Press Story

8 Mar 2024

Let The Body Speak is a project run by UA Dance Platform in partnership with The Place, to celebrate and support the work of Ukrainian dance artists since the war started in Ukraine in February 2022. The project is organised with the financial support of the UK/UA Creative Partnerships programme, designed by the British Council and the Ukrainian Institute. The UK/UA Creative Partnerships programme aims to continue and strengthen the collaborations that have emerged between UK and Ukrainian cultural organisations as a result of or in parallel to the UK/Ukraine Season of Culture 2022-2023.

The first edition of Let The Body Speak launched a digital hub to collect dance videos from Ukrainian dancers and choreographers to create a digital archive of works, movement practices and discussions that Ukrainian dance artists are having in this moment of time. Now - moving the project from virtual, to in person artistic collaboration - The Place and UA Dance Platform are partnering with Tanec Praha (Czech Republic) to offer an exceptional opportunity for six Ukrainian, Czech and UK-based artists for professional development, peer learning, and future project development, with the potential to develop work that could tour in Ukraine and beyond.

Focusing on choreographic development and peer exchange, the partners are hosting a 2.5 week residency in Prague in April 2024, to coincide with two significant international networking events in Europe: the Czech Dance Platform where participating artists can encounter innovative new ideas and meet international programmers, and the European Dancehouse Network (EDN) atelier on Dance and Resilience where participating artists can contribute to debates and discussions on topics including sustainable careers, access and care.

The six artists taking part in the residency are:

J Neve Harrington

J Neve Harrington is an interdisciplinary artist whose works include movement, text and conversation, costume and space design. She works mainly in gallery and non-stage spaces where her work prioritises explorations around access, play, agency, confrontation by times/scales beyond the human, neurodivergent experiences of information processing and attention.

Kesha Raithatha

Kesha Raithatha is a dancer and choreographer who embodies Kathak and Contemporary movement. She creates work that is rich in detail and experimentally reconsiders contemporary South Asian dance. Her curiosity and exposure to a wide range of movement training informs and invigorates her dance-making vocabulary. Kesha trains and freelances between India and the UK. Kesha is one of the Associate Directors for Aakash Odedra Company and Resident Creative at Curve Theatre.

Yuliya Hryshina

Yuliya Hryshina is a dancer, performer, specialist in modern and contemporary choreography, teacher of the Kharkiv State Academy of Culture, organizer of educational and art events. Twice winner of the competition of young choreographers of the festival of contemporary dance theater Zelyonka fest.

Khrystyna-Maria Slobodianiuk

Khrystyna-Maria Slobodianiuk is an actress, dancer, independent artist. Researcher of the philosophy of movement, therapist in education (Body-oriented method). The author of 6 physical theater performances and the educational course "Knowledge About Body". Collaborated with the Ukrainian dance company “Totem Dance Group”, the theater “DAKH”, Center for Psychology of Movement and Creative Self-Expression "LMaluma", the contemporary opera laboratory “Opera Aperta”.

Yana Reutova

Yana worked as a dancer, choreographer, and teacher in the Odesa region. In 2014 she founded Dance Theatre Plastilin, organized the “Dance Platform Most” festival. In March 2022, she fled from the war to Prague. She was involved in projects by other choreographers and herself leads workshops for children and develops her own creative work with.

Tereza Krčálová

Tereza Krčálová studied Bohemian and Russian Studies at the Faculty of Arts of Charles University. During her studies she started to research new Russian theatre, which based its conception on dramaturgy. She translates Russian plays into the Czech language and develops the verbatime method. In 2015, she collaborated with choreographer Michal Záhora in project Be spectACTive. In 2019 she joined his and Honza Malík´s new dance platform Pulsar. In cooperation they produced two performances – Generation X and The End´s Turnabout. She created Dance manifest, and initiated and co-created dance performance Absolutely unaccepted! for Prague pride. She led six artistic meetings and co-worked on a conception of project Unstable, where graduates of dance got artistic and production support, and led it as a mentor. She attended a two-year international workshop Micro and Macro Dramaturgies in Dance.Last year she directed a dance performance based on a Belarusian play I will emerge from the forest, straighten my backbone, and it shall become my sword.

While the first part of Let The Body Speak was primarily run online, and offered opportunities for Ukrainian artists to share and develop their practice when the context in which they worked was radically altered due to the ongoing conflict, topics of wellbeing and collaborating across borders regularly came up in the conversation, shaping this second part of the project to address needs that Ukrainian artists have specifically identified.

All three partners have significant experience of offering Artists Development opportunities, and the focus of this project is to develop the choreographic practice of Ukrainian artists, situated within a wider European context, and to encourage more collaboration between Ukrainian choreographers and their European counterparts. The artists will be supported by producers from all three organisations.