Jiří Kylián: Forgotten Memories - screener

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Jiří Kylián: Forgotten Memories

Year: 2011, 52+74 mins
Code: AH-Forgotten
ISBN: 8-07280-15799-4

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The great Czech choreographer Jiří Kylián as portrayed by Don Kent.

Choreographer of more than one hundred pieces, many of them being part of the core repertoire of leading ballet companies all over the world, Jiří Kylián is a living legend. Always a reluctant subject, he finally agreed to participate in this film, the only record of his personal history and artistic life. Written by Christian Dumais-Lvowski and directed by Don Kent, this film is a foray into Kylián's memories.

Through interviews shot in Den Haag, headquarters of the Nederlands Dans Theater (NDT), for whom Kylián has been choreographer and artistic director for 36 years, then in Prague, his native town, Paris and Monte-Carlo, where he created some of his later works, this film recounts the career of an exceptional artist. Some archives show Jiří Kylián in Prague during his youth, from his apprenticeship as a ballet dancer at the Conservatory, until his exile after the Soviet army invaded his country. This film tells Jiří Kylián's life in London, then in Stuttgart where he started his career as a choreographer, then his setting up in Den Haag where he greatly contributed to make the Nederlands Dans Theater famous world wide.

Apart from Kylián's own words, the only person we hear is Sabine Kupferberg, the choreographer's life partner. The couple has created more than 40 works together. The documentary shows Jiří Kylián at work in a number of different rehearsal venues, and large excerpts from some of his masterpieces such as Symphony of Psalms, Silent Cries, Petite Mort, Bella Figura, and Mémoires d'Oubliettes.

BONUS additional ballet performance:
Wings of Wax - Nederlands Dans Theater, choreography by Jiří Kylián.

Sensual and entrancing, Wings of Wax is an allegorical journey danced beneath the branches of an inverted tree to a hauntingly beautiful score of selections by musical giants Philip Glass, Heinrich von Biber' John Cage and Johann Sebastian Bach.

“Wings of Wax is an attempt to show not only the rationality of laws, which govern the technique of the dancers but by an equal measure to show the spiritual and emotional value of these physical exercises. The interdependence and trust amongst the dancers in this work is of essential importance. All the activities, seen in this work, represent time, space, or environment, in which strength, weaknesses, doubts, aggressions or failures are allowed to coexist. In fact, it is a stylized and amplified portrait of many of our everyday struggles." - Jiří Kylián

"The second ballet of the evening was Jiří Kylián’s Wings of Wax, and after seeing it, it is undoubtedly one of my favorite ballets (...) in recent memory. The choreography was amazingly complex and meticulous and mashed classical and contemporary ballet with various modern techniques and styles." Angelica Potter: OnStage Massatchusetts (March 27, 2017)

The world-renowned choreographer Jiří Kylián (Czechoslovakia, 1947) has been artistic director of Nederlands Dans Theater for nearly a quarter century. After having created three ballets for NDT
(Viewers, Stoolgame and La Cathédrale Engloutie), Kylián became the company’s artistic director in 1975 together with Hans Knill. In 1978 he and Carel Birnie founded NDT 2, meant to offer young dancers the opportunity to develop their skills and talents and focus on maturing their artistic personalities. In 1991 he initiated NDT 3; a company that created opportunities for older dancers. NDT stood out as the first company worldwide that showed the three dimensions of a dancer´s life. After an extraordinary record of service Kylián handed over the artistic leadership in 1999, but remained the company’s house choreographer until 2009.

Since his last piece Mémoires d’Oubliettes for NDT in 2009, Kylián’s creative focus has shifted to more small scale projects and films. Kylián’s entire body of work counts 100 creations to date, of which 77 performed by NDT and no less than 75 were especially created for the company. Furthermore, he made pieces for companies worldwide such as the Stuttgart Ballet, the Opéra de Paris, the Munich Bayerisches Staatsballett, and the Tokyo Ballet.

Kylián received many prestigious, international awards and honours, such as Officer of the Royal Dutch Order of Orange-Nassau, Honorary Medal of Order for Arts and Science of the House of Orange given to him by Her Majesty Queen Beatrix, honorary doctorate of the Juilliard School in New York and the Honorary Medal from the President of the Czech Republic. To this day, Kylián’s masterpieces are frequently performed by numerous dance companies and schools around the world.

Review of the ballet  Wings of Wax:

Angelica Potter: OnStage Massatchusetts (March 27, 2017)

The second ballet of the evening was Jiří Kylián’s Wings of Wax, and after seeing it, it is undoubtedly one of my favorite ballets performed by the company in recent memory. The choreography was amazingly complex and meticulous and mashed classical and contemporary ballet with various modern techniques and styles.
The group as a whole danced perfectly in unison. The male solos included fast jumps and turns that flew across the stage. They were able to lift their partners with ease and the females, with complete trust, were tossed, turned, lifted and dragged about the stage. Each musical variation led to new emotional explorations and characterizations. It was fascinating to watch and captivating from start to finish. The dancers fully embodied their movement, the characters they were portraying and the stories they were telling. The audience highly enjoyed this ballet giving it a standing ovation and robust applause.

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