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Jiri Kylian (Choreography)

Jiri Kylian (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 Kylian made his debut as a choreographer with Paradox for the Noverre Gesellschaft. After having made three ballets for Nederlands Dans Theater (Viewers, Stoolgame and La Cathdrale Engloutie), he became the company`s artistic director, together with Hans Knill, in 1975. During the 1978 Charleston Festival in the United States Kylian put Nederlands Dans Theater on the international map with Sinfonietta (Leo Janacek). That same year he and Carel Birnie founded Nederlands Dans Theater 2, which was and is meant to give young dancers the opportunity to develop their skills and talents. In 1991 he initiated Nederlands Dans Theater III, the company that created opportunities for older` dancers. 

With the advent of Nederlands Dans Theater III, Nederlands Dans Theater stood out as the first company worldwide that showed the three dimensions of a dancers life, which was unique in the world of dance. After an extraordinary record of service Kylian handed over the artistic leadership in 1999, but remained associated to the dance company as house choreographer. 

Jiri Kylian has created 101 ballets so far, 74 of which were for Nederlands Dans Theater. His work is performed by companies and schools all over the world. Besides Nederlands Dans Theater, Kylian has also made works for the Stuttgart Ballet, the Paris Opra, 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 (Zugvgel, 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, Nederlands Dans Theater and the Steps Festival in Switzerland, and was realised in collaboration with Michael Schumacher, Sabine Kupferberg and other former dancers of Nederlands Dans Theater. The latest work Kylian made for Nederlands Dans Theater was Gods and Dogs (Nederlands Dans Theater 2, 13 November 2008). On 3 May 2009 Kylian created the full evening`s production Zugvgel 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).

In the course of his career Kylian has received many international awards and honours, including Officer of the Royal Dutch Order of Orange-Nassau, honorary doctorate of the Juilliard School in New York, three Nijinsky Awards in Monte Carlo (best choreographer, company and work), Benois de la Danse in Moscow and Berlin, Honorary Medal from the President of the Czech Republic and Chevalier du Lgion d`Honneur in France. In June 2008 Kylian was awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement` of the Venice Biennale during the sixth international festival of contemporary dance. On 2 December 2008 Her Majesty the Queen presented him with the Medal of the Order of the House of Orange for Arts and Science. For Gods and Dogs (Nederlands Dans Theater 2, 2008) he received the VSCD Zwaan awards for most impressive dance production and most impressive dance achievement 2009. On top of that, he received the Prix Italia 2009 film award, together with the NPS broadcasting company, for the film version of Wings of Wax. The ballet Mmoires d`Oubliettes marked the end of his work for Nederlands Dans Theater in 2009. 

Together with visual artist Jason Akira Somma (USA) he created Anonymus a dance and video installation on the occasion of the opening of the Cadance Festival in 2011, Korzo Theater, The Hague, Holland.

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