Jiří Kylián

It could be an interesting exercise to trace and to document all the sleepless nights and hours, that we creators, performers, assistants and all involved, have to endure in the course of making a new product, or a so called Work of Art. These hours and nights will probably be countless.

  • World premiere: Nederlands Dans Theater II at Lucent Danstheater, The Hague (The Netherlands), November 11th 2004
  • Premiere by Compañía Nacional de Danza: at Teatro de la Zarzuela, Madrid (Spain), June 16th 2012

“IImagine that we all assign someone to accompany us at any time while we are creating; someone who will precisely measure the time in which we are awake or asleep. Probably this exercise would not be very revealing or practical, as I can imagine that it must be very difficult to determine to which degree human beings are conscious or in subconsciousness, awake or asleep, or to which degree they are aware of their activities, or how accountable they are for their actions.

Sleepless is a work for the young dancers of NDT II and creating this work was equally challenging and rewarding (for them as well as for myself). Basically it comes down to the simple fact, that teaching and learning are just the two sides of the same coin. The dialogue between generations is always fascinating; it brings a certain feeling of maturity to the young ones and a feeling of rejuvenation to the older ones.

The Work of Lucio Fontana, the Argentinean artist, had an indirect influence on my creation of Sleepless. The incisions he inflicted on his paintings have created a new dimension in the two-dimensional world of painting. His action of cutting through the canvas, thus declaring that the canvas is not necessarily the only thing to behold, but that there might be something more important lying behind or beyond it, was a revelation and an achievement which left a deep incision in my own mind.

Dance is an art form that totally relies on our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual awareness. It is totally dependent of the three dimensions which are available to us (until now) and which determine the entire space in which we move, live and exist. Lucio Fontana took a knife, with which he destroyed the monochrome surface of his paintings.

But his killing gave his paintings a new life. He gave the two dimensionality of painting a third dimension. He opened the secret door to the Unknown. But this was just the beginning. We will look for other Dimensions, physical, emotional, philosophical or spiritual, as long as we possess the energy to do so.”
-Jiří Kylián


  • Choreography:
    Jiří Kylián
  • Music:
    Dirk Haubrich. Based on Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Adagio and Rondo in C minor KV. 617
  • Set Design:
    Jiří Kylián
  • Costume Design:
    Joke Visser
  • Lighting Design:
    Kees Tjebbes
  • Assistant to the choreographer:
    Gerald Tibbs, Iván Pérez and Nina Botkay
  • Length:
    25 minutes
  • Premiere cast CND:
    Agnés López, Inês Pereira, Kayoko Everhart, Joaquín Crespo, Francesco Vecchione, Javier Monzón