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)