Universal Ballet

Petite Mort

Universal Ballet Premiere Universal Arts Center on June 9, 2011
Libretto Technical Adaptation(Light/set) Kees Tjebbes
Choreography Jiří Kylián
Music Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart : Piano Concerto in A Major (KV 488), Adagio│Piano Concerto in C Major (KV 467), Andante
Staging Roslyn Anderson, Urtzi Aranburu
Set Design Jiří Kylián
Costume Design Joke Visser
Lighting Design Joop Caboort
Running Time 25 minutes

Six men, six women, and six fencing foils -aggression, sexuality, energy, silence, cultivated senselessness, and vulnerability.

Jiří Kylián created this ballet especially for the Salzburg Festival on the second centenary of Mozart’s death. He describes his reasons for choosing the slow parts of two of Mozart’s most beautiful and popular piano concertos. “This deliberate choice should not be seen as a provocation or thoughtlessness - rather as my way to acknowledge the fact that I am living and working as part of a world where nothing is sacred, where brutality and arbitrariness are common places. It should convey the idea of two antique torsos, heads and limbs cut off - evidence of intended mutilation - without being able to destroy their beauty reflecting the spiritual power of their creator.” 

The choreography includes six men, six women, and six fencing foils. The foils sometimes function as actual dance partners, and at times seem more unruly and obstinate than a partner of flesh and blood. 

They represent a symbolism which is more present than a story line. Aggression, sexuality, energy, silence, cultivated senselessness, and vulnerability - they all play a significant part. Petite Mort, literally meaning ‘small death’, serves as a paraphrase for orgasm in French and Arabic.