Logotipo del Inaem (Instituto de las Artes Escénicas y de la Música)
  • Home
  • Archive Nacho Duato Repertoire 90-11

Gavines i Dragons. Nacho Duato


Gavines i Dragons. Nacho Duato

    • Choreography: Nacho Duato
    • Music: María del Mar Bonet
    • Sets: Walter Nobbe (Arenal) Nacho Duato (Jardí Tancat)
    • Costumes: Nacho Duato
    • Light Design: Edward Effron (Arenal) Nicolás Fischtel (Jardí Tancat)
Arenal was World premiered by the Nederlands Dans Theater at the Muziektheater, Amsterdam, January 26th , 1988, and by Compañía Nacional de Danza at the Teatro Romea, Murcia, October  6th, 1990.
Jardí Tancat was World premiered by the Nederlands Dans Theater 2 in Hoorn, December, 19th, 1983, and by Compañía Nacional de Danza at Teatro Albéniz ,  Madrid, April 3rd, 1992
Gavines i Dragons was World premiered by Compañía Nacional de Danza at Festival de Vaison Le Romaine, July 16th, 1998.

Gavines i Dragons is the result of the union of two of the most emblematic ballets of Nacho Duato’s creative origins.

Nacho Duato explains how Bonet’s music was a great source of inspiration for his work, at a particular time. Firstly, with Jardí Tancat and, subsequently, after listening to Gavines i Dragons, with Arenal. Colour, choreography, movement, in brief; everything in both pieces is undeniably Mediterranean. 

Jardí Tancat, Duato’s first choreographic work, is choreographed based on work songs of both land and sea labourers, in which the voice recalls both the harshness of their work and their loves. Arenal is, according to its creator, an extension of Jardí Tancat but more vital and joyful and more faithful to the songs’ internal rhythms, without abandoning the world of common people and work”.

“I have always known that my songs were born with rhythm, but I only really became aware of it the day Nacho Duato danced to them. When I saw the first choreography, Jardí Tancat, I was quite excited. He had given them another life, they were independent and at the same time tied to me, yet they had acquired a new palpitation, they had taken a different road.

There is something in Arenal that has always fascinated me: the treatment of the Majorcan work songs which I sing a capella. These are songs which form part of our earliest Majorcan tradition, but which are no longer sung where they come from or what they were created for, that is the work in the fields. There are hardly any places in Majorca where work in the country is still the same as forty or fifty years ago. However, when Nacho used them for his choreographies he gave them back this role of unique pieces, as if they were precious stones.

While Jardí Tancat was so full of life, in Arenal I have been discovering an inner passion each time I sing with them. I will never tire of repeating that these choreographies of Nacho Duato have been one of the most precious artistic presents I have ever received. I believe they belong to that type of things which goes hand in hand with the most deeply felt emotions and it is hard to explain with words.

"Thank you, Nacho”

María del Mar Bonet

Gilded Golbergs. Nacho Duato


Gilded Golbergs. Dancers: Tereza Gonzaga and Isaac Montllor
  • Choreography: Nacho Duato
  • Music: Robin Holloway (for two pianos, based on Johann Sebastian Bach’s BWV 988; performed by Jennifer Micallef and Glen Inanga)
  • Sets and Costumes: Nacho Duato
  • Light Design: Brad Fields
  • Worldpremiere by Compañía Nacional de Danza at Teatro de la Zarzuela, Madrid, November 15th, 2006.
“Discovering Robin Holloway’s adaptation of the Goldberg Variations allowed me to get past what I had always considered as the untouchable character of Bach’s original. I finally managed to approach the written music, to work with it and thus create this performance. In any event, as I have made clear in this piece of work, adapting a masterpiece such as this might be taken as a synonym of murder, and yet it also could represent its rebirth. The work takes on a new life, a whole new dimension. What Holloway does so well is to show his courage by placing creative freedom above and beyond the burden of history”.
Duato uses Robin Holloway’s furiously paced music to create a creative, imaginative discourse, based on an astonishing sense of musicality and the elegant performance of the Compañía Nacional de Danza’s dancers.
Robin Holloway says of his version of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Goldberg Variations: “It seems both odd and foolish to take one of the acknowledged pinnacles of western music and recompose it. My excuses are, first, that Bach was himself an eager transcriber and transformer of other men’s music from wich he could learn; and second, that his own has been so very adaptation-friendly down the ages. There’s scarcely a subsequent composer who hasn’t imitated, arranged, orchestrated, parodied, or paid homage in one way or another. Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Wagner, Bruckner, Schumann, Liszt, Brahms, Shönberg, Webern, Elgar, Respighi, Stravinsky, Kurtag and so on – the list is endless.”
“My own Goldberg adventure actually began with comparably modest aims. Frustrated as a single pianist by inability to clarify the close - weave canons or manage the more fiendish hand - crossing numbers so idiomatic on a two-manual harpsichord. I began to transcribe a few for the domestic medium of two pianos”. For the following five years this project took upall his time, until, by the time he had finished, he had come upwith 30 completely new Goldberg Variations.
Born in Leamington Spa, on the 19th of October 1943, the British composer Robin Holloway, studied with Goehr (from 1960) and at Cambridge, where in 1974 he was named professor. His extensive output covers a wide range of genres (including numerous songs) and is characterised by a remarkable command of diverse styles. Some of his works seek to reinterpret Romanticism (Scenes from Schumann, for orchestra, 1970), whilst others are decidedly modernist in their approach (The Rivers of Hell for chamber ensemble, 1977). His first opera, Clarissa, a study of rape, was performed by the ENO in London in 1990.

