Dance: And Now, the Netherlanders

In this troupe, the choreographer is the star

Soldiers dropping one by one to the ground, doubled over in the agony of death. Men lifting a feather-light ballerina and unexpectedly groaning under the strain. A trio dancing to a mournful Sardinian folk song in the eerie darkness of an eclipsed moon. These are some of the images—tragic, comic, passionate—from the rich choreographic imagination of Jiri Kylian, a poet of many moods who works with movement instead of words.

In his three years as director, the Czech-born Kylian, 34, has made the Netherlands Dance Theater one of the most inventive and physically exciting companies...

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