Music by John Cage (Sonatas Nos. 5, 3, 11 and 16; Interludes Nos. 1 and 2) and Anton Webern (Six Bagatelles for String Quartet Op.9)
Choreographed by Jiří Kylián
Assistant to Mr. Kylián: Hans Knill
Scenery and lighting by Michael Simon
Executed by Joop Caboort
Costumes by Joke Visser
World Premiere: Stuttgart Ballet, 11/23/91
Original Cast: Tamako Akiyama, Catherine Batcheller, Sue Jin Kang, Marion Jager, Wolfgang Stollwitzer, Friedjof Gensel, Benito Marcelino, and Tamas Detrich
ABT Premiere: Metropolitan Opera House, New York, 6/7/96
Cast: Christine Dunham, Susan Jaffe, Paloma Herrera, julie Kent, Griff Braun, Guillaume Graffin, Jose Manuel Carreno, and Wes Chapman
The following are notes by Jiří Kylián:
During the Summer of 1980, I had the chance to observe one of the largest tribal reunions of dancers and musicians of the Australian Aborigines. I was deeply impressed by the central role which dance seemed to play in their lives. My curiosity made me ask an old man for the reason. His clear and simple reply: "Because my father taught me and because I must hand my dance on to my son."
As a matter of course this man saw his dance as an important link in the- endless chain of evolution. And, as such, he considered himself responsible to pass his heritage on to preserve his culture.
There is a line in my work which has -- since then -- been reflecting on this view of existence. Be it the culture of the Australian Aborigine or rhythms, rituals, objects of art casting a light on the origin of any particular culture -- my point of interest is the same: It is the traces old civilizations have left, traditions that show the way from out of a living past. And, while academic research is focused on structures of reason, the world of intuition and subconscious currents -- imminent in dance -- has a chance to penetrate and discover a different -- however tiny -- path leading from each individual's origin into a common future.
Stepping Stones stands in the line of those choreographic studies which attempt a personal flash vision on a subject as vast as the common heritage of mankind. My excuse for this perhaps futile effort may be verbalized as simple as the reasoning of the old man.