This autumn, the Czech National Ballet will present extraordinary dance events, celebrating Jiří Kylián’s mastery. On 13 November, the production Kylián – Bridges of Time will for the first time include the choreography Gods and Dogs, which will receive its Czech premiere. What is more, the first three November performances of Kylián – Bridges of Time will feature a very special guest, the Korean National Ballet, who will make their Prague debut.
Promising a truly extraordinary artistic experience, the unique evenings will take place at the National Theatre on 13, 14 and 15 November. In addition to Petite Mort and Sechs Tänze, both to W. A. Mozart’s music, the production Kylián – Bridges of Time will newly include Gods and Dogs. While the three choreographies will be performed by the Czech National Ballet, a precious guest, the Korean National Ballet will undertake Forgotten Land, an intimate, enthralling dance opus to Benjamin Britten’s music, created by Kylián in 1981 for the Stuttgarter Ballett.
Gods and Dogs was conceived in 2008 for the Nederlands Dans Theater. It has been written that Kylián intended it to be a study of the border between health and sickness, sanity and insanity, a deliberation of the norms defining the one or the other. Yet it is solely on the audience to judge for themselves. Kylián aims at the very centre of emotions, but he does not dictate, does not bind down. The very opposite is the case – he contemplates, and the spectator contemplates along with him.
In November, on the occasion of the Czech premiere of Gods and Dogs within the production Kylián – Bridges of Time, the Czech National Ballet will release the book Budižkněčemu, a Czech translation of Bon qu’à ça de, containing conversations between Jiří Kylián and Marie-Noël Rio, a French essayist and administrative director of the Opéra du Rhin in Strasbourg. The attractive book about creation, art, inspiration, love and more, translated by the playwright Michal Lázňovský, will be on sale at the National Theatre.
The original Kylián – Bridges of Time production premiered last year as part of the celebrations marking the centenary of the foundation of the Czechoslovak Republic. From 21 November, it will feature Bella Figura, Petite Mort, Sechs Tänze and Gods and Dogs. The next performances will be held on 22 November 2019, and 8 and 11 February 2020.
“I am delighted that Jiří Kylián has selected for Prague these choreographies in particular, as I consider them to be highly spiritual, They are indisputably true gems within his oeuvre,” says Filip Barankiewicz, the Artistic Director of the Czech National Ballet.
The National Theatre has promoted Kylián’s work, increasing its awareness and popularity among the Czech public. The Czech National Ballet has previously staged his choreographies Return to a Strange Land, Field Mass, The Child and Magic, Petite Mort and Last Touch.
Born in 1947 in Prague, Jiří Kylián is one of the most globally acclaimed and respected Czech artists. His work is extremely wide-ranging, revealing great creativity and unceasing seeking of new ways and manners of expression. Kylián’s extensive oeuvre, encompassing more than one hundred pieces, is extraordinary due to its being emotionally profound, harbouring inner agitation, being based on robust dramatic lines, as well as imbued with airiness and wit. The main subjects he has treated are love and death, and everything in between. Kylián’s career has been closely connected with the Nederlands Dans Theater. In 1975, he was appointed its artistic director, a post he held until 1999, while until 2009 he remained the company’s principal choreographer. When serving as artistic director, he introduced to European audiences a number of choreographers who would go on to become internationally renowned figures, such as Mats Ek and Ohad Naharin. The dancers Kylián motivated and inspired to pursue their own creative paths include Nacho Duato, Paul Lightfoot, Patrick Marin, Mario Radačovský and Johan Inger. His works have been staged all over the world. Last year, Kylián (only the third Czech ever) was named a foreign associate member of the Académie des beaux-arts, which is the greatest honour one can receive in the world of art. Besides choreography, Kylián has of late devoted to dance films and photography.
“Dance does not only reflect joy, sorrow or other emotions, it can also be a prayer, ritual, therapy or intellectual structure. It has an infinite number of abstract or realistic means of expression. And when it is done professionally, it is as though the dancer were saying: I am a work of art!” Jiří Kylián