Balkan Project

Dear friends,

It makes me very proud and very happy to be asked to participate 
in such a fine project. 
I am Czech by birth (*1947 in Prague), but I have spent exactly 
two thirds of my life in the western part of Europe: England, 
Germany and the Netherlands. Consequently, I am very aware of 
the political (and cultural) divisions of Europe in the time 
of the cold war. I knew how painful it was for the people of 
the “Eastern Europe” not to be able to communicate with the 
people from the “west” . 

I was the artistic director of Nederlands Dans Theater for 
24 years (1975-1999). In all those years, we have travelled 
many times around the world. We have visited many countries 
with very controversial political systems (South Africa – 
in the time of apartheid, Czechoslovakia in 1980, Greece under 
the dictatorship and many more). We did so, because we have 
believed that, whenever the politicians are not able to talk 
with one another, it is up to the artists to do so. Dance is 
not only the oldest art form of human beings, (older than 
music, literature or painting...), but it is also the most 
personal one.

And because of its very personal character, and because of 
its ability to communicate without the use of language, 
dance is the finest ambassador, able to bring people of the 
most diverse origins and cultural or religious backgrounds 

The wars of the past are over, but the wounds are not healed 
yet. What we want to bring to you, is a small window, or a 
bridge. So that we all start understanding, that you don’t 
live only in your world, and I don’t live only in mine, 
but that we all live in “our world”.

 Jiří Kylián The Hague, April 1st, 2007