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Kylián Festival. 8 ways to stay on top as a choreographer

Jiří Kylián is not at the Holland Festival. He has his own festival. The small Korzo theatre hosted ten days of intimate works by the great choreographer. Varied and still impressive. Next year, Kylián will have been a choreographer for 45 years. How do you keep performing at the world's top for so long? 

A young-looking Jiří Kylián addresses a packed auditorium. Modest, charming, witty and stylishly dressed. He closes the festival named after him with the programme KYLWORKS: Anonymous, 14'20" and Birth-Day. Based on the festival 8 answers how to keep performing at a high level as a choreographer.

1. determination in the genes

It helps if at least one of your parents has achieved something. In Jiřís case, his father made carrière as a banker and his mother was successful as a dancer at a young age. Kylián seems to possess an autenthic, big-thinking determination.

[Tweet "Jiří Kylián: from banker's son to dance icon"]

2. love of the trade

The three different works of KYLWORKS each betrayed a dedication of the creator to his work and to his dancers. Like a parent topping a child with a blanket: all completed and perfect.

3. maintain a vision

At NDT, Jiří was quick to focus on young talents. This resulted in NDT 2. The same applied to older dancers: NDT 3 made them shine. 'All ages dance' is a vision Kylián continues to follow. Moreover, he sees this life cycle of dance as a tiny part of a larger universe. Wonder therefore overwhelms you in the duet 14'20''. A total and hushed beauty of two dancers dying off like celestial bodies.

4. work with a muse

Use a muse sounds less kind. It is miserable enough for muses to give themselves entirely only to be traded in later. Kylián, however, remains faithful to his one muse and life partner: Sabine Kupferberg. Also in Anonymous and Birth-Day Turns out why: the dancer, once advised by John Cranko to become a better actress, looks unchanged natural and fills the stage with her presence.

5. follow the via dolorosa

Plenty of choreographers give up after a while. Insufficient success, another job that beckons. Persevering in difficult times makes you stronger, is Kylián's conviction. 'It's not been honey-tasting all the time,' says the choreographer.

6. behind every artistic success is a business leader

Two words. Carel Birnie.

7. combine creation with management

Balanchine, Graham, Cranko. Being a great choreographer can help you lead a company artistically. It completes you, or gives you distractions.

8. keep a sense of humour

Portrait photos show Jiří wearing a mask. He has something to hide, or doesn't want to appear too serious. In the courteous Birth-Day the comedian and the child in Kylián go completely wild. He meticulously portrays the squeamishness of relationships and the effect of getting older.

Work by Kylián is temporary not to be seen at NDT. However, it does celebrate Introdans Ensemble for Youth in October marked its 25th anniversary with a Kylián programme. Those wishing to know more about the choreographer can read the book One of a Kind buy that during the Kylián Festival was launched.


6 thoughts on “Kylián Festival. 8 manieren waarop je als choreograaf aan de top blijft”

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Ruben Brugman

writing ex-dancerView Author posts

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