The Baroque in Jiří Kylián

  • Katja Vaghi

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    Some of Jiří Kylián’s later works reveal a distinct detectable baroque influence. They also manifest a baroque quality that resists precise explanation. This partly derives from extensive references to the baroque style and period. However, not all references are the same, and some are more easily recognisable than others. Costumes, music and props openly reference the Baroque, whereas less obvious allusions can be found in lighting design or in the way a performance ‘addresses’ the audience. This thesis thus sets out to offer a terminology to describe these phenomena and provide a framework for analysing Kylián’s reworking of baroque sources. The analysis first addresses what is understood by ‘baroque’, then moves to describe various referencing practices, before applying the newly found framework to three of Kylián’s works that take the Baroque as a source of inspiration.

    Central to my discussion of the Baroque and its contemporary reappearance is the work of cultural theorists and art critics Omar Calabrese and Mieke Bal. Particularly important to my argument is Bal’s emphasis on the tendency in baroque art to involve the viewer’s physical presence in the experience of art. My discussion of referencing is, on the other hand, centred on ideas developed by the literary theorists Gérard Genette, Andreas Böhn, Irina Rajewski and Werner Wolf. Genette’s intertextual model is expanded to include a more precise understanding of the nature of quotation as developed by Böhn. The plurimedial nature of dance, or the co-presence in dance of more than one medium, is addressed by introducing Rajewski’s and Wolf’s notion of Intermediality. As well as analysing how referencing functions in dance and how it participates in meaning-making, this thesis also highlights the evolution of Kylián’s referencing practice over time and explains the function of the Baroque in Kylián’s oeuvre.
    Date of Award5 May 2016
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Roehampton
    SupervisorGeraldine Morris (Supervisor) & Anna Pakes (Supervisor)

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