photo by Eva Brunclíková

The EDN Atelier "Dance & Resilience", hosted by Tanec Praha, took place from 10 to 12 April 2024 in Prague, Czechia, following the Czech Dance Platform.

Nearly 30 performing artists, presenters, managers, community organisers, and other dance professionals discussed perspectives on the topics of career sustainability and practices of care, supporting artists, audiences and professionals at times of crises, conflict and extreme precarity in Visegrád countries (Czechia, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia) and Ukraine.

Guest speakers included dance artists and choreographers Julia Grishina, Khrystyna Slobodianiuk, Oleksandr Manshilin, Yana Reutova, Nika Horiacha, Rita Lira, Viktor Ruban and Yaroslav Kaynar from Ukraine; dancer, choreographer and curator Ryszard Kalinowski from Poland; Hungarian dancer, choreographer and teacher Marta Ladjanszki; Hungarian dance writer Orsolya Bálint; and dramaturg and theatre critic Marek Godovič from Slovakia.

The Atelier was an occasion for dance artists to connect with colleagues, artists and peers working in the contemporary dance sector in Europe in an engaging programme of participatory movement workshops, panel discussions, and presentations of artistic works to exchange about artistic creations and the struggles in creation in the current locally specific situations.

Creative Management in a Conflict Zone

The Ukrainian dance community faces significant challenges amidst the ongoing war, grappling with disruptions to production schedules and funding opportunities. Viktor Ruban, based in Kyiv and joining the conversation remotely, informs on the difficulty of producing works in a war zone, while international co-financing avenues are for a large part no longer viable due to the war's impact on international payments. Collaborations with institutions abroad are further complicated by the different temporalities and schedules caused by the conflict's disruptions.

In response, initiatives like Dance Base's "How Do You Dance in a War Zone?" project, launched after attending the EDN Encounter “Support for the Ukrainian Dance Community” in 2022 online, aim to explore artistic creation in wartime.

Another dance-specific support action has been initiated since EDN’s 2022 Encounter event. "Let The Body Speak" is a project run by the Ukrainian Dance Platform in partnership with The Place, to celebrate and support the work of Ukrainian dance artists. 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 Ukrainian initiative “Contemporary Dance Platform”, as mentioned by Oleksandr Manšilin, seeks to sustain and promote Ukrainian contemporary dance until the war ends.

For Ukrainian artists leaving the country and working abroad, visa and residency challenges persist, with Nika Horiacha highlighting the difficulties faced by Ukrainian artists in obtaining visas for Czechia. Yvona Kreuzmannová, director of Tanec Praha, notes that some dancers in Czechia must enrol as students, limiting their ability to receive proper compensation for their work. Rita Lira recounts her experience of arriving in France after the war, where she received support from La Briqueterie to obtain residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts, a process that took a year before she could present her first show.

Amidst these challenges, the international community's support and fundraising efforts have been crucial. A recovery fund has been established by Viktor Ruban to support artistic projects in Ukraine, with the global artistic community recognizing the importance of sustaining Ukrainian artistic practices during the war. Yana Reutova plans to adapt the concept of her studio in Ukraine based on her experiences in Prague when she returns, reflecting the resilience and adaptability of the Ukrainian dance community.

What Really Helps Ukrainian Artists in the Current Situation?

Resilience and Adaptability

Viktor Ruban highlights the importance of solidarity, quick decision-making, autonomous work, synergy, and exploiting resources sustainably. These factors contribute to resilience and the ability to adapt to challenging circumstances.

Artistic Expression and Healing

Khrystyna-Maria Slobodianiuk notes that the sense of responsibility for artists has changed, leading to the creation of performances for traumatized audiences. Dance, music, and the presence of supportive communities, as mentioned by Yaroslav Kaynar, can help artists cope and find solace through artistic expression.

International Support and Connections

Yaroslav Kaynar emphasizes the value of support from friends and dance companies across Europe, underscoring the importance of staying connected. Yvona Kreuzmannová sees the current situation as an opportunity to make the Ukrainian dance scene more widely known within Europe.

Raising Awareness and Funds

Rita Lira mentions that artists in Ukraine perform to raise money for volunteers, highlighting the role of art in supporting humanitarian efforts. There is a desire to find ways to support performers in Ukraine who cannot or choose not to leave the country.

Solidarity and Recognition

Yana Reutova expresses wonder among Ukrainian dance expats about the lack of interest in Ukrainian dancers, suggesting a need for greater recognition and solidarity within the international dance community. Nika Horiacha expresses gratitude to artists in Ukraine for keeping the artistic community alive.

