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Celebrating an evening with Jiří Kylián!

Jiří Kylián Tar and Feathers
Jiří Kylián Gods and Dogs
Jiří Kylián Bella Figura

On the occasion of Jiri Kylián’s 75th birthday, we celebrate this inspired maker with an evening of three significant works that speak to his artistic vision over time. Tar and Feathers (2006), Gods and Dogs (2008), and Bella Figura (1995) were originally created for Nederlands Dans Theater (NDT) and are exemplary of Kylian’s extraordinary craft and contribution to dance and the development of NDT.

All 19 shows

About the programme

One of the choreographer’s initial sources of inspiration for Tar and Feathers (2006) was found in the medieval ritual of punishment by pouring black tar on a person and covering them with feathers. For Kylián, the black, sticky tar bound by gravity offset by delicate feathers as objects associated with lightness and elevation, forms a metaphor for the ‘unbearable lightness’ and the ‘unbearable weight’ of our human existence. At a grand piano perching on metre-high legs, pianist Tomoko Mukaiyama improvises around Mozart’s Piano concert Nr. 9. Against this stunning musical backdrop, six dancers perform intriguing, mysterious movement in a surreal black and white world. Throughout the work, we hear Kylián recite What is the word by Samuel Beckett, the last poem the Irish author wrote on his deathbed, that grapples with an inability to find words to express oneself.

Gods and Dogs (2008) was originally created for NDT 2 and marked Jiří Kylián’s 75th choreography. This mysterious work visualizes the fine line between normality and insanity. Or as Kylián puts it: “Surely no positive developments can ever be accomplished without the help of a healthy portion of madness.” Gods and Dogs is called ‘an unfinished work’, referring to Kylián’s fascination for the beauty of what is left incomplete in life. The work won the Dutch Zwaan Award for ‘Most Impressive Dance Production’ in 2008.

The idea of Bella Figura (1995) is a parable on the relativity of sensuality, beauty, and aesthetics. In Italian, “Bella Figura” doesn’t only stand for “beautiful figure”, but also represents the resilience of people facing a difficult situation, or “putting on a brave face”. About this work, Kylián says: “For a long time, I have asked myself: What is a performance, and who are the performers? When does the performance begin or end? (…) Where is the border between art and artificiality, between the truth and a lie? I am interested in this world “in between”, just before a performance begins, when the dancers start changing from private persons into performers. It is a world in which all kinds of realities merge in an unpredictable and surreal way.”

Performance dates

Season 2022-2023 | September 22 until December 3, 2022

Amare, The Hague
September 22, 23, 24, 27, 28
November 15, 16, 18, 19, 20

Internationaal Theater Amsterdam 
October 4, 5, 6

Parkstad Limburg Theaters, Heerlen
November 23


Nieuwe Luxor Theater, Rotterdam
November 25, 26

Schouwburg Concertzaal Tilburg 
November 30

Stadsschouwburg Utrecht 
December 2, 3


The world-renowned choreographer Jiří Kylián (Czechoslovakia) was the artistic director of NDT for nearly a quarter century. He remained house choreographer until 2009. Kylián’s exceeding body of work counts 100 creations to date, of which no less than 75 were especially created for NDT. Numerous dance companies and schools around the world frequently perform Kylián’s masterpieces. Kylián has received many prestigious, international awards and honours, among which an election as foreign associate member of the prestigious French Académie des Beaux-Arts, for the newly founded choreography section of the Academy.

'Bella Figura' - Jiří Kylián. Dancers: Madoka Kariya, Lydia Bustinduy. Photo: Joris-Jan Bos.

Watch more photos in the gallery

Introduction talks

NDT organizes introduction talks prior to the performances of NDT 1 and NDT 2 in the Netherlands. The introduction talk takes 30 minutes and offers the opportunity the audience to meet our company on a personal level before the performance starts. Modern dance and the repertoire of NDT in particular are the focus of our introduction talks.

You can read more information in the information e-mail you receive the day before your visit to Amare, or via the website of the theater in question where you are visiting the NDT performance.