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  • Jiří Kylián’s ‘Bella Figura’ (1995) Nederlands Dans Theater

    Posted on January 29, 2014 by in Artist Profile

    Last year Ros and I were blown away by a contemporary dance work we saw on a tv arts channel by Jiří Kylián. ‘Bella Figura’ (1995) Nederlands Dans Theater was a real treat and an eye-opener.  We particularly loved the ‘walking the dog’ sequence (12:38 mins) which we tried, only relatively successfully, to introduce to the yoga class student body.


    Jiří Kylián’s ‘Bella Figura’ (1995) Nederlands Dans Theater

    Music: Lukas Fosse, Lento from Salomon Rossi suite ’75, G B Pergolesi – Stabat Mater (opening), Lukas Fosse – Andante, Alessandro Marcello – Andagio from Hobo Concerto D Minor, Antonio Vivaldi – Andante from Concerto for two mandolins and strings, Guiseppe Torelli – Grave – Concertyo Grosso 8 no 6 1698, G B Pergolesi – Stabat Mater/ Quando Corpus.

    Dancers: Brigitte Martin, Stefan Zeromski, Philippa Buckingham, Joeri de Korte. Elke Schepers, Ken Ossola, Lorraine Blouin, Johan Inger, Megumi Nakamura.

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    Jiří KyliánNederlands Dans Theater

    “I am painfully aware of the fact, that whatever we do or make is doomed to disappearance, and that our ‘Planet Earth’ will be burnt to ashes and then frozen to death and finally it will become a totally insignificant dwarf within the universe.

    And if some beings from distant galaxies by chance stumble over it, they will find nothing – nothing at all – no trace of Mozart, Shakespeare, Leonardo or you . . . But maybe precisely because of this knowledge, I find it important to ‘live in the moment’ and to share my experiences with you.”

    (Jiří Kylián’s website)

    Jiří Kylián (born 21 March 1947), is a Czech contemporary dance choreographer.  He studied dance at ‘Prague National Theater‘s ballet school and later at the Prague Conservatory.  At the age of 20, he won a scholarship to London’s Royal Ballet School.  From there he was offered a contract to join John Cranko‘s ‘Stuttgart Ballet’, that enabled him to escape Prague after the 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia.  Then, having created two works for the Nederlands Dans Theater (NDT) he was named its Artistic Director in 1976.  The original 32-member corps founded in 1959 became NDT1; a 14-member group, NDT2, was created in 1979 for dancers between the ages of 17 and 22; and since 1989, NDT3 has enabled five ”seniors”, including his wife and muse Sabine Kupferberg, to keep dancing.  Kylián’s style includes: exploring the limitations and capabilities of space, body parts, entrances and exits, contrasts, and humour.

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    With a Celebration Of Dutch Freedom, He Frees Himself  (extract) by ALAN RIDING (New York Times 11.07.99)

    . . . His choreography has become more abstract and varied and, while his point of departure can still be a painting or a sculpture or some tiny autobiographical incident, more than ever his work is inspired by music. And, although trained as a classical dancer, he now feels less and less constrained by questions of technique.

    ”Our bodies have 275 hinges or joints, so the combination of what you can do with them is endless,”  Mr. Kylian explained. ”You just pick and choose from the possibilities you have. Michelangelo said: ‘It’s no big deal to make a sculpture because all the lines are within this block of marble. I just scratch away the unnecessary bits’. It’s like that with our bodies.” At the same time, he said, the bodies he works with — his dancers — are becoming more athletic and versatile, and this, too, has increased his creative freedom.

    ”When I was much younger, I knew every step when I walked into the studio,”  he said. ”But for years I haven’t worked like that. I very much like the dancers to participate in the creation. It not only enriches the vocabulary and the spiritual layers of the work, but it also gives the dancers more possibility to use their own creativity. And I do have some wonderfully creative dancers here.”

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    “Since everything we’re doing is absolutely pointless,
    it must be admirable.”

    (Jiří Kylián)

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    I’ve just come across this second piece – Enjoy.

    Ballet & dance Black & White Netherlands Dance Theatre Choreography Jiri Kylian, Music – Steve reich, directed Hans Hulscher Dance 6