Herrumbre. Nacho Duato


Herrumbre. Bailarina: Tereza Gonzaga
  • Choreography: Nacho Duato
  • Music: Pedro Alcalde / Sergio Caballero (Herrumbre);
  • David Darling (Dark Wood. A series of solos for electric cello) 
  • Sets: Jaffar Chalabi 
  • Costums: Nacho Duato
  • Lights Desig: Brad Fields
  • Worldpremiere by Compañía Nacional de Danza in Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona, August, 2nd 2004.
  • Ángel González
  • The iron that was the shaft, the steel
  • that formed the spindles,
  • the copper that conducted the energy
  • and all the metals
  • that under bitter, angled forms, 
  • gave body to the machine’s parts,
  • that turned
  • with exact rhythm and submissive temperament,
  • with blind force and faith no less blind
  • for the benefit of man, for his hope,
  • all lie here, confused, worn out,
  • sunk in the same scorn,
  • dissolved by rust and salt, abandoned
  • by the very hand that one day gave them life.
  • Something might still be salvaged, 
  • there is still the chance
  • that a second hand may come, and, taking pity,
  • heal the rusted wounds,
  • unfurl the kiss of oil
  • over chewed upsteel skin;
  • yet everything, in general, is lost.
  • The fire
  • will even out the cogs, the rods,
  • confuse the springs and pistons,
  • return the threadbare bolts
  • to their mineral inertia and nothingness,
  • to the raw material
  • from which
  • will spring forth other forms; cleaner, purer,
  • free perhaps forever
  • from the fatal stigma of scrap metal.When the Soul Turns to Rust. 


Our eyes today are used to seeing the shocking images of the horrors which humanity is faced with, be they in Iraq or Guantanamo, to give just two recent examples; images which, in the words of the Spanish writer Enrique Vila-Matas, are “as old as the long night of times past”, but which appear before us in the daily newspapers alongside tempting advertisements which invite us, as members of a consumer society, to further bury ourselves under yet more frivolous purchases and consumable leisure.

This horror has come to form a part of our normal day to day lives. On the 10th of December 1948, the General Assembly of the United Nations passed and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, thus establishing that freedom, justice and peace throughout the world are inherently based on the recognition of a series of equal and inalienable rights common to all. Conscious of the constant violation of this declaration as perpetrated by governments and leaders in the name of peace, religion, ambition or revenge, Nacho Duato has, through the medium of dance, felt the need to denounce such actions that only serve to heap shame upon humanity. “I was sick of seeing images on the television of all manner of violence and torture, and felt a growing need to translate all this terror into movement” explained Duato. “I find it repulsive to see how easily we have become accustomed to seeing such images of violence, which dominate our media to the extent that they show us upas being impassive and indifferent.” 

Nevertheless, Duato feels that his “choreography is not only about torture, but also deals with how human beings can sink to such denigrating extremes, losing all possible dignity... In this piece I compare man to rusting iron, the very soul itself becoming scrap metal. I would like to clearly state that under no circumstances can torture ever be justifiable. Not even to save the lives of other people”. Continuing in a similar vein, he went on to say “When I try to think about what it is that drives a man to torture another, I can’t come upwith an answer; for me it’s something incomprensible, it’s easier to come to terms with the idea of a brutal murder. Herrumbre is a reflective, not a dogmatic piece of work – I’m seeking here to provoke people into meditating upon the matter. This is a situation which is repeated on a daily basis all over the world, not something a million miles away”. 

According to Nacho Duato, in this production “the victim – tyrant relationship is expressed in a painful manner. Fear dominates the weakest element; uncertainty drives him insane as his torturer humiliates him, destroying him psychologically and physically. The whole choreography resembles a heartfelt shout; the dancers move alone in their own spaces, reflecting the loneliness of the victim, whilst at the same time I have used the chorus to express the idea of brutality. I have focused on the tortured prisoner and the prison guard; I’m not looking here at domestic violence or violence in the workplace - two areas that are currently receiving a lot of media attention and which constitute two other kinds of torture”. 

As is typical in Nacho Duato’s work, there is an intense interchange of ideas when creating a new choreographic production, resulting in a very close and dynamic relationship with his musicians and set designers. On this occasion, Duato has chosen one of his habitual collaborators, the Iraqi set designer Jaffar Chalabi to work with him on Herrumbre, with whom he has worked before on a number of productions.“We first worked together in 1999, on Multiplicidad. Formas de Silencio y Vacío, (“Multiplicity – The Shape of Silence and Emptiness”) with music by Bach, a spectacular piece from a set design point of view, as we managed to find a perfect blend of baroque and high-tech. Jaffar has also designed the sets for four other productions of mine - Ofrenda de sombras (“Shadow Offering”), Txalaparta, Castrati and White Darkness. We have a deep mutual understanding when we work together” explained Duato.

