Dreamtime It was in 1980, when Toru Takemitsu, the acclaimed Japanese composer and myself met for the first time. It was on the “Groote Eylandt” in the “Northern Territory” of Australia. I have invited him to come there in order to experience the biggest gathering of aboriginal dancers, musicians, singers, storytellers and masters of ceremony ever held. The organization of such a meeting was my brainchild and my deepest wish, which I have carried inside me for a very long time…. In one of the few quiet moments in this festival, Takemitsu discussed with me his rather poetic idea which he often applied while working on his musical compositions. (This information might be helpful for the understanding and appreciation of his music.) He told me that his way of composing was like walking in a small ‘’japanese garden: ”…. This garden might not be very large, but very deep and very high….! In that garden is perhaps a fragile Japanese tree, but what is hidden from your sight, are its complex and powerful roots which spread under a large area. You see a stone….but it is not clear if is it the top of a huge underground mountain or just a pebble….” His message was clear: what you see is only a part of what there is. And the visible cannot exist without the invisible - the same way our own personalities are formed. With Dreamtime we have created a work in which the invisible is just as important as what we are able to see – it might be so, that after seeing this ballet you are not so sure if you have engaged in a stage presentation, or if you just dreamed for a while. In dreams, people and things around us appear and disappear, seemingly without any sense or meaning and everything in a dream might even happen just one second before the alarm goes off to wake us up…. Dreamtime is about feelings that are very precise but cannot be expressed as such. They evaporate and others take their place. The result of our trip to the Northern Territory of Australia, where Takemitsu and myself have studied the dances and rituals of the aboriginal people - ”Dreamtime” - has seemingly nothing to do with the Aboriginal Culture, but it would have not been impossible to make this work without that experience. In fact anything I have made ever since is marked by it.
For the Aboriginals, “Dreaming” does not have the same meaning as it has for “us”. We “daydream” or fall into our beds at night, sleep, dream, wake up, and sometimes remember our dreams. Occasionally our dreams might be analyzed, and our “psychological knots might be revealed. This has nothing to do with the concept of “Dreaming” of the Australian aboriginals. Their life and everything they do, is an eternal, continuous flow of “Dreaming”, which goes back to their ancestors and all the way back to their origin - to the beginning of the “Creation” itself…. All this is directed and maintained by many complicated rituals in which dance plays an essential and inevitable role. The importance of Dance within the Aboriginal Society is striking. While being there, I couldn’t resist asking an old man a very naive question: “Why is dance so important to you?” The answer was equally simple, but shattering: “It is because I have learned it from my father and because I have to teach it to my son….” It was a lucky coincidence, that Takemitsu and myself have met on this barren place called “Groote Eylandt” in the north of Australia at that time. Takemitsu was then very preoccupied by the phenomenon of sleep, dreams and sub consciousness. His interest in this darker and still rather unexplored side of our being, happened to be of vital importance for our colla- boration and had a great influence on Takemitsu’s creation of “Dreamtime”. The sound-scape of his composition has nothing to do with the music he heard in Australia, neither my choreography carries any trace of the Aboriginal dance vocabulary, and yet “Dreamtime” could have never been created without our experiences in 1980 - over there on the other side of the globe. Jiří Kylián