For requests and bookings please contact Connextion Agency, Konrad-Adenauer-Ring 10, 41747 Viersen, Tel. +49 (0) 2162 - 18408, Fax + 49 (0)2162 - 15373.

Pantomime & Jazz:

Milan Sladek , Pantomime (Bratislava)
Jiri Stivin, fl, as, cl, bcl, ts, bs (Prague)
Ali Haurand, b (Viersen)

Anyone who in 1999 saw the world-famous mime Milan Sladek perform in the synagogue Prague, is unlikely ever to forget his impressive live act, an extraordinary event presented by a world-class artist. Standing ovations accompanied Milan Sladek's, Ali Haurand's and Jiri Stivin's exit from the stage on that occasion. Now in 2006 the Slovak director, mime, author, teacher, theatre director, creator of masks and painter Milan Sladek presents his new project: Comic reflections on the Prince of Pop Art - another close encounter of the mute kind with both jazz and painting. Andy Warhol is not only an artist but also as symbol stands for the artistic idea of "The Return to the Object“ commonly associated with the Pop Art of the United States: Silk-screen printed images of Marilyn Monroe, tins of Campbell's soup and arrays of Coca-Cola bottles. Through his art works Andy Warhol has become one of the world's most widely recognized artists. At the same time, however, Andy Warhol is also that Andrew Warhola whose parents emigrated from eastern Slovakia to the United States. Born in Pittsburgh he continued to live there after the death of his father. A visit to the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh provided the inspiration for Milan Sladek to attempt an interpretation through the medium of mime of his famous countryman's attitudes and art. In it the spectators get to see a man of many layers, a pop artist enveloped by a world at times loudly hysterical who in the manner of a comedian reflects on life in general and his life and roots in particular.
Milan Sladek left Czechoslovakia in 1968, deeply disappointed by the violent suppression of the democratic movement known as the Prague Spring. In 1970 he travelled via Bulgaria and Sweden to Cologne, where his theatre "Kefka" became a magnet for mime artists from around the world. It was the only mime art venture in Western Europe with a fixed address. Milan Sladek thereby made Cologne a Mecca for this form of art. Meanwhile, however, he has returned to the Slovak Republic where he has set up a new mime theatre called "The Arena" in Bratislava. With its openness for theatrical possibilities, for figures of various kinds, for masks, dancing, painting, clowning sketches and music, his type of mime art has scaled untold heights of expression.
In more than 40 countries the world over he has been a major influence on the development of modern mime art. He has convincingly shown that the body thinks, feels, talks and is able to express itself; that it has something to say that is beyond words.
Milan Sladek, the internationally renowned mime, has devoted himself to a modern form of physical theatre. By forcing it to engage with a host of other forms of artistic expression he has expanded the classic form of mime and given it a new dimension. In teaming up with Ali Haurand and Jiri Stivin Milan Sladek is now looking forward to carrying this project of the merging of multiple forms of art to yet another level by having the physical form of playing that is mine meet and engage with the art of jazz. Ever since the dawn of human history have music and movement been joined at the hip and heart like Siamese twins and it is the skill of handling their requisite tools, honed to perfection yet prepared to engage in improvisation at a moment's notice, that bring these two forms of art even closer together.
As broad as the range of instruments he plays is Jiri Stivin's range of musical interests. A celebrated star in his home country, the Czech Republic, Jiri Stivin as flautist with the Prague Symphony Orchestra and recognized and highly esteemed interpreter of Renaissance and Baroque music operates with equal stylistic ease in the realms of both jazz and classical music. He is universally accounted one of the world's foremost jazz flautists.
A virtuoso with vim and verve he is able to extract as if by magic the most astonishing sounds from the most unlikely objects. A virtually limitless fount of improvisational ideas Jiri Stivin knows how to thrill and enthralled his audience at every turn.
Besides being head and founder of the European Jazz Ensemble, the bass player Ali Haurand is a tireless inspirer of others and initiator of projects.
Both musicians in a subtly sensitive manner lend musical colour to the action on stage. It is impressive the way they with their jazz improvisations reinforce what Milan Sladek mutely yet perspicuously conveys. Ali Haurand with his base and Jiri Stivin with his flute, his clarinet and his saxophones not only provide a musical background to the mimic performance, they also spur on, respond to and cue, as it were, Milan Sladek. Supported by these extraordinary musicians the great mime with his highly expressive dance is able to show to perfection the body's ability to playfully interpret colours and sounds.

Photos by Heinz-Friedrich Hoffmann