Overall, the conversation highlighted the importance of resilience, adaptability, artistic expression, international support, fundraising efforts, and solidarity within the dance community as crucial factors in helping Ukrainian dance artists navigate the current situation.

Resilience in the Independent Dance Scenes of the Visegrád Countries

The independent dance scene in the Visegrád countries – Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, and Czechia – faces various challenges and opportunities shaped by political influences, funding constraints, and the need for international collaborations and support networks.

In Hungary and Slovakia, artists grapple with the impact of political influences on arts councils and funding bodies. Hungarian artists struggle with international collaborations as foreign artists are reluctant to come and work in the country due to the political situation. In addition, the lack of funding and inability to contribute financially hinders Hungarian artists' participation in cooperation projects.

In contrast, the independent dance scene in Poland emerged as a grassroots movement in the 1990s and has been less dependent on political situations. Ryszard Kalinowski reports that the municipal Centre for Culture in Lublin works with other initiatives, and the network of regional cultural centres in Poland works well together, being able to contribute to and influence policy-making and cultural funding.

International collaborations and support networks play a crucial role in sustaining the independent dance scene in the Visegrád countries. Maintaining collaborations and connections and keeping in touch with Hungarian artists is vital for mental health and support, as highlighted by Orsolya Bálint. Yvona Kreuzmannová emphasizes the importance of international cooperation and discusses using the European recovery fund, inspired by Poland, to improve working conditions for the Czech dance community.

While political influences and funding constraints pose challenges, the resilience of the independent dance scene in the V4 countries is evident in the grassroots movements, regional networks, and the pursuit of international collaborations and support. As artists and organizations navigate these complexities, they continue to find ways to support each other, foster connections, and advocate for better working conditions, ensuring the vitality and growth of the independent dance scene in the region.

In the face of challenges, artists shared their personal methods for resilience. Ryszard Kalinowski finds strength in envisioning himself in the future, while Marek Godovič underscored the importance of a community of artists and seeking co-productions across borders.

Even in difficult times, Marta Ladjánszki tries to organize events, showcasing the power of perseverance. Orsolya Bálint reminded us to embrace lifelong learning, remain curious, and avoid harsh self-criticism. Respecting one's emotions, she noted, allows for mutual understanding and comfort.

When asked what could change their current situation, the artists had insightful perspectives. Yvona Kreuzmannová called for real dialogue, while Marta Ladjánszki pondered how to channel the beauty of dance amid an uncertain future. Ryszard Kalinowski advocated for dance education from an early age, making it a basic education and skill rather than an acquired skill.

Across their diverse experiences, these artists exemplified the resilience required to uplift the arts. Through optimism, community, perseverance, lifelong learning, self-compassion, open dialogue, and nurturing the inherent human appreciation for dance, they light a path forward.

Overcoming Barriers

The final discussion highlighted several challenges faced by Ukrainian artists in integrating into the dance communities of host countries like Czechia. Financial constraints, cultural differences in dance education approaches, and a perceived temporary nature of their situation can hinder full participation and language learning.

There is a need for clear communication, solidarity, and cooperation from the host dance communities to be more inclusive and avoid insular conservative tendencies.

Concrete actions proposed included networking opportunities, sharing artistic works, establishing support programs for the traumatized, facilitating residencies for Ukrainian artists to visit festivals abroad, and developing methodologies around somatic therapy. Overcoming generational trauma through artistic expression and finding spaces to propose and share one's talents were also emphasized. 

While challenges exist in justifying such integration efforts to politicians, the participants agreed that continued dialogue, solidarity between arts professionals, and creating connections are crucial first steps. A spirit of mutual learning and exchange can help build relationships and more inclusive dance communities that embrace diversity.

Current and Ongoing Initiatives

Solidarity Map

Creatives Unite have prepared a project directory, mapping the EU’s solidarity actions with Ukraine.

Project Grants

Culture Helps / Культура допомагає supports Ukrainian displaced people and the Ukrainian Cultural and Creative Sectors.

Cooperation Grants

ZMINA supports international cooperation projects between Ukrainian and European partners fostering resilience through creativity and innovation.

Community Practices

Aerowaves’ Moving Borders project aims to provide cultural organisations with tools for welcoming and engaging refugees through dance.

About EDNext

Each year, the EDNext project investigates important thematic topics relevant to the contemporary dance sector and disseminates the findings. In 2024, the project facilitates a platform to discuss and map the practices of care and wellbeing in the development of contemporary dance. EDNext is brought to you with the support of the Creative Europe funding.



