Kaguyahime is one of Japan’s oldest fairytales. The story of the mysterious Moon Princess inspired Jirí Kylián to create a full-length ballet and to commission a score from the Japanese composer Maki Ishii.
Through its use of western percussion instruments and Japanese drums, the work combines both occidental and oriental elements, its rhythmic vitality providing a musical structure for the poetic tale. Woodwind instruments extend the tonal colour, as does the use of traditional Gagaku music from the Japanese court.
When Jirí Kylián first discovered the fairytale, he found two compelling reasons to choreograph it. First, he was interested in the way the story combines realistic and supernatural elements as only fairytales can; and secondly, he was fascinated by what the tale reveals of Japanese culture through the interplay of the earth and the moon.
Using Ishii's music combining Western and Eastern sound elements, Kylian focused on the philosophical message behind the Kaguyahime story and created a highly charged performance in which dance, music and theatrical imagery have equal importance.
Dedicated to bridge the gap between modern dance and classical ballet, the Nederlands Dans Theater forged a reputation as one of the most innovative and exciting dance groups in Europe. Under Jiří Kylián’s visionary direction (from 1975 to 1999), the company’s international pre-eminence kept growing.