Jiří Kylián (b. 1947) started his dance career at the age of nine, at the School of the National Ballet in Prague. He left Prague when he received a scholarship for the Royal Ballet School in London in 1967. After this, he left to join the Stuttgart Ballett led by John Cranko, and in 1975 Kylián became artistic director of the Nederlands Dans Theater in The Hague (NL).
In 1978, he put NDT on the international map with Sinfonietta. That same year, he founded Nederlands Dans Theater 2, which was meant to function as a breeding ground for young talent. He also initiated Nederlands Dans Theater 3 in 1991, the company for older dancers from forty till ‘death’. This three dimensional structure was unique in the world of dance.
After an extraordinary record of service, with an oeuvre of almost 100 ballets, Kylián handed over the artistic leadership in 1999, and remained associated to the dance company as house choreographer until December 2009. In the last ten years, Kylián has directed three dance films, Car-Men (2006), Between Entrance & Exit (2013), Schwarzfahrer (2014) and Scalamare (2017).