Membership of Acadénie des Beaux Arts Dear friends, I can see you shaking your heads or outright laughing while reading what I am about to write you... and I don’t blame you..! What happened to me might surprise you: I just became immortal! You might know that immortality is not easy to obtain, as it is the exclusive privilege of the members of the “Académie Française” or its offshoot “Académie des Beaux-Arts”. And this is what happened to me: at the end of April, I was chosen to join the “Académie des Beaux-Arts" as associate foreign member. This unique appreciation is only rarely given to persons who don’t hold the French nationality. The first Czech, who received this honor was the composer Antonín Rejcha in 1835. Born in Prague, he later became director of the Paris Conservatoire of Music. Among his prominent pupils were Franz Liszt, Hector Berlioz, César Franck, Charles Gounod and others. It is very clear to me, that I don’t belong to these illustrious creators, but this honor bestowed on me, puts me into a close range to them..! And now what? What will happen when you suddenly stand on top of this very prestigious but shaky ladder? Where do you go from here? Well, probably the most obvious solution is to close your eyes and take a headlong dive. This might seem pretty hazardous, but it is much less dangerous considering the fact that you were just pronounced immortal. Dear friends, needless to say that I am very honored to receive this prestigious recognition, but I am just as happy for all dancers, teachers and choreographers, because I see this award also as a recognition of our often neglected art form.
The fact that I was accepted as member of the "Académie" made it posssible, that choreography was added to the other artistic disciplines honored by this prestigious institution. For the first time in the long history of the "Académie", choreography became an equal member of the artistic family. This makes me very proud and very happy. It is important to know, that the only two people from the dance world honored by the “Académie des Beaux-Arts”, were Maurice Béjart and Marcel Marceau. Both these men meant a lot to me when I was a student in Prague. They opened for me the doors of magic, beauty and fantasy. They were great heroes of my youth and until this day I am very grateful that I had the chance to experience their art and to meet them personally. But I must also admit that this honor gives me some serious headaches. One of the problems is, that part of the prescribed suit, which I will have to wear at the ceremony, is a sword, which must be especially designed and hand crafted for this occasion. It should somehow symbolize my profession and represent dance or movement. I am not quite sure how a sword could represent dance, but movement seems easier to conceive. The efficiency of its movement can be easily tested by chopping off someone's head, for instance my own, and in this way put my immortality to a real test..! Dear friends, the date of the ceremony at the "Académie des Beaux-Arts" in Paris will take some time to be determined, but I will let you know it in due time. And I surely don't need to tell you that I would be more than happy to see you at that occasion. Yours sincerely - Jiří Kylián