Top pick: From dance studio to stage

THE BALL season is upon us. Companies have started to throw parties and the schedule of the most versatile amateur dance group in Slovakia, appropriately called Spektrum, is hitting a frantic pace.
Recently the group returned from the World Dance Show Championships in the German town of Riesa. Its dancers came seventh out of 23 in this well-regarded competition.
However, parties and competitions are not the only venues where the group can be seen.


ALTHOUGH amateurs, Spektrum can dance to any tune.
photo: Courtesy of Spektrum

THE BALL season is upon us. Companies have started to throw parties and the schedule of the most versatile amateur dance group in Slovakia, appropriately called Spektrum, is hitting a frantic pace.

Recently the group returned from the World Dance Show Championships in the German town of Riesa. Its dancers came seventh out of 23 in this well-regarded competition.

However, parties and competitions are not the only venues where the group can be seen.

The more-than-100-member dance group Spektrum usually puts together a public programme of their most recent works every year. This year's two-hour programme, entitled In the Whirl of Dance, will be performed on December 1 at Bratislava's Istropolis. The show will consist of 20 pieces ranging from ballroom and Latin to modern disco and narrative dances.

The show will open with six pairs of dancers waltzing to Whitney Houston's I Will Always Love You. The slow rhythm will then switch into a swift boogie-woogie swing from the '30s performed to crazy music from the movie The Mask.

Some other pieces include a hip-hop style dance to Madonna's music and Spektrum's own interpretations of dances from famous musicals such as Grease and Cats. A group of around 20 children will dance to a variety of music, and then do their own version of the Irish dance show Lord of the Dance. The dance the group recently performed in Germany will close the show.

"The group's title - Spektrum - reflects the wide range of dance styles we engage in," says 22-year-old Michal Smolák, a coordinator of the group's activities and one of the dancers.

The group was founded by dance teacher Jozef Házy in 1981 and specialised at that time in ballroom and Latin dance. Five years later, when Hana Švehlová took over, the group shifted to trendy and modern dance techniques and became the leading Slovak amateur dance collective.

For over 12 years Spektrum has been doing very well at Slovakia's Dance Show Championships, which annually see around 20 participants. At the World Championships in 1997, they finished second with their show Palladio.

In addition to dancing and doing their own choreography, members of the troupe also make their own costumes.

"As amateurs, we are not earning a living by dancing," says Smolák. "Dance is our hobby. And today, it's 'in' to dance."

The In the Whirl of Dance dance show starts at 15:00 on December 1 at Veľká sála Istropolisu (Big Hall of Istropolis), Trnavské mýto. Tickets cost Sk99 and can be purchased in advance at Istropolis, Mon-Sun 14:30-20:45. For more information call 02/5022-8241 or visit www.tkspektrum.sk

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