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Jiří Kylián


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Nationality: Czech

The world-renowned choreographer Jiří Kylián (Czechoslovakia, 1947) has been artistic director and house choreographer for of Nederlands Dans Theater for more than thirty years. Throughout his career Kylián created 75 choreographies for NDT. The piece  Mémoires d’Oubliettes marked the end of his work for NDT in 2009. Since then his creative focus has shifted to more small scale projects. Kylián created various other pieces for companies worldwide such as the Stuttgart Ballet, the Paris Opéra, the Munich Bayerisches Staatsballett and the Tokyo Ballet. Kylián received many prestigious, international awards and honours, such as Officer of the Royal Dutch Order of Orange-Nassau, honorary doctorate of the Juilliard School in New York and the Honorary Medal from the President of the Czech Republic. Nowadays, Kylián’s masterpieces are being performed by numerous companies and schools worldwide.

Jiří Kylián started his dance career at the age of nine, at the School of the National Ballet in Prague. In 1962 he was accepted as a student at the Prague Conservatory. He left Prague in 1967 when he received a scholarship for the Royal Ballet School in London.  Then he left for the Stuttgart Ballet led by John Cranko, where he made his debut as a choreographer with Paradox for the Noverre Gesellschaft. After having created three ballets for NDT (Viewers, Stoolgame and La Cathédrale Engloutie), he became the company’s artistic director in 1975 together with Hans Knill. During the 1978 Charleston Festival in the United States  Kylián put NDT on the international map with Sinfonietta (Leoš Janácek). That year he and Carel Birnie founded NDT 2, which was – and is – meant to offer young dancers the opportunity to develop their skills and talents. In 1991 he initiated NDT 3; a company that created opportunities for ‘older’ dancers. NDT stood out as the first company worldwide that showed the three dimensions of a dancer´s life. After an extraordinary record of service Kylián handed over the artistic leadership in 1999, but remained associated to the dance company as house choreographer until 2009.

Awards and honours
Officer of the Royal Dutch Order of Orange-Nassau (1995)
Honorary doctorate of the Juilliard School (New York)
Arch-Angel Award (Edinburgh International Festival, 2000)
Sir Laurence Olivier Award for Psalmensymfonie (London, 2000)
Nijinsky Awards for best choreographer, company and work (Monte Carlo, 2000)
Benois de la Danse in Moscow and Berlin
Honorary Medal from the President of the Czech Republic
Chevalier du Légion d’Honneur (Paris, 2004)
Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement’ (Venice Biennale , 2008)
Medal of the Order of the House of Orange for Arts and Science (The Hague, 2008)
VSCD dance award Zwaan 2008 for Gods and Dogs (NDT 2) for best production and dance achievement
Prix Italia 2009 (together with the NPS broadcasting company) for Wings of Wax
Lifetime Achievement Award for dance and theatre (Czech, 2011)

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