Performing artists, presenters, managers, community organisers, and other dance professionals were invited to join us in Prague this April to get informed on various regional perspectives on the topics of career sustainability and practices of care, supporting artists, audiences and professionals at times of crises, conflict and extreme precarity.

The EDN Atelier “Dance & Resilience” in Prague began on the afternoon of 10 April, following the Czech Dance Platform’s final discussion & brunch. During the two following days, the Atelier proposed a series of open discussions and workshops with a presentation of practices from Czechia, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Ukraine.

Which initiatives have lately been developed to sustain artistic work in these countries? What are their working conditions really like? How do they go about creating safe and reliable spaces to work on topics that relate to difficult issues? What are the challenges that artists find most affecting in each country and what are the ways or strategies to cope with them?


Ateliér EDN na téma Dance & Resilience odstartuje v Praze 10. dubna 2024 odpoledne po závěrečné diskusi a brunchi České taneční platformy. Během následujících tří dnů nabídne sérii otevřených diskusí a workshopů s prezentací praxe z Česka, Maďarska, Polska, Slovenska a Ukrajiny.
Které iniciativy vznikly v poslední době pro udržení umělecké práce v těchto zemích? Jaké jsou jejich skutečné pracovní podmínky? Jak se jim daří vytvářet bezpečný a spolehlivý prostor pro práci na tématech, která se týkají obtížných otázek? Jaké výzvy se umělců v jednotlivých zemích nejvíce dotýkají a jaké jsou způsoby či strategie, jak se s nimi vyrovnat?

Atelier Programme

Tuesday, 9 April 2024



From 14:00: last day of Czech Dance Platform


Wednesday, 10 April 2024

14:00 @Studio Krenovka

Artists living and working in Ukraine & artists living and working in EU, CZ – sharing experiences with Julia Grishina, Khrystyna Slobodianiuk, Oleksandr Manshilin (all UA), Yana Reutova (UA/CZ), Nika Horiacha (UA/ES), Rita Lira (UA/FR)

17:00 @Čítárna Unijazz (hybrid format TBC)

Creative management in a conflict zone
with Oleksandr Manšilin (UA), Ukrainian artists from EU: Yana Reutova (UA/CZ), Nika Horiacha (UA/ES), Rita Lira (UA/FR), Viktor Ruban (UA) & Yaroslav Kaynar (UA) - on Zoom, moderated by Yvona Kreuzmannová (CZ) 


20:00 @PONEC – dance venue

Unity in Motion - projection Let the Body Speak (30 min) & Performance Yana Reutova (UA/CZ): Together Alone – Lost (20 min)


Thursday, 11 April 2024

10:00 – 11:00 @Studio Krenovka

Warm up with Marta Ladjanszki - open to artists, dancers, professionals

11:15 – 13:00 @Čítárna Unijazz

Dance & Resilience in V4 countries - Discussion on political influences on the independent scene in HU, SK, PL with Ryszard Kalinowski (PL), Marta Ladjanszki (HU), Orsolya Bálint (HU), Marek Godovič (SK), facilitated by Ema Šlechtová (CZ)


15:00 – 17:00 @Studio Krenovka

Video presentations & networking with artists from V4 (tbc)

Evening Programme


Friday, 12 April 2024

10:00 – 11:00 @Studio Krenovka

Warm up with Yana Reutova - open to artists, dancers, professionals

11:15 – 13:00 @Čítárna Unijazz (hybrid format TBC)

Dance & Resilience in Ukraine and V4 countries; summary, final round table discussion. Moderated by Yvona Kreuzmannová & Ema Šlechtová (CZ)

Afternoon: Departure


How to participate with EDN travel support?

EDN could reimburse a fixed amount of travel contribution (calculated here), 3 per diems at 30€ per day, book and cover three nights of accommodation for up to 7 participants. Priority was given to EDN members and their associates. A participation fee of 150€ was invoiced to the participant or their organisation.

EDN members were invited to respond to the Travel Bursaries Open Call on behalf of their associated artists and other freelance professionals.


How to participate without EDN travel support?

Up to 10 further participants could join the Atelier without receiving travel support. These participants had to book and cover travel and accommodation individually.



The deadline to register for the Atelier was 4 March 2024.

Registrations are closed 


If you have any questions, please get in touch with Christoph Bovermann at

Tanec Praha

PONEC - dance venue

Prague I Czech Republic