It must be said that Slovakia is one of the few European countries that does not have a theatre designated exclusively for contemporary dance projects. The venue of Studio tanca in Banská Bystrica is not taken into consideration here since it is a repertory theatre belonging to one company. And so the history of contemporary dance here can also be defined as a story of searching for a space for independent dancers, which seems to be a key issue.
After early co-operation with various cultural centres (of which the Ružinov Culture House was the most supportive in relation to dance in Bratislava) the search resulted in the hopeful premises of the Aréna Theatre in Bratislava. Its founder, famous mime and pedagogue Milan Sladek, had strong links in the dance sector and was keen to dedicate the venue to the regular presentation of dance works. Finally, a theatre built for dance turned into a playhouse. The closure of the Dvorana Atelier of Movement, where premieres and students’ works-in-progress had been presented regularly, only aggravated an already difficult situation. In the course of time, the venue of the STOKA Theatre, which had also offered premises for some dance projects, was pulled down despite great resistance from the art-loving public. From 2004 dance was presented regularly only at A4 – zero space.
However, the situation subsequently began to improve. From 2007 until the first half of 2015 the elledanse was operating. Its venue is exclusively oriented to dance and motion, but as with A4 spatial limitations make it difficult to present more spatially and technically demanding projects. The other space was the venue of the Meteorit International Theatre Group which, in addition to domestic and foreign contemporary dance, presented drama and children’s productions.
Dance is regularly presented at the famous Stanica – Open Cultural Space in Žilina, which was founded and is operated as an independent space for contemporary art by the civic association Truc Sphérique under the leadership of Marek Adamov. In addition to performances, Stanica is also a residential space and has co-produced several original works. The Bona Fide civic association was founded in 1995 in Košice, when after organising several successful activities in the field of culture, its founders decided to implement their efforts under a common name. They founded a place for their activities in the former Cultural Centre in the town of Vyšné Opátske, and in 2005 the IC Culture Train centre began to operate. In their dramaturgy they strove to incorporate various types of art and other activities, contemporary dance among them. In 2007, the scope of activities were shifted to a former barracks, where the Kasárne Kulturpark Independent Cultural Centre project became one of the main investment projects of the candidature of Košice for the title the European Cultural Capital 2013. At present we can find two rebuilt premises in Košice, in which modern dance is presented as well – Kasárne and Tabačka.
The Garden – The Centre of independent culture is a non-profit organisation, which initially functioned as an informal grouping of artists, cultural managers and volunteers. On moving to new premises in the garden in Beniczky’s passage in 2010 it acquired its current name. The main scope of the organisation is to provide space for the presentation and production of contemporary and community art in the form of theatre and dance performances, concerts, festivals and exhibitions, but also for its own artistic production and education. Záhrada- The Garden is the seat of the civic association SKOK!, which fulfils the function of information and residential centre for contemporary dance and physical theatre.
From November 2011 to June 2015 there was a project in the SND – Mondays of contemporary dance in the Slovak National Theatre. It was founded in collaboration with elledanse and it was initiated by the choreographers Sarka Ondrisova and Mario Radacovsky, the then director of SND Ballet. The project should be replaced by a new form of cooperation of the SND and independent artists in the field of contemporary dance.