The traditional ballet company is composed like the romantic picture of the extended family. Eager youngsters cluster at the feet of adults at the peak of their powers who in turn are advised and guided by the wise old heads of the mature talent. Whole ballets are constructed with all the generations in mind - virtuoso solos for the young legs, big dramatic pas de deux for the stars and key cameos to showcase the mimetic talents of the oldies.
Or you can do things Jiri Kylian's way and divide your large company into three units with diverse repertoires and touring schedules. The main company, Nederlands Dans Theater, has two offshoots: NDT2 for the young, elastic bodies of the amazing crop of 17 to 22-year-olds, and NDT3, a rigorous rest-home for an impressive clutch of dancers in their 40s and 50s.
The venture is made possible by the prolific creativity of Kylian and by the boundless energy and commitment of his dancers (and his able deputies). Some artistic directors have enough trouble handling one company.
Last year, Kylian took the main troupe to the Edinburgh Festival and this year it is the turn of the mature talent. NDT3 are at the Playhouse next week with a programme of short works by Kylian himself entitled Tears of Laughter. The mixed bill comprises Trompe L'oeil, Double You, If Only..., Compass and No Sleep Till Dawn of Day, a fascinating work featuring 18 hardwood chairs which are used variously as a practice barre, a shelter and a barrier. On past form, it should be a hugely enjoyable and hugely encouraging evening - nice to know that there is life after 40.
NDT3 are always a pleasure to watch but if they fill the barn that is the Edinburgh Playhouse, I will eat their leotards. Meanwhile, at a more modest venue, the highly regarded Hungarian dancer and choreographer Yvette Bozsik presents her distillation of the life of the German expressionist choreographer, Hommage a Mary Wigman, at Edinburgh's Famous Grouse every afternoon at 3.15 until 30 August. The Wigman piece forms a double bill with Bozsik's The Wedding. Bozsik won the Edinburgh International Critics Award in 1993.
Her Hungarian career took off in the mid 1980s when she conceived and performed Living Space in which she gradually starved herself of oxygen in a small perspex box. It was a nasty job, but someone had to do it.Reuse content