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Jiří Kylián, one of the most important choreographers of his generation, has become patron of the Prague Chamber Ballet this year. Born in Prague, Kylián spent most of his life (since 1975) in the Netherlands, for twenty-four years (1975-1999) he was the artistic director of Nederlands Dans Theater. Pavel Šmok (1927-2016) founded the independent dance company Prague Chamber Ballet almost fifty years ago – and remained faithful to it until his death. It all has come full circle: Jiří Kylián has always praised not only the originality and artistic quality of Šmok’s work, but also his brave fight against totalitarian power.

„I am happy to become a patron of the Prague Chamber Ballet, this small but very important institution that has taken it upon itself to finally bring the art of dance to the level where it should have been long ago,“ says choreographer Jiří Kylián.

„I would also like to remind you of a little thing that is familiar to all of us, but which we often neglect. Each of us has a kind of ‚body language‘ that is given to us. It is absolutely unique and belongs only to us –  it can’t be copied, stolen or eradicated – but it can be cultivated,“ adds Kylián. „Of course, we know that we can show off our biceps and abdominals to make everyone envious. But that’s not what I’m talking about here – I’m talking about values that are far more beneficial to humanity than our physical fitness. I’m talking about our mental and emotional balance, our sensitivity to others and our ability to help them. I am talking about our faith and philosophical orientation, our social sensitivity and political convictions! I think about what we are, and how we can best enhance our existence to have the most positive impact on those around us.

Our physical fitness is an important box to protect our ‚personal message‘ that we are trying to send to the world, and therefore we must take good care of it. However, neither gymnastics nor heavy lifting will get us into really good physical shape, but learning dance and its accompanying disciplines can help. I am convinced that it cannot only deepen our understanding of our bodies, but more importantly, broaden our horizons. I am convinced that every person – and, of course, every politician – should learn to dance. Dance should become a compulsory subject in all primary schools. It deserves our support, not only mentally but also financially. Dance may be the Cinderella of our artistic family, but we all know what that Cinderella turned out to be – a Princess. Help her become a princess before she grows old and become a grandmother!“

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