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Tabulae. Nacho Duato


Tabulae by Nacho Duato. Dancer: Luisa María Arias
  • Choreography: Nacho Duato 
  • Music: Alberto Iglesias 
  • Costumes: Nacho Duato, in collaboration with  Ismael Aznar 
  • Sets: Nacho Duato 
  • Light Design: Nicolás Fischtel
  • World premiered by Compañía Nacional de Danza at Teatro Madrid, on April 14th, 1994 

  • “There were ghosts that returned to earth to hear his phrases / As he sat there reading, aloud, the great blue tabulae /They were those from the wilderness of stars that had expected more /“There it was, word for word, / The poem that took the place of a mountain” Wallace Stevens, Collected Poems 

  • Although these poetic fragments were a starting point for this new ballet, something that inspired a mutual sentiment it also held true in our earlier collaboration Cautiva, which had left us hanging from that very point that allows us to name some concepts with the same name. Those points of clarity sketched the double nature of the first note and its evaporation in the movement. Later on, we took care of the mysterious play of alternations, which fix the poetic both in dance and in music. And so, from that moment on, each one invented his own way, and whilst one said ’to impulse’ the other  said ’to increase’; and if one said ’rotate’ the other would rather say ’hang from a point’. And in this way, the senses could be so crossed that in a board of equivalences ’to open’ would be ’to forget’, ’to close’ is ’to repeat’and ’nothing’ is ’nothing’. ’Obsession’ is ’obsession’ and ’fountain of silk’ is ’something which cannot be seen, but which achieves a command’. Those and others have been our terms. They remain hidden/submerged, in the same way that the city forgets its building and offers its streets or corners as though they had been built long ago.

  • Nacho Duato and Alberto Iglesias

Txalaparta. Nacho Duato


Txalaparta. Nacho Duato
  • Choreography: Nacho Duato
  • Music: Kepa Junkera y Oreka TX
  • Costumes: Nacho Duato
  • Sets: Jaffar Al Chalabi 
  • Lighting Design: Nicolás Fischtel (A.A.I.)
  • Length: 27’ 50”
  • World premiere by  the Nederlands Dans Theater at the Muziektheatre, Amsterdam, January 26th, 1988. Premiere by the Compañía  Nacional de Danza at the Teatro Romea, Murcia, October 6th, 1990.

Arenalis choreography by Nacho Duato, inspired by songs of María del Mar Bonet. In this ballet, the choreographer’s purpose has been to show the uninhibited cheerfulness of the Mediterranean personality contrasting with the everyday struggle of life. Duato makes this contrast very obvious. On the one hand, there is the dancing of a group of men and women motivated by the pure joyfulness of music. Its jubilation is reflected in the clear movements of the dancers -pas de deux, pas de trois, pas de quatre- to Greek songs translated into Catalonian and Majorcan ones by María del Mar Bonet.
On the other hand, one woman dancer stands apart, dancing alone to four songs which are performed a capella. These songs are of a realistic content and seem to arise from an agonizing outcry of the heart. The dancer’s movements are nearer to the ground than those of the others. This is to express the influence of the land. Colour, choreography, movement, everything is undeniably Mediterranean.
Nacho Duato had worked before with María del Mar Bonet in another ballet: Jardí Tancat. “Her music constitutes an important source of inspiration for my work”, says the choreographer. “Later, while I was listening to her record Gavines i Dragons, the idea of Arenal immediately occurred to me. At once, I began to consider the possibility of María del Mar Bonet joining us to give a live performance of her songs”. Duato sees Arenal as an extension of his first work, Jardí Tancat, “though it is more vital, livelier, and more faithful to the inner rhythm of the songs themselves, without abandoning the worlds of people and of work”.                                                      
I have always known that my songs were born with rhythm, but I only became really aware of it the day Nacho Duato danced to them. When I saw the first choreography,Jardí Tancat, I was really excited. He had given them another life. They were independent, and at the same time, still mine. 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 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 the songs  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  are one of the most precious artistic gifts I have ever received. I believe they belong to that type of thing which goes hand in hand with the most deeply felt emotions and is hard to explain in words.
Thank you, Nacho.

