The Stuttgart Ballet blog

May 17th 1975: Premiere Return To A Strange Land

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ON THIS DAY 45 years ago Jiří Kylián’s final version of Return To A Strange Land was premiered. A year earlier, the Czech choreographer, who was at that time a dancer of the Stuttgart Ballet, had created a first version dedicated to John Cranko, who had died in 1973. Expanded in 1975, the four-part piece dealt with the transition from one state of being to another. “The material that bodies are made of exists unconsciously in the hereafter. Life is consciousness. Dying is a return to a strange land – the country of origin”, said the choreographer. Though made for a cast of six, there were only three dancers on stage at a time. At the premiere Birgit Keil, Lucia Isenring, Heinz Clauss, Vladimir Klos, Christian Fallanga and William Forsythe circled around each other to Leoš Janáček’s music. Like the whole Stuttgart Ballet, Jiří Kylián stood at a turning point after John Cranko’s death. In 1975, the year that Return To A Strange Land premiered, he was engaged by the Nederlands Dans Theater and went on to lead the company to world fame through his vision and choreography.

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