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© Anton Corbijn

On March 13, 2019, the choreographer Jiří Kylián will be officially inaugurated to the Académie des beaux-arts by his colleague Hugues R. Gall, member of the section “membres libres”. Jiří Kylián will become member of the Académie on April 25, 2018 in the seat of painter Leonardo Cremonini. During the ceremony which will take place in the Coupole of the Palais de l’Institut de France, Hugues R. Gall will announce the installation of Jiří Kylián but before inviting the latter, according to custom, will praise his predecessor.

* The foreign associate members, statutorily 16, are elected among artists or foreign personalities contributing by their action to promote the artistic creation in the world.

Jiří Kylián

Dancer and choreographer Jiří Kylián was born in 1947 in Prague, Czechoslovakia.

In 1962 he was accepted as a dance student to the Prague conservatory. Although this era was totally controlled by the omnipresent communist party, many of the teachers were excellent, as their own education was rooted in the liberal and democratic pre-war Czechoslovakia. The teacher Zora Šemberová had a decisive influence on Jiří.

In 1967 he received a scholarship to study at the Royal Ballet School in London. There he met the choreographer John Cranko, who offered him a contract with his Stuttgart Ballet. Before taking up the contract, he returned to Prague, where in the meantime, there was an uprising against the communist rule lead by Alexander Dubček. His attempt to create « Socialism with a human face » was crushed on August 21, 1968 by the Warsaw pact forces. One week later Kylián left for Stuttgart, where Cranko encouraged him to create some of his earliest choreographies. In the early seventies, he was invited as a guest choreographer to the Nederlands Dans Theater in Holland. In 1975 he was asked to become its artistic director.

Kylián’s creation of Sinfonietta at the Charleston Festival in 1978 was a true breakthrough, giving Nederlands Dans Theater international fame and recognition. The company began to travel extensively (Metropolitan Opera House, Paris Opera, Prague Spring Festival …).

Realizing the importance of education of young dancers, he created a Junior company, NDT 2. But he also recognized the value and the specific quality of older dances, which lead him to the creation of a Senior company, NDT 3. Together with his colleagues Hans van Manen, Mats Ek and William Forsythe he created its world première. This event was immediately accepted by the public and by the media as an important new development. NDT 3 had an immediate positive impact on the dance community. In fact it simply proved that all ages can dance.

In 1987 Nederlands Dans Theater built its own home – studio spaces and a theatre designed by architect Rem Koolhaas. Kylián remained affiliated with Nederlands Dans Theater for 34 years. In the past years, his focus has been more on video, film and photography. The award winning films Car-Men and Scalamare, and the photo installation Free Fall were created in close collaboration with his muse and his lifelong partner Sabine Kupferberg.