White Darkness. Nacho Duato


White Darkness de Nacho Duato. Escenografía: Jaffar Chalabi
  • Choreography: Nacho Duato
  • Music: Karl Jenkins (Adiemus Variations, String Quartet nº 2)
  • Original music editor: Boosey and Hawkes Music Publishing, London.
  • Sets: Jaffar Chalabi
  • Costumes: Lourdes Frías
  • Light Design: Joop Caboort
  • World premiered by Compañía Nacional de Danza at Teatro de la Zarzuela in Madrid, November 16th, 2001.

Nacho Duato’s work for the Compañía Nacional de Danza follows his creative development of the last years. The choreographer researches choreographic formulae through the movement and starting from a deep musical knowledge. These choreographic formulae enlarge his vocabulary departing always from his dancers’ potential expressiveness.

Karl Jenkins: born in 1944, of a Welsh mother and Swedish father. At the age of six he started his piano studies encouraged by his father, a chorus director and organist. Later, at the age of eleven, he started to play the oboe and to work at the National Youth Orchestra of Wales. He also studied composition at University of Wales at Cardiff, finishing his training in the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he specialized in playing the saxophone. He received awards for his oboe interpretations for jazz and as a multi-instrumentalist. Jenkins worked, amongst others, with Ronnie Scott and created Nucleus, winning the first prize of Montreal Jazz Festival, in 1972. Later, he joined Soft Machine. This group of the seventies’ played a wide range of styles (jazz, classic, rock and even minimalism). In April 1995, Jenkins published Adiemus – Songs of Sanctuary, an extensive work composed for voice, percussion and string, which was an unprecedented success in Europe and Japan.

Compañía Nacional de Danza, White Darkness

Without Words. Nacho Duato


Without Word de Nacho Duato
  • Choreography: Nacho Duato
  • Music: Franz Schubert 
  • Sets and Costumes: Nacho Duato 
  • Light Design: Brad Fields (based on the original idea of Nacho Duato)
  • Premiered by American Ballet Theater at City Center in New York, October 29th, 1998. Premiered by Compañía Nacional de Danza at Teatro Arriaga in Bilbao, December 9th, 1998.

Without Words is Nacho Duato’s second work for the prestigious American Ballet Theater company. The title refers to Schubert’s songs scores, which are instrumental music, music without words. Mischa Malsky transcribed for cello the composition’s voices in a recording in which the pianist Daria Hovora also participated. As in the songs, the choreographer strips the dancing of any evident romantic atmosphere. Love and death appear as the central subjects derived from the music, but through Duato the work is presented with a contemporary contribution to the 19th century's obsession, so present in Schubert’s creations. A new world, with all its possibilities, is revealed in a dark existential scenographic space typical of the 20th century. Duato shows a universal vital cycle in all its spontaneity, free of unnecessary alignments and ornaments.


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Born in Valencia/Spain, Nacho Duato began his professional dance education at the age of 18 at the Rambert School in London. He continued his studies at the Mudra School of Maurice Béjart and eventually completed his education at the Ailey American Dance Center in New York.

In 1980, Nacho Duato signed his first contract at the Cullberg Ballet in Stockholm. A year later, Jiří Kylián hired him for the Nederlands Dans Theter in Den Haag. For his achievements as a dancer, Nacho Duato was awarded the “VSCD Gouden Dansprijs” in 1987. His talent soon led Nacho Duato beyond being a dancer to devote himself to choreography, too. His first choreography for the Nederlands Dans Theater in 1983, “Jardí Tancat,” featuring Spanish-Catalonian music by Maria del Mar Bonet became a highly praised success and earned him the 1st prize of the International Choreographic Competition in Cologne.

In 1986, Nacho Duato was appointed house choreographer of the Nederlands Dans Theater together with Hans van Manen and Jiří Kylián. During his tenure, he created more than a dozen choreographies including “Danza y Ritmo“ (Carlos Chávez), “Ucelli“ (Ottorino Respighi), “Synaphai“ (Iannis Xenakis/ Germanos Vangelis), “Boléro“ (Maurice Ravel), “Arenal“ (Maria del Mar Bonet), “Chansons Madécasses“ (Maurice Ravel), “Raptus“ (to Richard Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder), “Dreams of Ether“ (Marcel Landowsky), “Lament“ (Henryk Górecki). For most of his productions he collaborated with stage designer Walter Nobbe.

