Jiří Kylián choreographed Gods and Dogs for the Nederlands Dans Theater (NDT), on which he exerted a decisive influence as its director of many years. In his hundredth creation for the renowned ballet company – a lugubriously mysterious chamber ballet for four couples – Kylián reflects on the boundaries between normality and madness, and calls the norms of such attributions into question. Kylián’s sensually poetic dance language and infallible sense of musicality make this ballet – whose vivid title refers to a mysterious dual figure from the realm of the Pharaohs – a fascinating piece.
The individual confronting reality and his or her attempts at mastering or avoiding difficulties is one of the key themes in Jirí Kylián’s work. Gods and Dogs (2008) explores this same thought process by reflecting on the way in which we dress and the underlying motives that prompt us to choose one item of clothing over another. We spend our entire lives wearing clothes like masks, swapping and changing them depending on circumstance and the way in which others see us. Here again, the viewer can sense Jirí Kylián’s fascination for the behaviour of the individual attempting to find his or her place in a society formed of blurred boundaries.
World premiere: Nederlands Dans Theater II at Lucent Danstheater, Den Haag (Netherlands), November 13th 2008
Premiere by CND: Compañía Nacional de Danza at Teatro de la Zarzuela de Madrid (Spain), May 27nd 2018