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