“With Herrumbre the choreographic vocabulary is dominated by the expressivity of gesture. Fear outlines the figures in the surrounding space, stylised like a scream which is drowned by oppression. For this piece I have chosen music by David Darling – a series of solos for electric cello taken from his album entitled Dark Wood. As the counterpoint to this music, dominated by its use of adagio, I commissioned a composition from Pedro Alcalde, with whom I have worked before on numerous occasions, and Sergio Caballero, the co-director of Barcelona’s Festival Sónar. I asked them for a score which would reflect the most brutal aspect of the subject in hand: the noise of metal on metal, of prisons, of people being hit and so on.”


CNDanza- Herrumbre Nacho Duato

Gnawa. Nacho Duato


Gnawa. Nacho Duato. Bailarina: Tereza Gonzaga
  • Choreography: Nacho Duato
  • Music: Hassan Hakmoun/Adam Rudolph (Gift of the Gnawa, “Ma’Bud Allah”); Juan Alberto Arteche and Javier Paxariño (Finis Africae, “Carauari”); Rabih Abou-Khalil, Velez, Kusur y Sarkissian (Nafas, “Window”)
  • Costumes: Luis Devota and Modesto Lomba
  • Lighting Design: Nicolás Fischtel (A.A.I.)
  • Premiere performance by the Hubbard Street Dance Chicago at the Joan W. and Irving B. Harris Theater for Music and Dance, March 2005. Premiered by the Compañía Nacional de Danza at the Euskalduna, Festival Dantzaldia, Bilbao, the 4th of November 2007.

In 1992 in his home city of Valencia, Nacho Duato premiered Mediterrania, searching deeper into his roots and those of his forebears, and his sense of complicity with the Mediterranean Sea.
In Gnawa, premiered by the Hubbard Street Dance Chicago in 2005, the renowned choreographer has continued along the path he set out on with Mediterrania, seeking to transmit, through the medium of movement, the sensuality of the landscape, the true nature of its peoples. With a suggestive musical score replete with Spanish and North African sounds, Gnawa captivates its audience through its all-encompassing power and its sensual elegance, combining the spirituality and organic rhythm of the Mediterranean.
Gnawa is the name that receives in Morocco and other parts of the Magreb the members of different mystic Muslim brotherhoods characterized by their sub-saharian origin and the use of song, dances and syncretic rituals as a mean to reach ecstasy. This term also refers to a musical style of sub-saharian reminiscences practised by these brotherhoods or by musicians inspired by them. It is considered one of the main Moroccan Folklore genres.

Hevel. Nacho Duato


Hevel. Nacho Duato. Bailarines: Tamako Akiyama y Joel Toledo
  • Choreography: Nacho Duato
  • Music: Pedro Alcalde / Sergio Caballero (original music)
  • Sets: Jaffar Chalabi 
  • Costume: Nacho Duato
  • Lighting design: Brad Fields
  • Premiere by the National Dance Company at the Sant Cugat Theatre-Auditorium (Barcelona), on 30 November 2007.

In the ancient Hebrew poetry, the word “hevel” formed part of the repertory of images which, like “water”, “shade” or “smoke” were used to describe fragility and the ephemeral nature of the human condition. Perhaps its most notable use is to be found at the beginning of the book of the Bible usually called Ecclesiastes (Qohelet I, 2). “Hevel” became embodied in the translation of the Vulgatate as “vanitas”, and thus “vanity”. Hevel Hevelym … hakol Hevel: Vanitas vanitatum, omnia vanitas. In modern translations of the text, we find such proposals as “vacuum”, “vapour” or even “waste” (Erri De Luca: “sprecco”). From the Hebrew tradition, the Ferrara Bible (1553) translates concisely: “void of voids, absolute nothing”. Likewise, Hevel (Abel) is the second son of Adam and Eve, murdered by his brother Cain. According to the biblical story, his was the first death of a human being. The meaning of the word is expressed symbolically but clearly in his name. 

It is in its use as vanitas, as void, lapse or emptiness, that “hevel” has its meaning here.



    • Auditions. Jardín Infinito. Nacho Duato

    • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Follow us in Twitter


    In compliance with current rules and regulations concerning personal data protection, we inform you that the personal data obtained by our forms constitute part of the documentation that falls under the responsibility of INAEM Compañía Nacional de Danza and are treated by that entity with the aim of managing communications between  COMPAÑÍA NACIONAL DE DANZA and you. 

    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Confirm Dates

    The programmes and dates appearing on this website are for general guidance only and may be subject to changes. Please make sure you confirm any programmed events with their respective venues, especially dates and times.

    Confirm Dates. Dancer, a part of her face is hidden by a hat



    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the prior permission of Compañía Nacional de Danza.

    • Project Coordination: Maite Villanueva (CND)
    • Texts: CND