Παρασκευή, 29 Ιανουαρίου 2016


Back in 1992. Jiri Kylian in Athens.
What did Kylian have to say at that time. Keep in mind that he was then the artistic director (until 1999) and main choreographer for NDT, and he had founded two new groups within the NDT company: NDT II for young dancers who could after a perod of study join the main company, NDT I, or join other goups, and NDT III in which senior members of the company participated. 
NDT for those not familiar, refers to the Nederlands Dans Theater(Those of you interested in history and /or are familiar with the international dance scene, note the differences brought about by time. Also note that NDT III, to which Jiri Kylian refers with pride, does not exist anymore due to financial problems. He is also no longer artistic director of the NDT.)
 In first person...
  • I started my studies in 1963 at the Prague Conservatory. I started working with the late John Crank at the Stuttgart Ballet in 1967, and my first trip to Greece in order to give performances was in 1968, with the Stuttgart Ballet. I have spiritual ties with this artist. 
  • The NDT was founded back in 1959 and soon became a major company. A company that has three "branches": NDT I  with 32 dancers between 20 and 40 years old. NDT II, the young company with 12 dancers between the age of 17 and 20. They performed in 1991 in Athens. Last but not least, we have the NDT III with dancers between 40 to 57 years of age. At one point I thought it would nice to both invest in education and to also take care of brilliant dancers who were not in their prime but had a lot to offer. That's how we made this "division". 
  • NDT III is more an idea than a group. They gather, work together, perform, then the group  dissolves and is recreated for another idea. It works, the whole thing works, as a source of inspiration for everybody, younger and older. 
  • In regard to repertory works both his and of other artists: 
Six dances: it is a sarcastic view of the 18th c. to the music of Mozart.
Andante, by Hans van Manen: it is an erotic, sexual pas de deux between a black man and a white woman, with emotions that span from being terrified, the man, to being aggressive, the woman. 
Falling Angels: a piece for eight girls in live music. It is a comment on their own profession, that is of a dancer! 
Symphony of Psalms: It has the Bible as its source, trumpets, "Praise the Lord" and all. 
Black Cake, by Hans van Manen: A humoristic work for the 30th anniversary of the Company. 
Tabula Rasa, by Ohad Naharin: a very important work indeed. It asks fundamental questions about human existence. 
Sinfonietta (1978): a simple work, a celebration of positive forces in human nature; these forces are needed in our lives. Now that the "Eastern countries" are fallen and from the big Wall tha fell and we see the making of ethnic groups with the small stones from the "Wall" we need these forces so that no catastrophy occurs. 

  • Classical dance and modern dance do not form a dichotomy any longer. Nowadays they are mocking one another. That's how I see it. It is not the vocabulary but what you want to say that makes the difference. I take dancers for the Company from all over the world. It is wonderful because they bring along different languages and style. 
  • There is not one style in my work. If one sees my work from the '70s to the '90s there is no similarity. You can make the comparison...
  • I have done dancetheatre, in 1984 and 1988, Kaguyahime (The Moon Princess) and L' enfant et les sortileges. However, my main point is dance, so maybe yes, people see dance with not much of a narrative. 
  • It is important for my dancers not to only comform or feel the comfort of my own work, but to expose themselves to the works of others. this brings artistic development in the world and experience. At the NDT we have guests all the time: Mats Ek, William Forsythe, Hans van Manen, Ohad Naharin and more. 
  • My relationship to music is complicated and varies over the years. In the early days I was trying to say in movement what's in the music. As I am getting older I' m searching for more things of my own, so that my dances won't be replicas of the music but a dialogue, something of its own. To have a dialogue with someone ot contradict someone, one has to listen carefully first and know what the other -the music in this case- has to say. 


Τρίτη, 12 Ιανουαρίου 2016

David Bowie

Just a few thoughts on David Bowie and his last album.
-It is impossible to represent death but he did his best to stage it.
-Legend has it that the Butoh artist Tatsumi Hijikata sensed his death and he stood up and greeted and thanked all of his friends present in the room, somehow Bowie did a similar thing.
-Looking at him, his skin and eyes, having seen the signs in patients struck by the same disease, it is evident that it must have taken an enormous effort on his part to perform in the videos following the release of his last album. This in itself is probably the most amazing feat that this artist managed to perform. The fatality of illness fought by an immense strength. That's a true legacy. 

I think he was larger than his disguise. He was never a clown, but had a solid view and career and music. From his entrepreneurial surprises to the perfection of his music and self-presentation, Bowie, was nothing like a drug-driven pop-star. On the contrary, he was an example of image management. All of his surreal self appeared in the lyrics of his songs. So well done David Bowie! 

I think it was last Friday when I heard the news about the release of yet another album by Bowie after many years blah blah blah, which was met with great acclaim by critics and fans alike, and I was pleased to hear it and then they put Lazarus on as the signature work in the album and I suddenly had an almost uncanny feeling, I thought "who the heck names a song Lazarus unless they die...? Is he dying? Strange..." 
Watching the video, the/his agony of knowing what's in the great Beyond, is breathtaking. R.I.P. Mr Jones* (from the Ballad of a Thin Man, by Bob Dylan, one of his favourite artists.) 


Σάββατο, 9 Ιανουαρίου 2016


Πολύς λόγος γίνεται για τον φέρελπι κ. Olivier Descotes, πρώην διευθυντή του Institut Francais d' Athenes, που φέρεται ως top στους short-listed για τη διεύθυνση του Μουσείου Μπενάκη.
Προσωπικά, δεν έχω πρόβλημα με το αν είναι ξένος ή Έλληνας ο νέος διευθυντής. Εγώ άλλωστε έχω γραψει επανειλημμένως, χωρίς να εισακουσθώ, για την ανάγκη "νέου αίματος" σε πολλούς οργανισμούς με ποικίλους τρόπους, που δεν πρόκειται να αναλύσω εδώ.

Για τον κ. Descotes, θα ήθελα να γνωρίζω:
1. Πόσο χρόνο πραγματικά προτίθεται να δώσει στο Μουσειο Μπενάκη;
2. Δηλαδή, πραγματικά, η σχέση του με το Γαλλικό Υπουργείο Πολιτισμού ποιά είναι, και τι υποχρεώσεις του δημιουργεί μακροπρόθεσμα;
3. Ποιός είναι ο σχεδιασμός του;
4. Μιλάει την Ελληνική γλώσσα; (Κι εγώ αισθάνομαι "like this" με τους Σουηδούς, αλλά Σουηδικά δε μιλάω -αυτά για τις δηλώσεις του ότι "αισθάνεται Έλληνας"...)
5. Από πού, πώς και πόσο θα πληρώνεται;
6. Τι ακριβώς έχει σπουδάσει στο Cambridge; Πόσα χρόνια, με τι τίτλο σπουδών και από ποιό Κολλέγιο; 

Εύλογα ερωτήματα πριν αρχίσει παντοιοτρόπως το λιβάνισμα.