Dance and aging Age: Imagine that before you are born, the clock of your life is wound up. In the moment you leave your mother's womb, the mechanism of the clock is released, and the time starts ticking. That is the beginning of your incredible adventure called life, but also the beginning of your end. You will inevitably start the process of aging, and it will be happening even while you are reading these lines… Throughout our history we have developed a system of numbers counting the years which have elapsed since our birth. These numbers keep increasing as we are drifting away from the moment we were born, but at the same time they are decreasing as we are nearing the end of our journey. Finally all numbers will be added and subtracted so that we can die when we reach the age of zero. It frightens us and supplies us with plenty of uncertainty and confusion. But we should never forget the invaluable experience this process has bestowed on us. It has much more to do with the quality of our life than our longevity.
Dance: The moment we see the light of day for the very first time, we move and wriggle out of control..! We don't understand anything, because we are in total shock. And of course we don't realize that we are performing the "Dance of life" and the "Totentanz" in the same moment. Every movement we make is dance, and as life is movement, so inevitably dance is life. As we mature, our dance becomes ever more significant and profound - even if our fate is not very kind to us. I have dedicated much of my life to this art. I have started to dance at the age of 9, and ever since then I wanted to choreograph - and I did - for many years to come. I was the artistic director of the Netherlands Dance Theatre between 1975 and 1999. And throughout these years I was very conscious of the dancer's short lived career, and their vulnerability caused by it. That is why I founded a small company for young and inexperienced dancers in 1978 called NDT II, and in 1991 I added another company, NDT III, designed specifically for dancers "between forty and death". I also realize that as I am writing these lines on Friday November 26, 2021, I am 27,279 days old, but by the time you will read these lines I will have moved on..! There is an infinite amount of riddles thrown into our paths, which we cannot decipher, comprehend or explain. But there are three, which fascinate me. Time, Speed and Aging. They keep asking me difficult questions and when I return them, no answers ever come back..! Much of my work is focused on this “trinity” and some of my titles give it away: "Return to the strange land”, “As if never been”, “Half past”, "Birth - Day", "When time takes time", "Far too close", "A way a lone", "Vanishing twin"... But there are also a few things I understand quite well: Everyone of us can dance at any moment of his life, and the longer he does, the better. The terms "Young" and "Old" are only street signs helping us navigate through our life, but they are notoriously vague and certainly unable to determine the state of our being. There is one saying: “Age is a matter of mind, but if you don't mind it doesn't matter”. This might sound to you like an amusing play on words, but sometimes a short aphorism brings the essence of a long article closer to our heart. Writers and readers always meet in different times, different situations and places, and every one of them is of different age. But there is one thing we all have in common: Our journey through life could improve with time like a good wine maturing with age. Jiří Kylián - The Hague - November 26, 2021