Letter to NRC Handelsblad

An open letter to NRC Handelsblad - and to whom it may concern,

Thank you for making public the fact that at the occasion 
of this years “Nederlandse Dansdagen” I “gave away’ the 
“Swan Award” given to me by VSCD... but I was much less happy 
about the fact that you didn't let your readers know any of 
the reasons for my actions.

1) For the record I wish to be known, that I have not just 
simply given this award away, but I have passed it on to 
Gerald Tibbs - someone who has served NDT for a longer time 
than myself. He was an extraordinary dancer who has created 
many original roles with some of he greatest choreographers 
of the late 20th century. (Tetley, van Manen, Forsythe, 
and very many others...) In the last 20 years he has lead 
NDT II with a remarkable success. At least 80% of all 
the dancers of NDT I have been raised in NDT II. 
He has never been given any award for all this invaluable 
contribution to NDT’s recognition.

In my speech in Maastricht on the 10th of October, I have 
criticized the fact that the individual dance performances 
and the choreographic creations are being compared and put 
into a “winner - looser situation”. Works of art, if they 
can be classified as such, have an integrity which is unique, 
original, unexchangeable  and incomparable.If these works 
do not have such qualities, they should not be taken into 
consideration for any possible award.

Dance is peoples oldest and the most personal artistic 
expression. The different forms and styles of professional 
dance are endless...

To compare all these styles,their diametrically opposing 
techniques, theories, its philosophy with all its emotional 
contents and its theatricality, is in my opinion not only 
impossible, but misguided...

We - dancers or choreographers surely need appreciation, 
recognition and public awareness, and I know very well that 
dance as an art form has much work to do in order to become 
a fully fledged member of our cultural consciousness.
This is the very reason why I would like to offer you a few 
suggestions, how to reform and revitalize this very fine idea 
of giving dance a solid public platform...

1) Do not nominate dancers for your award - because through 
    this nomination you create ‘Winners and Losers” - This is 
    in my opinion and in my experience not a good idea - as I 
    know, that the vulnerability of the dancers is already
    pushed to the limit by its own nature.
2) I think that even in this time of "financial crisis", 
    the Netherlands has enough resources to find a modest 
    amount of money, and award these people’s hard work in 
    order to make their lives more livable...
3) In my opinion, the award for choreography should be limited 
    to the age of 35. This is the age by which most of the 
    talents have become evident...
4) There could be special consideration for late developers, 
    people, who have made a very unique and special contribution 
    to this art form later in their lives. (People between 35 
    and 60)
5) Finally, For older choreographers - beyond the of age of 60, 
    a special “Life achievement appreciation” might be considered... 
    Their Award could be a public relation event giving the 
    recipient the possibility to “sponsor” somebody, who he thinks 
    is worthy his or her financial support. 

    Enough Said - Thanks for reading my message.

    Respectfully yours Jiří Kylián

P.S. It is very clear to me that you will not print my letter 
       in full.., but  I think that it would be wonderful and fair 
       to your readers community to bring them my letter in 
       its essence...
    Respectfully yours Jiří Kylián, 2009