Overgrown Path To write about Antony Tudor is probably the most difficult thing a choreographer can be asked to do. But I try. To me Tudor was a mystery. - At the time when I have met him for the first time I had only a very limited knowledge of his work. Only his uncompromising view of dance, choreography and its psychology was known to me. The more surprising was the fact, that after NDT's first appearance at the "City Centre" in New York, Tudor was not only present, but he insisted to see me. I was warned, that Mr. Tudor was a very sarcastic critic of dance and choreography and that the experience of meeting him after a show could have devastating aftershocks and could result in permanent damage. But in my case, the contrary was true. I felt very embraced, understood and sheltered by him. His acceptance and appreciation of my work was very heartwarming and reassuring. And strange as it might sound, he said to me, that he felt I was his "Artistic grandson". In the cafeteria of the Hotel Empire we drank orange juice and talked about art... I couldn't help noticing, that he had great love for Czech music, a fact which had obviously become a point of common interest. And he noticed that my nose had the same curve towards the right, as well as his own. Years have passed and many things have happened. In 1980 I have made "Overgrown Path". It is a work, which is deeply rooted in the psyche of the country in which I was born. Janáček's fate (His daughter Olga was dying when he wrote this work, and he was at that time still an unappreciated composer), meant a deep psychological dilemma for him.
Taking into consideration all the psychological implications surrounding the life and the work of Janáček and the very subject of his music, I had decided to dedicate the piece to Tudor. I know that there are scores of dancers which he frustrated and scores which he inspired. But he did all that for the love of dance, the most dionytic, vital, untameable and the most unexplored art of our "Artistic Family". Many years back Martine van Hammel and Kevin Mackenzie have danced a work of mine entitled "Torso". Tudor wrote a handwritten letter to me after seeing the performance. The words were: "I was in awe". Well, I was in awe reading his words. And I appreciate this so very deeply - not only for myself, but for the fact that someone is able to show his esteem for something which he understands more than anyone else... All of this might seem like an expression of complacency. Well I agree, that it might be calcified as such, but it is not as simple as that. I find, that a true appreciation of a colleague, who you respect is worth more then any other praise you might receive in your life! I think I understand Tudor very well, even though I didn't know him or his work profoundly. On one hand his psychological ballets explore our extreme emotionality, on the other hand he has decided to embrace the zen buddhistic philosophy denying all that emotionality, which he promoted with such vigour in his work. All his critics or fans must rejoice by saying: Remarkable, unusually controversial and very inspiring... He should be always remembered and celebrated. Certainly, he will always be remembered and appreciated by me. Jiří Kylián - Den Haag September 14th 2008