Tantehorse – physical mime theatre
Tantehorse was founded in 2006 by Miřenka Čechová and Radim Vizvary as Teatro Pantomissimo. Initially the group focused on continuing the strong Czech tradition of modern pantomime, picking up on the work of their teacher Boris Hybner and the influences of Ladislav Fialka and Marcel Marceau. However, the ensemble soon abandoned the world of fragile silence and went their own way through slapstick, comedy and black humor, with works tending towards surrealism and decadence. The encounter with the Japanese dance art Butoh was crucial for the group and strongly influenced its poetics. Three separate performances were created between 2007 and 2009, and interconnected into one dramaturgically elaborate concept named Dark Trilogy under the direction of Petr Boháč. The impressive style as well as content of this piece, which takes the spectator through minimalism, surrealism and decandence, reveals the richness of physical theatre which Tantehorse elevated to a strongly aesthetic and emotionally intense piece of art. The press wrote about Dark Trilogy: "They belong to the very best of Czech physical theatre not only with regard to their professionalism, mimic, acting and dancing skills, but also for their originality, powerful thoughts and artistic quality. Their show is an amazing spectacle." (Vojtěch Varyš, Divadelní noviny)
Tantehorse now more often extend their presence outside the Czech Republic, where they are primarily devoted to teaching and presenting new plays. Both founding members are active in the theater school Die Etage in Berlin, leading master classes in Poland, Germany, Italy and Bulgaria, while they are both studying for their PhD’s at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. In the last year they made their presence felt in the United States, where Miřenka Čechová presented her artistic work in Washington, DC, Pennsylvania and Florida in the series of lectures and performances. At the same time she joined Synetic Theatre to play the part of the Fool in their wordless production of King Lear. Radim Vizvary has added directing and teaching to his activities in Berlin and Prague. The ensemble has closely collaborated with world leaders of physical theater (Sabine Seume, Anke Gerber, Bartolomiej Ostapczuk, Irina Andreeva, Olivier Pollac) and takes part in organizing international conferences dealing with theoretical and practical problems of the genre.
Their home scene, however, is still in Prague, where they create and present new performances, which then collect enthusiastic response abroad. The ensemble have already introduced their work in 11 countries and have successfully represented the Czech Republic at major theater festivals (Acco Theatre Festival in Izrael, International mime festival KINEMA in Wroclaw, Unidram festival in Berlin, International Mime Art Festival in Warsaw, International Pantomime Festival in Dresden), where the Tantehorse performances are viewed as absolutely unique, provocative, and seeking the essence of theater. Due to this, the Czech theatrical environment remains extremely creative and, in spite of the gradual commercialization of art, retains its essential artistic function.
From the press:
“Mirenka Cechova's motion style, combining mime school with the physical theater which finally connected in butoh, represents the peak of her work. It is visually quite unique, honest and sometimes breathtaking motion expression. It is unique in that it avoids the purely aesthetic gestures and movements, and brings authentic movement phraseology, in which we see the efforts to capture the essence of movement which is based on a real inner experience. " (Tanecni Zona)