The sword With my inauguration as a new member of the Académie des Beaux Arts on the 13th of March 2019 a new section will be created: Choreography. This makes me obviously extremely proud, because the art of dance has been a grossly neglected art form for a considerable time. At the inauguration every new member is presented with a sword, symbolizing his profession. It is a symbol for “defending your art - if necessary with a sword in your hand”. But how to make a sword that symbolizes the art of dance and choreography..? It was not an easy task. After contemplating many different possibilities, I came across an image of a beautiful small statue of a female dancer. This statue, which looks like it was created by Matisse or Picasso, is in fact a work of art created 5,500 years ago in Egypt. This statuette is from the pre-dynastic period. It is much older than the pyramids and the hieroglyphics, which means that nothing is known about her. The only obvious fact is, that she is a dancer. She is also known as the "Bird lady", because instead of a head she has a beak, and her arms resemble wings. Eventually the copy of this statue became the handle of the sword. The meaning and significance of this occasion is, that the art of choreography is elevated to a new level. That is why I decided that this "Bird lady" should stand on wings, taking her to new adventures.
And here is a small tragi-comical anecdote connected to this: I have telephoned a man who has a large collection of stuffed animals and asked him if he had a pair of small bird wings, which could be scanned and recreated in metal. As he was explaining to me, that unfortunately he didn't have anything which I could use, a dead bird fell from the sky, and landed right in front of my feet..?! I took this bird, a small finch, to this man. He prepared them with love and care so that these wings could be "immortalized" as part of my sword. Another difficult task was to obtain a perfect 3D digital scan of the ancient Egyptian sculpture. I have found out that she "lives" now in the Brooklyn Museum in New York. I have asked a very talented photographer Jason Akira Somma, whose mentor I was a few years ago, to try to organize the scanning. By strange coincidence the space in which the "Bird lady" enchanted thousands of viewers for many years, had to be restored, and the "Bird lady" had to be removed from public view. Jason took this opportunity and scanned her in a "Chambre séparée". Having obtained the most essential parts of the handle of the sward, I needed to find a black smith to make it. Two friends, graphic designer René de Haan and painter Ilja Walraven, were instrumental in finding the very best black smith in the Netherlands to actually physically make it. His name is Dave Wijngaarden from Alkmaar. None of this could ever be realized without a totally dedicated and tireless support of Carmen Thomas, the director of the Kylián Productions.