Five Things About Petite Mort
November 15, 2019


1. Petite Mort premiered at the Salzburg Festival in 1991 on the second centenary of Mozart’s death. Jiří Kylián created it for Nederlands Dans Theater, where he served as Artistic Director from 1976 to 1999, and it has been a favourite for artists and audiences ever since.
2. Petite Mort is set to the slow movements from two of Mozart’s most beautiful piano concertos, Nos. 21 and 23. They are of a different quality to some of the more exuberant choreography and for this reason they emphasize the ballet’s physicality.
3. The dual reference to sex and death in the phrase “little death” – a euphemism for orgasm – appears frequently throughout literary history, from Chaucer to Shakespeare, the Romantic poets and beyond.
4. Costume Designer Joke Visser created elaborate black gowns for Petite Mort that assume lives of their own. Visser is head of the costume department at Nederlands Dans Theater and, since 1989, has designed almost all of the costumes for Kylián’s ballets.
5. Artistic Director Karen Kain worked with Jiří Kylián while she was a dancer with The National Ballet of Canada. He first visited the company in 1988 to set Forgotten Land, followed by Dream Dances in 1989 and Soldiers’ Mass in 1995

Etudes Piano Concerto #1 & Petite Mort is onstage November 27 –  December 1, 2019.



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