“Over 20 years ago, as a student at Boston Ballet school I heard about the work of Jiří Kylián and on a whim took a bus to NYC to see NDT 2’s final performance at The Joyce Theatre. Arriving at the theatre hours before the start time, I found the show was already sold out and there was a line around the block of people hopeful for a last minute ticket. I joined the back of the line and befriended a woman in front of me, Catherine, a former dancer then working in publishing in NY. We chatted about my classical ballet studies and how I enjoyed creating my own dances. One by one people were given tickets and almost 2 hours later Catherine reached the box office and was told that her ticket was the last, there were none left. She bought it and turned around and gave it to me and said “Have a wonderful show, I think you need to see this” and left.
The generosity of a stranger and the brilliance of NDT shifted, at least internally, the direction of my career at that moment. That performance was the first time that I had been so captivated by contemporary dance. The innovation, complexity, dramatic intention and virtuosity pulled me in and opened my mind for the first time, to what was possible in contemporary dance.
Many years later, I had just taken the leap out of stable company life into the much riskier role of freelance choreographer. My first big break, a production for the Théâtre de Suresnes in Paris, had been picked up and it was after opening night of the first leg of a 27-city European tour. I came down the stairs into the restaurant of our tour hotel and sat down for breakfast when a man sat at the table next to me. The man was Jiri Kylian. It was like a wink from the fates that at another turning point in my work, (this time an external rather than an internal one) that I was on my correct path.
To be welcomed to this stage now is an honour and a delight and feels like I’ve come full circle. I hope to be able to share with the young talent of NDT 2 the kind of generosity and inspiration that I experienced when I first saw the company. I hope to be able to share a bit of the magic I felt and that the audience leaves the theatre feeling as inspired as I did over twenty years ago.” – Andrew Skeels