Ladislav Polák


From the first time I photographed dance, I have been passionate about capturing its elegance, energy and mystery.

When I photograph dance, I listen to the music, I watch the choreography and again and again I feel connected with the dancers in such a way that my heart speeds up, my breathing deepens, I move and rebalance myself often, my muscles relax and contract and yet again I can anticipate, I somehow know, what the next move will be, even though I have never seen the choreography before.

At such moments my surroundings cease to exist and taking photographs becomes a floating experience, a twirling and ecstatic dancing in another dimension.

I have been taking pictures since childhood, but I chanced upon dance photography much later and soon became hooked. The very first bait I took and that lured me in the direction of dance-photography was a strong positive feedback and enthusiasm from a Swedish folk-dance group Stora Tuna  folkdansgille.

Majorettes then literally crossed my path on my way to a restaurant. There was an older policeman who made me stop my car to allow them to pass. So I watched them long enough to become interested. Fate is sometimes quite determined, isn’t it?

Their rehearsals have proved to be a good training ground for me in rhythmics and dance-photo basics thanks to the years I have regularly attended them.  I have shot officially at many Czech national and even two European championships which widened the circle of my fans and friends and broadened my experience.

That about sums up my photographic roots.

In terms of photographic training, aside from several short courses and workshops (a photographic workshop at ProART Festival being one of them) I have no formal qualifications but it would be arrogant of me to state that I was self-thought. This would be dismissive to all the authors of books I read and all the courses I attended and watched on Internet.

My greatest muse is the art of dance and I admire and respect those who use dance as their language.

I am always captivated by the way Daria Klimentova or Christopher Hampson dance or work with dancers, I am always astonished to see artists such as Nadja Saidakova, Anna Osadcenko, Michael Braun or Vadim Muntagirov dancing in class or at rehearsals. It is uplifting, immersive and inspiring.

I see the same zeal, professionalism and glow in Irene Bauer, Martin Dvorak and others at ProART Festival. Last year I came to Valtice just to be briefly part of the synergic atmosphere created by all the pleasant and interesting people in the historical venue.

Book a course and try it yourself!

Whether you are interested in dance-photography, dance itself, singing, acting or any other art included in the festival workshops, it is well worth the experience.

I don’t write all the positive things here because I will tutor at this year´s festival, I’ll be there this year because ProART  Festival is just as I described.


You can find my web site here:

I value the experience and results from the recent photo-shoots listed below:

  • International Ballet Masterclasses, Praha, Czech R., (2014, 2015, 2016)
  • , 33. a 35. annual performance of Radost-Impuls, Bohumín, Czech R.
  • Podhostýnský pohár, Bystřice p. Hostýnem, Czech R. (every year since 2011)
  • An aquatic ballet, Synchro SKUP, Olomouc, Czech R.
  • Under surface, Bára Nekudová, Brno, Czech R.
  • Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet, DJKT Plzeň, Křižíkova fontána, Praha, Czech R.
  • Prostějovská zlatá jehla (fashion show), Prostejov, Czech R. (every year since  2010)
  • Victorian State Ballet, Melbourne, Australia
  • Narodil se Bruntál, Malá mořská víla, Alenka v říši divů, Broučci, Továrna na čokoládu – Taneční škola Stonožka, Bruntál, Czech R.
  • Kristina Kodedova, Gaetan Pires, Praha, Czech R.
  • ProART Festival, Valtice, Czech R. (2016)
  • Trojhalí, TK Akcent, Ostrava, Czech R.
  • By the lake, Michaela Rajnošková, Antošovice, Czech R.
  • 30th anniversary of TS Rytmus, Olomouc, Czech R.
  • Kordovánky, Kunerad, Slovakia
  • Czech nationals in Art dance, Czech Dance Organization, Bohumín, Czech R. (2015)
  • Czech nationals in synchronized swimming, Olomouc, Czech R. (every year since 2015)
  • 50th anniversary of synchronized swimming in Olomouc, Olomouc, Czech R.
  • Taneční studio Impuls, Praha, Czech R.
  • Anna Novotná, Gaetan Pires, Praha, Czech R.
  • Twirling masterclass, Brodek u Přerova, Czech R.
  • Natalia Maria Cimpeanu, Praha, Czech R.
  • Summer Cup (synchro), Olomouc, Czech R. (2015)
  • EUROVISION Young Dancers, Plzeň, Czech R.(2015)
  • Tanec Tanec, Přehlídka scénického tance, Prostějov, Czech R.
  • Angel_s, tanečnice ENBS, London, United Kingdom
  • Danceversity, London, United Kingdom
  • Studio 68, London, United Kingdom
  • Summer dance school, Rýmařov, Czech R.
  • ProART Festival, Praha, Czech R. (2014)
  • Miraz, Wodzisław Śląski, Poland
  • Akcent in their cinema, principal dancers of TK Akcent, Ostrava, Czech R.
  • Gala, TK Akcent, Ostrava, Czech R.
  • Kreutzer Sonáta, String Quartets, ProART, Brno, Czech R.
  • Taneční revue, Moravské Divadlo, Olomouc, Czech R.
  • Promo pro MČR soutěží IMA, TS Prezioso, Blatná, Czech R.
  • Hvězdy tančí, Moravské Divadlo, Olomouc, Czech R.
  • Prešporský pohár, Bratislava, Slovakia
  • European Championship IMA, Porec, Croatia

Photoworkshop at ProART Festival, Valtice 2017

You will see how it feels to be a dance-photographer at ProART Festival in a UNESCO World Heritage listed complex.

I will be your guide to dance photography during the first day. I’ll share with you my knowledge and experience and I’ll open the door for you to the exciting and fascinating world of dance photography.

Different photographic situations require different approaches and completely different preparation. We will touch on basic photographic principles, the difference between organized and journalistic approaches and I’ll show you different photographic styles.

We will immerse ourselves in shooting on different locations during which you will have the opportunity to try these different styles and approaches.

You will work more independently (with my help of course) during most of the second day. You will be free to further explore and pursue some of the photographic styles or approaches you find interesting.

It won’t be about repeating proven recipes, but about your view and creativity. You will be building on general photographic basics which (as with normal building) may not be recognisable at first sight in the result.


The most important requirement is an interest in taking pictures of people, theatre and above all dance, as well as an open mind and the will to try something new.

You will also need some kind of apparatus capable of taking pictures (a camera).

I have one practical request. It will be good and most advisable if you are able to operate your camera. There are many different cameras and it would take time to read through the manuals at the workshop.

I use a DSLR camera designed to shoot sports, but even a mobile phone camera capable of some advanced settings which you can operate without hesitation could be a more effective and better device than a complicated camera which you cannot operate with similar ease or which you don’t take with you so often.

There are no specific prerequisites regarding knowledge, experience or capabilities of your camera so don’t feel limited by any of these aspects. The only limit is the number of participants, so that the workshop retains the close attention of a small group experience.

So I advise, if you are interested, don’t hesitate for too long.

I’m looking forward to meeting you in Valtice.

Workshop schedules (click on):