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Falling Angels. Jiří Kylián 2004


Falling Angels rehearsal. Dancers: Luisa María Arias, Tamako Akiyama and Ana María López
  • Choreography: Jirí Kylián
  • Music: Steve Reich Drumming / part I
  • Light Design: Joop Caboort
  • Costumes: Joke Visser
  • Staging: Roslyn Andersson
  • World premiere by Nederlands Dans Theater at the AT&T Danstheater of The Hague, November 23rd, 1989. Premiered by Compañía Nacional de Danza at Teatro Real de Madrid, May 25th, 2004.

For Jiří Kylián, the fascinating aspect of Reich's composition lies in its rhythmical structure - especially in the stylistic device called phasing. It creates a floating underground where the choreography is free to develop independently. Whereas Kylián customarily considers music as the primary source for his choreographies - meaning that he sets his work to an (existing) musical structure - with Drumming he felt challenged to give unabridged priority to the dance. The result became an exciting and head-on flight of eight female dancers. Falling Angels, “a piece about our profession” as the choreographer likes to comment on it.

Album CND Flickr Falling Angels. Jirí Kylián



Portrait Jirí KyliánJirí Kylián was born in Prague in 1947. At the age of nine, he began to study dance at the School of the National Ballet. At fifteen he was accepted at the Prague Conservatory where he was trained by - amongst others - Zora Semberova. With a grant from the British Council, in 1967 he went to the Royal Ballet School in London, where he came in contact with the most recent developments of contemporary choreography. In 1968 John Cranko engaged him for the Stuttgart Ballet. His first piece, Paradox, was choreographed for the Noverre Societ. In 1973, following an invitation by the Nederlands Dans Theater, he created his first work, Viewers, for this company to which he returned frequently from then on, and as a result, was appointed Co-artistic Director and Choreographer of the Company in 1975. Since then, Kylián has created more than fifty ballets for the Netherlands Dans Theater, many of them danced by companies all over the world.

Forgotten Land. Jirí Kylián 1993


Escena de Forgotten Land
  • Choreography: Jirí Kylián
  • Music: Benjamin Britten (Sinfonía de Réquiem, opus 20)
  • Decor and Costumes: John Macfarlane Light desing: Joop Caboort
  • Staging: Roslyn Anderson
  • World premiere by the Stuttgart Ballet on 12th april, 1981. Premiered by Compañía Nacional de Danza at Teatro Madrid, on 22nd april 1993.

Kylián, in comparison to Britten, sees Simfonia da Requiem as a work of more personal character than a political one, for it is always people who determine the political scene. It is always people and nature who turn the wheel of evolution a little further. East Anglia, a coastline of England slowly submerging under the sea, is the birthplace of Benjamin Britten. The image of land taken over by the sea - together with a painting by Eduard Munch - became the primary inspiration for the choreography of Forgotten Land: land, the basis and centre of the human existence, is in itself always subject to eternal metamorphosis and mutation, land, from ancient times bearing the imprints of generations, lands within the memories of human beings, that had to be forgotten because of political struggle, lands destroyed by nature or human negligence, wishful lands which have only emerged in our dreams, lands of promise and illusion.

No More Play. Jirí Kylián 1988


Dance Picture. No More Play
  • Choreography: Jirí Kylián
  • Music: Anton Webern (Fünf Sätze für Streichquartett opus 5, 1909)
  • Sets and Costumes: Jirí Kylián
  • Light Design: Joop Caboort
  • Setting: Roslyn Anderson
  • World premiered by Nederlands Dans Theater at Lucent Dans Theater, Den Haag, November 24th 1988. Premiered by Compañía Nacional de Danza at Teatro de la Zarzuela, Madrid, October 3rd, 2002.

The basic idea of this choreography is inspired by a small sculpture by Alberto, a simple slightly deformed board-game with little craters and ditches and two pieces of wood resembling human figures. One might feel as if one had been invited to a game, the rules of which are being kept secret or have never been determined. But as you begin to play this mysterious game, you start to learn its laws – only sometimes too late.

Anton Webern’s music has a fascinating feeling of essentiality and inevitability, its sound and structure create captivating transparency and dynamic tension. These qualities assembled by Webern’s uncompromising genius become a source of energy which has direct influence on anything that might be simultaneously happening on stage. The seriousness of much of which we set out to undertake, often results in no more than a grotesque grimace, but it should be accepted as such, and becomes a valid part of our being. So this choreographic play of structure bodies, mind, sound and light in time and space is merely a metaphor of a game with extremely severe rules, which someone once wrote in a long forgotten language.

Return to the Strange Land. Jirí Kylián 1975


 Return to the Strange Land. Contemporary Dance Partners
  • Choreography: Jirí Kylián
  • Music: Leos Janácek (Sonata 1st October 1905, Overgrown Path, In the Mist)
  • Costumes: Jirí Kylián
  • Light Design: Joop Caboort
  • Restaging: Arlette van Boven y Jim Vincent
  • World premiered by the Stuttgart Ballet at the Württembergisch Staatstheater, Stuttgart, May 17, 1975. Premiered by Compañía Nacional de Danza at the Albéniz Theater, Madrid, April 5, 1991.

On the sudden death of the choreographer and director John Cranko, in the summer of 1973, the former director of the Stuttgart Ballet asked me to create a ballet in his memory. I made a pas de trois on the music of Leos Janàcek, namely the last part of his sonata for piano October the 1st, 1905. In 1975, I used this as the final piece of Return to the Strange Land. The title is a contradiction. How can you return to a land where you have never been before? This ballet is about death and reincarnation: desappearance, reappearance, death and rebirth were its main sources of inspiration. Although the physical existence endes, the particles reappear in a different shape. These particles "know" the "unknown land" . They are part of you until they return to the strange land. This is one of my first works. The role of classical elements and patterns is more pronounced than in my later works. A highly important starting point was the emotion existing inside the body. Dresses are reduced to a minimum. This ballet is made upof a pas de trois. They imply slow reincarnation processes. At the end , the sensation is created that something abstract has taken life from inside the bodies. The return, full of yearning for the past, takes us to an apparently well-known place, to an unknown presence. Can it be the premonition of death?. For a long time I had felt the urge to do something with Janácek's piano music. It seemed to me that this assignment was the ideal opportunity. As a rule, I work the other way round. Normally, the idea springs forth from the music. The ballet starts with the first part of the sonata for piano October the 1st, 1905 . This is followed by the mazurka from Overgrown Path and the first part of In the Mist, to end with the last part of the piano sonata. His music is at all times rooted in people and their emotions, which explains its close resemblance to popular songs.

Jirí Kylián

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