Zdeňka Morávková: The Incoming Generation is Promising

Tančírna is an Art Nouveau building hiding in the forests of Račí valley located in the Rychlebské Mountains. It is a cultural institution that organizes concerts, readings, theater performances and collaborates on the preparation and implementation of the Czech-German site-specific festival V centru / Im Zentrum. The dance hall in an impressive Art Nouveau style was built in 1906-1907 for George Kopp. It must have been truly majestic, judging from the preserved photographs and historical descriptions. At that time, it apparently used to be a very lively cultural and social element. How is the life in the "Heart of the Rychlebské Mountains" today?

Tančírna is once again a lively cultural center and a popular tourist destination. It was renewed in 2015 in its original style and spirit. It has been very popular with the public who has been using it for private events and workshops. It is ideal for swinging events, but it is also appreciated by the community of yoga people due to its background with a unique genius loci. Tančírna is unique in its possibility to offer an amazing architectural space with lively contact with nature and the surrounding landscape. There is a stream running through the Račí valley, beautiful mixed forests. Nearby, there are the ruins of Rychleby Castle and Jánský vrch Chateau. Moreovere, there are many hiking trips to the ridge and other picturesque valleys of the Rychlebské Mountains.

Ten years ago, Zdeňka Morávková moved from Prague where she worked as a curator for educational activities for the National Gallery in Prague to the Rychlebské Mountains. She fell in love with local nature, wholehearted people and romantics and was overwhelmed by many local places. Since 2015, she has been taking care of cultural life in Tančírna and a small chapel in Zálesí. Within the festival V centru she and her friends try to bring culture to the places that have almost been forgotten.

The program at Tančírna is quite diverse, what is its main mission?

The main mission is to create an open cultural program for both the locals and tourists who like the Rychlebské Mountains and have lately been discovering them more and more. The purpose of our institution is to complement the mosaic of the culture with a piece that was rather missing. That is, music genres, marginally even the theater or authorial readings, lectures or festivals, which have not been represented in the region so far. We do not want to compete with the communities and their own program. That wouldn't make sense.

Can you briefly introduce the participation of Tančírna on the Czech-German site-specific festival V centru / Im Zentrum? What is it about?

I have to answer slightly more broadly. Tančírna was repaired by the village of Bernartice - a small village to which land cadastre Tančírna even doesn’t belong. But the municipality could not reconcile the idea that Tančírna would not exist any more. After a sensitively done reconstruction, we were looking for a way to ensure a cultural program that was demanded by the public. And at this moment, negotiations with the micro region Javornicko (consisted of five villages in the vicinity of Tančírna- Javorník, Bílá Voda, Uhelná, Vlčice and Bernartice) began. I find it absolutely extraordinary that we have succeeded in joining the forces, creating a vision and, last but not least, bringing together part of the budget to make the Tančírna not only beautiful but also useful. And the micro region Javornicko was also the first partner of the cultural center V centru. It made sense to us to combine the beautiful repaired Tančírna with other half-forgotten places in the countryside or in the villages. In Tančírna readings, concerts and discussions are taking place. The site-specific performances are presented in more or less remote locations. In fact, it is a unique opportunity to get viewers to the places they might even not know that exist.

Since 2006, Tančírna has been managed by the town of Bernartice. In the beginning, the locals were greatly involved in the rescuing and revitalization of the building. Is the community involved in some way even today?

Yes, it is involved at several levels. Some people continue to participate in the form of philanthropy. These supporters either give financial donations or they volunteer (by occasional help with the event production on the spot). Another form of help is the public's suggestions for the dramaturgy and line-ups. I gather impulses from both the mayors and the local residents. I ask them whom they would like to meet and hear in Tančírna. Even though the dramaturgy is based on the support of the so-called alternative, we do not reject the mainstream or other spheres if we know that the locals will really enjoy it and it will not be too financially demanding for us.
When the older generation, for example, asks me for the dulcimer band, I am glad to invite a good one. Similarly, we welcomed Tomáš Klus, whose concert was held in support of the discussion on the poor condition of the Jeseníky forests. The affectionates offer to sponsor a single event, and the profit from the tickets is then used to support other actions that would be difficulty paid by themselves. I try to think of all generations and potential target groups. My aim is to ensure that almost everybody has the reason to visit Tančírna at least once a season, from the small children, families, teenagers to seniors to whom we offer free concerts in the form of so-called 3 o’clock tea.

What has recently pleased you in the field of culture?

Wherever I have recently gone in the Czech Republic, more and more often I encounter various cultural projects of all types, ranging from revitalizing of the cowsheds and transforming them into the residential programs for artists, to the effort to revive every little town with events like Restaurant day or Pechakucha night. And it really makes me happy. It seems to me that more and more people have realized that the quality of the life on the spot can be influenced in the first place by themselves. In my view, this topic is generally related to the civic engagement. And so I am happy to follow the upcoming generation, which seems to me to be extremely promising. In my opinion, more and more people see the wealth and potential of the so-called "outstations", they do not look for it in big cities, but they are willing to create them by themselves in the place they live.

On the contrary, what has disappointed you?

I regret that the regions or the ministries pay little attention to the cultural events in the regions. Greater attention is paid by the foundations or NGOs. You see, it is not always just about money. Sometimes you just need to hear some encouraging words or get an offer of really good training to feel the sense of achievement from your own work. It seems to me that the state doesn’t support start-ups (or I just don't know where and how to look for it?). However, as a result, it makes no difference. The state is simply invisible. If you do not have your own good contacts, you may feel quite lost and then it’s no wonder that there are people in the cultural field who burn out. So waiting for the first five years to be overcame can be quite a challenge.

What are your wishes?

I wish people were not afraid to show their authenticity. I wish people were more relaxed and able to enjoy happiness, music, madness and beauty regardless of their age and ideally without “enablers” like alcohol. Moreover, I wish they were not afraid to think about deep and difficult topics and were able to go through them so that they do not have to fear themselves or others. I believe that a good cultural institution can contribute to it, if just a little bit.

Author: Magdalena Špačková