Jiří Kylián

Jiří Kylián

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Jiří Kylián is a Czech
Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is a landlocked country in Central Europe. The country is bordered by Poland to the northeast, Slovakia to the east, Austria to the south, and Germany to the west and northwest....

 dance choreographer.

Kylián studied in Prague
Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava river, the city is home to about 1.3 million people, while its metropolitan area is estimated to have a population of over 2.3 million...

 and, at the age of 20, won a scholarship
A scholarship is an award of financial aid for a student to further education. Scholarships are awarded on various criteria usually reflecting the values and purposes of the donor or founder of the award.-Types:...

 at the Royal Ballet School
Royal Ballet School
The Royal Ballet School is one of the most famous classical ballet schools in the world and is the associate school of the Royal Ballet, a leading international ballet company based at the Royal Opera House in London...

 in London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

. He joined the Stuttgart Ballet
Stuttgart Ballet
Stuttgart Ballet was the first major German ballet company. It rose to fame in the 1960s under Artistic Director John Cranko. The company, which is renowned for presentations of full-length narrative ballets including Romeo and Juliet, Eugene Onegin, The Taming of the Shrew, John Neumeier's Die...

 in 1968 and worked under John Cranko
John Cranko
John Cyril Cranko was a choreographer with the Sadler's Wells Ballet and the Stuttgart Ballet....

, where he began to choreograph. Kylián became Artistic Director of Nederlands Dans Theatre
Nederlands Dans Theatre
Nederlands Dans Theater is a Dutch contemporary dance company. NDT is headquartered at the Lucent Danstheater in The Hague...

 in 1976. His style is very energetic and contemporary and his best known works include Symphony of Psalms (1978). In 1992, he started his own chamber company for dancers over 40.


Kylián's works primarily explore the 'why' of the universal themes. One senses that he uses his work as playgrounds for human relationships and instincts. Works include
  • Nomaden
  • Black and White
  • Sinfonietta (1978)
  • Dream Dances
  • Silent Cries (1986)
  • Forgotten Land
  • Wings of wax
  • Stamping ground
    Stamping Ground
    Stamping Ground is a live album by Bill Bruford's Earthworks, released on EG Records in 1994.The Allmusic review by Bill Meredith awards this album with 4.5 stars and states: "Bruford's chordal patterns sound practically symphonic amid his epic starts and stops — further proof of the originality of...

  • Bella Figura
    Bella Figura
    Bella Figura is a one act ballet by Jiří Kylián. It has music by Pergolesi, Marcello, Vivaldi and Torelli....

  • One of a Kind
  • Symphony of Psalms (1978)
  • Petite Mort
  • Sleepless (2004)
  • Tar and Feathers (2005)
  • Vanishing Twin (2008)
  • Gods and Dogs (2008)
  • Last Touch First (2009)
  • Mémoires d'Oubliettes (2010)

Falling Angels

Falling Angels is a part of the Black and White ballets which were created in 1989 with 8 white female dancers dressed in black leotards. It was performed to drumming/percussion music based on ceremonial ritual music from Ghana (West Africa). Musical rhythms and patterns are used and mixed in a synthesizer to produce a layered effect in some sections. The result of this a more energetic, sometimes frenzied sound that the dancers match in a very physical dance.

Falling Angels depicts females and female dancers in their aim to achieve perfection but succumb in various stages to the human female psyche and female events such as ambition, seduction, pregnancy, birth, death, motherhood and self-awareness. It is basically about the things that pull and push a dancer from the 'purity' of dance and performance. Kylián was influenced by surrealism and minimalism during the creation of this work and the 'black and white ballets'. In this ballet we see the combination of classical lines and sharp percussive movements that give unpredictability to the piece as a whole.

Forgotten Land

Forgotten Land 1981 explores memories, events and people that over time are lost or forgotten and how people sometimes vainly try to recover them, or a sense of them in order to regain their former power and value. The work its self is inspired and based on a painting of women on a beach by the Norwegian Expressionist painter Edvard Munch
Edvard Munch
Edvard Munch was a Norwegian Symbolist painter, printmaker and an important forerunner of expressionist art. His best-known composition, The Scream, is part of a series The Frieze of Life, in which Munch explored the themes of love, fear, death, melancholia, and anxiety.- Childhood :Edvard Munch...

. The work mainly involves duets who move their arms in various stretched positions, as if they were reaching out for something. The dancers arch their backs and dance expressively, reflecting both the music and the haunting painting that influenced the work. Kylián makes a statement of lost homelands, lost lovers and lost times and there are also duets that reflect violent moods. These duets end up as a large esemble 'and then the women are left on the shore, stretching their arms again like bids that cannot fly.

Petite Mort (1991)

  • Choreography by Jiří Kylián
  • Staged by and Assistant Choreographers: Roslyn Anderson and Ken Ossola
  • Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart:
    • Piano Concerto in A Major - Adagio
      Piano Concerto No. 23 (Mozart)
      The Piano Concerto No. 23 in A major is a musical composition for piano and orchestra written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. It was finished, according to Mozart's own catalogue, on March 2, 1786, around the time of the premiere of his opera, The Marriage of Figaro...

    • Piano Concerto in C Major - Andante
      Piano Concerto No. 21 (Mozart)
      The Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major, K. 467, was completed on March 9, 1785 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, four weeks after the completion of the previous D minor concerto.- Structure :There are three movements....

  • Set Design by Jiří Kylián
  • Costumes by Joke Visser

Jiří Kylián composed this piece for the 1991 Salzburg Festival on the second centenary of Mozart's death. With six men, six women, and six foils, they symbolically exude energy, silence, and sexuality.

Choreography style and characteristics

  • Use of SHAPE - Kylián sees the dancer as an expression of art. He is always exploring shape in the human body and the meaning behind shape.
  • Use of SPACE - Kylián is always exploring the limitations and capabilities of the performance space physically, as well as exploring the use of space in his dance.
  • Use of ISOLATION - The ability to focus on body parts.
  • Use of ENTRANCES and EXITS - Kylián's choreography often focussed on how dancers entered and left a performance space. This is designed to create different impressions on the audience.
  • Use of CONTRAST - Kylián uses dynamics as a choreography device. Lyrical flowing movements passages are contasted with staccato-like sharp movements.
  • Use of HUMOUR - Kylián often uses humour in movement and gesture, as well as facial expression. His dance movements are often unpredictable due to this humour.

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