Mensen > Choreographers > Jiří Kylián
Jiří Kylián (Czechoslovakia, 1947) 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 when he received a scholarship for the Royal Ballet School in London in 1967. After this, he left for the Stuttgart Ballet led by John Cranko. There Kylián made his debut as a choreographer with Paradox for the Noverre Gesellschaft. After having made three ballets for NDT (Viewers, Stoolgame and La Cathédrale Engloutie), he became the company’s artistic director, together with Hans Knill, in 1975. During the 1978 Charleston Festival in the United States Kylián put NDT on the international map with Sinfonietta (Leoš Janácek). That same year he and Carel Birnie founded NDT2, which was – and is – meant to give young dancers the opportunity to develop their skills and talents. In 1991 he initiated NDT3, the company that created opportunities for ‘older’ dancers. With the advent of NDT3, NDT stood out as the first company worldwide that showed the three dimensions of a dancer´s life, which was unique in the world of dance. After an extraordinary record of service Kylián handed over the artistic leadership in 1999, but remained associated to the dance company as house choreographer. Kyliáns works are being performed by companies and schools all over the world. Besides NDT, Kylián has also made works for the Stuttgart Ballet, the Paris Opéra, the Munich Bayrisches Staatsballett, Swedish television and the Tokyo Ballet. He has worked with many creative personalities of international stature: composers Arne Nordheim (Ariadne, 1997), Toru Takemitsu (Dream Time, 1983) and Tomoko Mukaiyama (Tar and Feathers, 2006) and designers Walter Nobbe (Sinfonietta, 1978), Bill Katz (Symphony of Psalms, 1978), John Macfarlane (Forgotten Land, 1980), Michael Simon (Stepping Stones, 1998), Atsushi Kitagawara (One of a Kind, 1998), Susumu Shingu (Toss of a Dice, 2005) and Yoshiki Hishinuma (Zugvögel, 2009). In the summer of 2006, together with director Boris Paval Conen, he made a film entitled CAR-MEN. It was choreographed ‘on location’ in the open brown coal mines of the Czech Republic. On 12 February 2008 Last Touch First premiered in the Korzo theatre in The Hague. This was a co-production of the Holland Dance Festival, NDT and the Steps Festival in Switzerland, and was realised in collaboration with Michael Schumacher, Sabine Kupferberg and other former dancers of NDT. On 3 May 2009 Kylián created the full evening’s production Zugvögel on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Bayerisches Staatsballett in Munich. Participants in this production were Yoshiki Hishinuma (costumes), Michael Simon (light), Dirk Haubrich (music), Boris Paval Conen (film) and Han Otten (film music).