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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

Petite Mort. Jirí Kylián 1991


Petit More. Contemporary Dance Partners
  • Choreography: Jirí Kylián
  • Music: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Piano Concerto in A Major -KV 488-, Adagio, Piano Concerto in C Major -KV 467-, Andante)
  • Costumes: Joke Visser
  • Settings and Light Design: Joop Caboort
  • Staging: Roslyn Anderson
  • World premiere by Nederlands Dans Theater at Salzburg Festival, 23rd August, 1991. Premiered by Compañía Nacional de Danza at Palacio de Festivales de Cantabria, Santander, 16th November 1995.

The prestigious Czech choreographer Jirí Kylián relies again on the Spanish groupto perform one of his most impressive choreographies. This is the work Petite Mort that was staged for the first time by the Nederlands Dans Theater in 1991. Jirí Kylián created this ballet especially for the Salzburg Festival in commemoration of the second centenary of Mozart´s death. For this work he chose the slow tempos of two of Mozart´s most beautiful and popular piano concertos. "This deliberate choice should not be seen as a provocation or thoughtlessness, but as my personal way to acknowledge the fact that I am living and working in a world where nothing is sacred, and where brutality and arbitrariness are commonplaces. This work should convey the idea of two ancient torsos, their heads and limbs cut off - evidence of a deliberate mutilation - however unable to destroy their beauty, thus reflecting the spiritual power of their creator".

The choreography presents six men, six women and six foils. The foils play the role of dancing partners and sometimes seem to be more rebellious and obstinate than a partner of flesh and blood. They visualize a simbolism which is more real than a line of argument. Agression, sexuality, energy, silence, foolishness and vulnerability - all those elements play a significant role. Petite Mort, which literally means small death, is also a euphemism for orgasm in languages such as French and Arabic. 

Wing of Wax. Jirí Kylián 1997


Wing of Wax. Stage with a tree
  • Choreography: Jirí Kylián.
  • Music: Heinrich von Biber (Mystery Sonatas -Passacaglia for solo violin- (1676); John Cage Meditation Music – Prelude for Meditation for prepared piano- (1946/48) (Edition Peters, London); Philip Glass, String Quartet no 5 -Movement III- (1991), Johann Sebastian Bach, Variatio no. 25, Adagio, in g-minor, (arranged for string trio by Dimitri Sitkovetsky) from Goldberg Variationen, BWV 988 (1742).
  • Costumes, Joke Visser.
  • Sets and Light design: Michael Simon
  • Light Technical Adaptation: Kees Tjebbes. Staging, Roslyn Anderson
  • World premiere by Nederlands Dans Theater at Lucent Danstheater, Den Haag, January 23th 1997. Premiered by Compañía Nacional de Danza at Teatro Calderón, Valladolid, May 17th 2007.

Wings of Wax by opens with a fascinating dramatic image: a bare tree, hanging crown downwards with its roots in the air above the stage. Around it a low -slung spotlight traces a huge circle. The dancers, in tight dark costumes, emerge out of the black background, only to be absorbed back into it again. Jirí Kylián has succeeded in creating a work of great beauty and expressiveness. He shows he can do magic with movements. Never predictable, never forced, his movements are nevertheless so complicated that the eye can hardly follow all that is happening.

Stepping Stones. Jirí Kylián 1991

  • Stepping Stones. Dancers: Patrick de Bana and África Guzmán
  • Choreography: Jirí Kylián 
  • Music: Cage/Webern 
  • Costumes: Joke Visser 
  • Stage and Light Design: Michael Simon
  • World premiered by the Stuttgart Ballet in Stuttgart on the 23rd November, 1991. Premiered by Compañía Nacional de Danza at the Teatro de la Zarzuela, Madrid on the 8th December, 1993.

Stepping Stones refers to Kylián's experiences with the Aborigines. He considers this work to be a choreographic study, based on the respect for the passing on of cultural traditions from father to son and as a homage to the past. In the twenty years that Jirí Kylián's work has been performed in The Netherlands, he has shown a command of a wide range of styles. An important source of inspiration was his experience in Arnhemland on the North coast of Australia, where in 1980 he attended a two week Aboriginal dance festival. He was astounded by the enormous freedom of movement of the indigeous population and the importance the community attached to dance. His experience was crystallised in Nomads (1981) and Stamping Ground (1983). The impact of this encounter can still be seen in Kylián's work today. Stepping Stones is an enigmatic piece which at the same time possesses enormous lucidity, as a critic of the Stuttgarter Zeitung wrote after the premiere, adding wistfully: "If only such masterly, contemporary choreographers were billed more often".

Stamping Ground. Jirí Kylián 1983


Stamping Ground. Dancer: Nacho Duato
  • Choreography: Jirí Kylián
  • Music: Carlos Chávez (Tocata para Instrumentos de Percusión)
  • Set Decoration: Jirí Kylián
  • Costumes: Heidi de Raad
  • Light Design: Joop Caboort
  • Staging: Roslyn Anderson
  • Premiered by Nederlands Dans Theater at the Circustheater, Scheveningen, February 17, 1983. Premiered by Compañía Nacional de Danza at Teatro Lírico Nacional La Zarzuela, Madrid, December 23, 1991.

The Australian Aboriginals are the only remaining people of a stone age culture left undisturbed by the accident of geography for some 50.000 years. The first intrusion upon them began little more than two hundred years ago. And even since then geography has helped to preserve much of their way of life, because their vast continent offered an almost limitless retreat. So, for the anthropologist they hold a key to our distant past. And for the dancer too, because their understanding of the infinitely wide world in which they lived was always most potently expressed in dance of unique significance.

That dance, which is at the centre of their life, and in which every gradation of movement had a descriptive and intended meaning, is now in decline. But it may still be glimpsed in the reserved areas of the country where trival life continues. Kylián says he has always had "a particular admiration for aboriginal dance, because of its beauty, reality, expressiveness and importance in life and society". And in 1980, he was invited to a gathering called by the tribes in the remaining tribal lands of Northern Australia, the purpose of which was to record whatever has remained of it before it will be lost in the inevitable social changes of the twenty-first century. This work is one of the consequences of that visit and of his opportunity to study the extraordinary techniques of aboriginal dance. Kylián makes no attempt here to reproduce the rites of this dance.

This indeed would not be tolerated because the dance itself is regarded as a personal possession of the dancer, which, if used by another, would be both theft and sacrilege. Instead, he has attempted to devise a new vocabulary of his own in parallel with their concepts. Stamping Ground was developed in close collaboration with each individual dancer, making use of their specific personalities and their instincts in relation to time, space and to each other. "The dancers", Kylián says, "should discover and materialize with a touch of self-mockery, the animal within themselves."


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  • Texts: CND