participating theatres and over 2,000 subsidized tickets sold. There was a unique opportunity to see the performance of Valmont in summer 2018 on the summer stage in Český Krumlov: “Being a dancer and the head of ballet, I know how difficult the situation in our job is, thus I welcome and support the activities of the Endowment Fund. I am happy we could participate not only two years ago in winter, but we also organized a fundraiser performance in summer as well,” the head of the South Bohemian Ballet Lukáš Slavický explains. The dancers use individual coaching and consultations from the offer of the Fund. They are most interested in the issues concerning grants, launch of their business and opportunities to study abroad. “I am sure that I will have a look at notes I put down during individual coaching in the future and they will help me move forward,” says Petr Strnad, the soloist of the National Theatre in Prague, who has used the services of the fund already.
About the Dance Career Endowment Fund (DCEF) in brief
- DCEF was established in 2015 and is the only organization in the Czech Republic, which actively supports dancers, performers and acrobats in the process of the change of their career and preparation for it. It builds up a system that will provide the artists with appropriate conditions for career change.
- The Dance Career Endowment Fund was founded by Vize tance and Taneční sdružení, two professional associations that aim at improving work conditions and professional prospects of performing artists in the field of performing arts.
- The fund provides information and mediates services associated with the development and career change of dancers and other professionals in performing arts. The second main DCEF’s task is lobbing and enforcement of a savings scheme for artists in performing arts.
- DCEF organizes educational programs – seminars, workshops – tailor-made for dance professionals. These programs focus on the launch of business, fundraising, personal PR etc.
- DCRF organizes meetings to share good practice and to spread information about the second career issues at conservatories.
- The Endowment Fund is a member of the international network of IOTPD transition centers (International Organization for the Transition of Professional Dancers)
More at www.tanecnikariera.cz