Miřenka Čechová

Ballet Dancers

Paseka, 2020, 224 pp
Language: Czech
Genre: Literary fiction
ISBN: 9788076370630
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Foreign rights
Paseka Publishers
W: http://www.paseka.cz
E: Agata@paseka.cz
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81.2% (Rated by 618 users)

A fascinating story about a ballerina’s disillusionment in the bohemian atmosphere of 1990’s Prague.

This fictional diary of a young student dancer at a conservatory not only uncovers the world of ballet schools, dormitories, cut-throat competition and complete exhaustion, but also Prague in the 1990s with its nightclubs, drugs and sexual experimentation. Ballet Dancers, though, focuses more on “old style” classical dancing, an outdated method which should have been discarded a long time ago: destroying the individual through drills and humiliation in the quest for robotically perfect creatures for whom failure is not an option, and whose body does not even belong to them. The director and ballet dancer Miřenka Čechová draws from her own experiences and diary entries with a fine sense of uncompromising self-irony.


Ballet Dancers shows where breaking bones can lead – to the unwavering conviction that a simple life is not worth living and that real experiences can only be found through suffering. At a time when perfection is celebrated, a happy ending in the form of failure is as relieving as icy water on a ballerina’s crippled insteps.”


“What we should be left with is the seriousness of the subject which the author explores on various levels – a critique of a power system which abuses its own authority and absurd standards, and contrastingly, an openness towards the loosening of gender differences.”


About the author:

Miřenka Čechová (1982) is involved in dance and physical theatre both in the Czech Republic and abroad. During her studies she received a prestigious Fulbright scholarship for research and teaching at the American University in Washington DC, where she was the first person ever to teach physical theatre. She has performed in more than 18 productions, many of which were awarded important international prizes. She has been involved in more than ten productions as a director and choreographer, often in international co-productions. As an academic she has taught and lectured at several American universities. She has helped found two theatre groups and has been successful as a writer with her fictional literary-photographic-comics project Miss Amerika (2018) and the fictional diary of a ballet student Baletky (Ballet Dancers, 2020).

Language: Czech
Title: Baletky
Publisher: Paseka
Year: 2020
Pages: 224
Genre: Literary fiction