The three dances presented here hint as to the wide range of Kylián's work, as well as to his philosophies toward life and art. At the same time, Kylián's distinctive style – acrobatic, abstract, always surprising – runs through all three works. The range of the Nederlands Dans Theater also is on display here. The films are beautifully photographed, and the sound is excellent too. Bella Figura is performed by NDT I, the main ensemble, composed of dancers between the ages of 23 and 42. Birth-day is performed by the NDT III, an ensemble in which all the dancers are 40 or older. Finally, Sleepless is performed by NDT II, whose dancers are 23 or younger. BIRTH-DAY
Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Kylián's sense of humour comes prominently to the fore, but tragedy lurks behind the humour. After all, each birthday implies another step away from the day of birth and a step closer to death. "Ever since I was very young, I have felt very deeply that our birth certificate is actually our death sentence", says Jií Kyilán. Birth-day plays a game with time. Mozart's music is either adagio or prestissimo, and the same can be said of the movements that at times are performed at double pace or at times almost sink into immobility. "Mozart, whose music I have chosen for this production, is the greatest example of someone who's time between day 'A' and day 'Z' was painfully limited, but who nevertheless has understood life in all its richness, fantasy, clownery and madness."
Music by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, Antonio Vivaldi, Giuseppe Torelli
This ballet by Jií Kylián, with the dancers draped in red skirts which the viewer will not soon forget, is of an indescribable beauty. In Bella Figura, Jií Kylián ventures into the twilight zone of the human soul. Dream and reality collide on stage offering a constantly changing perspective. The flashing images which rapidly change in colour and mood flow harmoniously together with a collage of renaissance and baroque music by Vivaldi, Torelli and Pergolesi. The result is elusive and enigmatic. "Simply the feeling one has after dreaming of falling down only to wake with a broken rib", as Kylián himself described it.
Music by Dirk Haubrich
Jií Kylián has made many masterpieces, one of them the fascinating Sleepless, a creation for six young dancers in which the set plays an important part. It has a wall behind which dancers or sometimes just parts of their bodies appear, disappear and return. The set allows unexpected entrances or creates hallucinating images of heads which in a grotesque way do not appear to go with the bodies.