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Jiří Kylián: L'enfant et les sortilèges (The Child and the Magic Spells)

Nederlands Dans Theater

Year: 1986
Code: AH-Enfant

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Ravel and Colette's fairy ballet choreographed and designed by Jiří Kylián.

An atypical piece in Ravel's repertoire, L'Enfant et les Sortilèges combines the waltz with the ragtime, a ballet with lyrical arias, a classical orchestra with wood-blocks. Supported by Ravel's orchestration genius, L'Enfant et les Sortilèges explores the fairy world of childhood, its enchantment, its invitation to discover beyond the reality an infinite efflorescence of fantastic wonders.

This production was awarded several prizes. And rightly so, for nary any other ballet has ever been met with such enthusiasm and amusement while deeply touching its audiences.

A seven year-old boy, grumpy and unwilling to do his homework, is scolded by his mother. In an outburst of anger, the young boy takes it out on every object around: a tea pot, a kettle, a book, a clock... until he slumps on an old armchair, worn-out. Suddenly, fantastic events happen. Objects come to life, animals start to chat, and they all plot revenge. Terrified, the young boy calls his mum, but gets no response. The creatures rush at the young boy. However a squirrel, hurt in the battle, is rescued by the child. Full of regrets, the creatures cease to torment the young boy, and forgive him for his past wrongdoings.

Also available on DVD with a production of Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf.

 

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.

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