Jiri Kylián


Entranced by the magic of the circus, the young Kylián began his studies as an acrobat. At the age of nine, he went to the ballet school of the Prague National Theatre. Six years later, he was accepted at the Prague Conservatory and received a scholarship to the Royal Ballet School in London from 1967 to 1968. There he met John Cranko, who put him in touch with the Stuttgart Ballet and encouraged him to work there, initially as a dancer, but very soon also as a choreographer. In 1975, Kylián left Germany to work as artistic co-director for the Nederlands Dans Theater, for which he had already created various pieces as a guest choreographer. In 1978, after the great success of his choreography Sinfonietta at the Festival of Two Worlds in Charleston, South Carolina, he became the sole artistic director of the NDT. Psalms Symphony (1978) was the second major work during this period. This was to have a decisive influence on the future development of the NDT and its international reputation. In the mid-1980s, Kylián's works became more abstract, which is particularly evident in the series of his Black and White choreographies. The fact that the NDT company employed dancers of different age groups was an invention by Kylián. NDT III, the company of dancers over 40, was abolished in 2006 for financial reasons. Kylián stepped down as artistic director of the NDT in 1999, but stayed on as choreographer for another ten years. He has received many honours for his work, including the Order of Orange, one of the highest honours in the Netherlands, presented to him personally by Queen Beatrix in 2008. In 2009, Kylián created Zugvögel for the Bayerisches Staatsballett. Three years later, the company added another ballet by the Czech choreographer to its repertoire: Gods and Dogs.

Information as of 2024