Jiří Kylián. Photo © Serge  Ligtenberg

Jiří Kylián.
Photo © Serge Ligtenberg

Maggie Foyer

Dance Salad Festival launches on April 1 with the Choreographers’ Forum. This year the focus is on Jiří Kylián, probably the single most influential contemporary choreographer in Europe in the last century and whose work has featured regularly at DSF. His name is synonymous with Nederlands Dans Theater based in The Hague, the company he developed and brought to international attention. Under his direction the company became a powerhouse of contemporary dance; a showcase for his own works as well as works from both up and coming and also well-established choreographers.

Central to Kylián’s vision is the nurturing of young talent and in 1978 NDT 2 was born. It provides a launch pad into the profession for young dancers who work with the best of new choreographers to become versatile and creative dancers. Then in 1991, Kylián took the company to a further dimension establishing NDT 3 – for dancers between 40 and death. In 2008 DSF presented Car Men and Birth-Day celebrating the achievements of these iconic performers including Kylián’s muse Sabine Kupferberg.

There is rarely a Dance Salad Festival where Jiří Kylián’s influence has not been present. His own works have included Blackbird (Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genéve), Stamping Ground (Prague National Theatre) and Toss of a Dice and Petite Mort (NDT). Then there are the works from choreographers nurtured at NDT including Paul Lightfoot and Sol León, Mehdi Walerski and Jorma Elo.

Introdans in <i>Trompe L'Oeil</i>.  Photo © Introdans-Hans Gerritsen

Introdans in Trompe L’Oeil.
Photo © Introdans/Hans Gerritsen

At this year’s Festival Introdans from Arnhem will present Kylián’s Trompe l’Oeil and the dancers will be present at the Forum to talk about working with the master. Schedules permitting, they will be joined by dancers from the Norwegian National Ballet, another company who has a built a very special relationship with the choreographer. This will be a unique chance to gain a rare insight into working with Jiří Kylián.

Details: Houston Choreographers’ Forum: A Conversation, Wednesday, April 1, 7:00 PM@ the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Caroline Weiss Law Building, Brown Auditorium.

The Forum will honour the work of Jiří Kylián featuring a film of his recent work, Anonymous and the documentary Forgotten Memories with Kylián’s own personal narration. Free Event