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Miřenka Čechová

Biography

The performance artist, choreographer, stage director and writer Miřenka Čechová is currently one of the most distinguished experimental dance and physical theatre figures to be found in the Czech Republic or elsewhere. After graduating from the Dance Conservatory in Prague (classical ballet), she studied in parallel at the Theatre Faculty (alternative theatre) and the Music and Dance Faculty (nonverbal theatre) of the Academy of Performing Arts, concluding her education in 2012 with a doctorate in directing physical and nonverbal theatre. After receiving a prestigious Fulbright scholarship, she was afforded the opportunity to carry out research and teach at American University in Washington, DC, where she was the first to give physical theatre classes. As a performance artist, she has created two dozen or so feature-length, mainly original, productions, many of which have garnered coveted international accolades, including S/He is Nancy Joe (Best of Contemporary Dance 2012, The Washington Post; the Herald Angel Award at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe), The Voice of Anne Frank (Best Overseas Production at the National Arts Festival, South Africa; the Outstanding Performance Award at the Prague Fringe festival; Best of Fringe at the Amsterdam Fringe festival), Antiwords (Divadelní noviny Prize, prizes at the Next Wave festival in Prague and the Skupova Plzeň festival of puppet and alternative theatre), and numerous other awards. As a stage director and choreographer, she has conceived more than 15 feature-length productions, many of them in collaboration with foreign partners, for instance, Sniper’s Lake (a coproduction with the Baerum Kulturhus, Norway), Krevety á la Indigo / Prawns á la Indigo (supported by a residency at Schloss Bröllin, Germany; and in another version for Dixon Place, NYC), FAiTH (supported by a residency at the Atlas Performing Arts Center in Washington, DC), Vernisáž / Private View (produced by the New Music Theater in Washington, DC) and Vivisectic (at the Center for Performance Research, Brooklyn; and Gibney Dance, Manhattan).

Miřenka Čechová has also directed several opera productions, including Opera and the French Revolution, commissioned by Opera Lafayette, an American company specialising in French Baroque opera, and staged at the Rose Theater at the Lincoln Center in New York and at the Lisner Auditorium in Washington, DC.

On the basis of her English-Czech fictional documentary book Miss AmeriKa (wo-men), she created an eponymous one-woman show, for which she was nominated for the Thalia Prize. Her second book, Baletky (Ballerinas, Paseka), received nominations for the European Union Prize for Literature and the Divadelní noviny Prize.   

A sought-after academic, she has taught and given lectures at several universities in the US (American University in Washington, DC; Tampa University in Florida; Stephens Collage in Missouri and Mercersburg Academy in Pennsylvania, where she has worked as a choreographer and tutor in original creation). She co-founded Spitfire Company (with P. Boháč) and Tantehorse (together with R. Vizváry) theatre groups, as well as the Nultý bod / Zero Point international festival of dance, physical theatre and performing arts.

Over the past few years, she has intensely dedicated to docu-dance and worked on the Invisible project, a series of documentaries about female artists. She has also been a curator of Emergency Dances, centred on activism in dance, and TanteLab, an educational platform serving to bridge the end of studies and the beginning of professional careers of young artists.