Zuzana Kozánková

Zuna Vesan Kozánková (née Bacová, 1973, Žilina) graduated from Eva Jaczová’s Dance Conservatory and the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava where she majored in pedagogy of modern dance. She completed several internships in Europe and Asia. Besides dance schools, she also attended the Shiatsu KI School and studied acupuncture at Guang Ming Beijing University in Prague. In 1995, she studied in France at the choreography centres Diverrés/Montet in Rénnes, Claude Brumachon in Nantes, and CNDC – the National Centre for Contemporary Dance in Angers. In 1997 and 1998, she studied in Vienna, Austria, as part of the European danceWEB scholarship programme for contemporary dance, where she did internships with eminent international pedagogues and choreographers, such as Frey Faust (USA), Hope Martin (USA), José Navas (Canada), Andrew de L. Harwood (Canada), David Zambrano (USA), Mia Lawrence (USA), Alarmél Valli (India), Mamadou M’Baye (Senegal), among others. During an artistic residency at the Dance Centre, School of Performing Arts in Bangkok, Thailand in 2000, Kozánková studied the techniques of aikido, yoga, and classical Thai dance. At the Manor House in Mojmírovce, she extended her education by studying lighting design as part of a programme organized by the Association of Contemporary Dance and the Dutch Moving Academie for Performing Arts (MAPA).

While a student at the Dance Conservatory, she initiated close collaboration with Zuzana Ďuricová Hájková. After graduation, the collaboration continued in Hájková’s Contemporary Dance Group and later also in the State Opera in Banská Bystrica, where she worked not only as a dancer, but also as a dance pedagogue and assistant choreographer. In 1996, she and Milan Kozánek established the Artyci Dance Company.

In addition to the choreographic work for Artyci, as well as other ensembles, Kozánková has been a sought-after pedagogue and lecturer of dance and its alternative forms. She has taught in Bratislava, Banská Bystrica, Prague, Salzburg, Vienna, Leeds, Freiburg, Wroclaw, Poznan, Bangkok, Beijing, and Hong-Kong. During the thirty years of her pedagogical activities, Kozánková has developed a unique system of working with the human body based on a thorough understanding of human anatomy and the energy flows in the body. The system is supplemented by contemporary dancing techniques, body awareness and contact improvisation. In her creative and pedagogical work, she interconnects practical dance knowledge with the universal principles of Taoism – this is possible thanks to her having studied Chinese medicine and qigong. As a result, she has developed a methodical system aimed at improving movement intelligence. As a pedagogue, Kozánková has worked at the SEAD school in Salzburg, Austria, the Northern School of Contemporary Dance in Leeds, UK, and the Bewegungs-art school in Freiburg, Germany. She and her husband Milan Kozánek founded the Pangea Meetingpoint centre in the Orlice Mountains in the Czech Republic. Kozánková has also worked as a pedagogue for the summer dance workshops Dance in the Mountains which has been taking place every year since 2000. Dance in the Mountains has started the tradition of training dancers and gradually become a preferred international summer dance school. During the more than twenty years of the school’s existence, over 500 participants have attended its workshops, including dancers from Slovakia and the Czech Republic, students from nearly all European countries, as well as Israel, India, Japan, USA, Canada, and China. 

Kozánková has led two long-term research projects – Medicine in Dance and Dancing Qigong. They are both focused on interconnecting Taoist philosophy and Chinese medicine with the life of artists, particularly as regards their health and the development of the performative aspect of their presentation. Dancing Qigong aims to aid in improving dancing techniques, facilitating a better interpretational experience for performers, while strengthening the knowledge about healthy use of the body, thus ensuring a longer artistic career.

Zuna Vesan Kozánková has extended her activities also to writing about dance art. She has published reviews of dance performances, articles and essays about dance, interviews with eminent dance personalities, and contributions about health and qigong – in Slovak and international dance and theatre journals, on professional dance websites, as well as magazines on alternative medicine.

In 2018, she published her first book entitled Tao – the Path to Health, which was later published in three further editions. In 2020, her second book came out under the title Meridians – the Lines of Life, and in 2021 her third book Exercise as a Medicine.