choreographer, set- and lighting designer
Jiří Kylián started his dance career at the age of nine, at the School of the National Ballet in Prague. He left Prague when he received a scholarship for the Royal Ballet School in London in 1967. After this, he left to join the Stuttgart Ballett led by John Cranko. Kylián made his debut as a choreographer here with Paradox for the Noverre Gesellschaft. After having made three ballets for Nederlands Dans Theater (Viewers, Stoolgame and La Cathédrale Engloutie), he became artistic director of the company in 1975. In 1978 he put Nederlands Dans Theater on the international map with Sinfonietta. That same year, together with Carel Birnie, he founded Nederlands Dans Theater II, which served as a bridge between school and professional company life and was meant to give young dancers the opportunity to develop their skills and talents and to function as a breeding ground for young talent. He also initiated Nederlands Dans Theater III in 1991, the company for dancers above forty years of age. This three dimensional structure was unique in the world of dance. Kylián handed over the artistic leadership in 1999, but remained associated to the dance company as house choreographer until December 2009. Jiří Kylián has created nearly 100 works of which many are performed all over the world. Kylián has not only made works for Nederlands Dans Theater, but also for the Stuttgart Ballet, the Paris Opéra Ballet, Bayerisches Staatsoper Münich, Swedish television and the Tokyo Ballet. In the course of his career, Kylián received many international awards including: 'Officer of the Orange Order'- Netherlands, 'Honorary Doctorate' - Julliard School New York, three 'Nijinsky Awards' - Monte Carlo (best choreographer, company and work), 'Benoit de la Danse' - Moscow and Berlin, 'Honorary Medal' of the President of the Czech Republic, 'Commander of the Legion d'honneur' France, and in 2008 he was distinguished with one of the highest royal honors, the Medal of the Order of the House of Orange given to him by Her Majesty the Queen Beatrix from the Netherlands. In 2011, Kylián received the Lifetime Achievement Award in the field of dance and theater by the Czech Ministry of Culture in Prague.