In 1990, the Culture Ministry in Madrid invited Nacho Duato to return to Spain and offered him the leadership of the Compañía Nacional de Danza. There, he formed a large œuvre and gained worldwide recognition with his ensemble. During his 20 years with the Compañía, he created more than 30 productions for its repertory, among others: “Cor perdut“ (Mar del Mar Bonet, 1989), “Concierto Madrigal“ (Joaquín Rodrigo, 1990), “Opus piat“ (Ludwig von Beethoven, 1990), “Rassemblement“ (Toto Bissainthe, 1990), “Na Floresta“ (Heitor Villa-Lobos/ Wagner Tisso, 1990), “Kaburias“ (Leo Brouwer, 1991), “Duende“ (Claude Debussy, 1991), “Empty“ (Musikcollage, 1991), “Coming together“ (Frederic A. Rzewski, 1991), “Mediterrania“ (Musikcollage, 1992), “Cautiva“ (Alberto Iglesias, 1993), “Alone, for a second“ (Erik Satie, 1994), “Tabulae“ (Alberto Iglesias, 1995), “Ecos“ (Stephan Micus, 1994), “Cero sobre cero“ (Alberto Iglesias, 1995), “Por vos muero“ (Musik des 16. Jahrhunderts, 1996), “Self“ (Alberto Iglesias, 1997), “Ofrenda de sombras“ (Musik des 16. Jahrhunderts, 2000), „Arcangelo“ (Arcangelo Corelli u.a., 2000), „White Darkness“ (Karl Jenkins, 2001), “Txalaparta“ (Kepa Junkera, 2001), “Castrati“ (Antonio Vivaldi/Karl Jenkins, 2002), “L’ Homme“ (G György Kurtág, 2003), “Herrumbre“ (Pedro Alcalde/Segio Caballero, 2004), “Diecisiete“ (Pedro Alcalde/ Segio Caballero, 2005), “Hevel“ (Pedro Alcalde/Sergio Caballero, 2007), “O domina nostra“ (Henryk Górecki, 2008) and “Cobalto“ (Pedro Alcalde/Sergio Caballero, 2009).

During his time at the Compañía Nacional de Danza, Nacho Duato also worked for other companies. In 1992, he created “Duende” for the Nederlands Dans Theater featuring music by Claude Debussy. At the American Ballet Theatre, he created “Remanso” featuring music by Enrique Granados in 1997 and “Without Words“ (Franz Schubert) in 1998. In the same year, he choreographed “Romeo and Juliet“ (Sergei Prokofiev), his first full-length ballet. “Multiplicity. Forms of Silence and Emptiness“ (Johann S. Bach, 2000), “Alas“ (2006), “Infinite Garden“ (2010) succeeded. In Berlin, Nacho Duato adapted “Duende“ for the Deutsche Oper Berlin in 1995, “Without Words“ for the Ballert of Staatsoper Unter den Linden in 2002, and “Arcangelo“ with the Staatsballett Berlin in 2012.

One year after his 20th anniversary at the Compañía Nacional de Danza, Duato left Spain and was appointed Artistic Director of the Mikhailovsky Theatre in St. Petersburg on January 1st2011. There, he staged two world premieres in 2011, “Nunc Dimittis“ and “Invisible“, and developed his own versions of “Sleeping Beauty”, “Romeo and Juliet” and “The Nutcracker”.

In 2014, he created “DepakIne“ for the Martha Graham Dance Company. By now, his work is included in the repertories of the most important ballet companies worldwide, including the Ballet de l’Opéra National de Paris, the Cullberg Ballet, the Nederlands Dans Theater, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, the Australian Ballet, the Stuttgarter Ballett, the Ballet Gulbenkian, the Finnish Opera Ballet, the San Francisco Ballet, the Royal Ballet Covent Garden, the Bolshoi Ballett, the Boston Ballet, the Royal Danish Ballet, the Royal Swedish Ballet, the American Ballet Theatre, the Staatsballett Berlin, and the Ballet of the Mikhailovsky Theatre St. Petersburg.

Nacho Duato received multiple awards as a choreographer: “Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres” from the French embassy in Spain in 1995, the gold medal for Fine Arts from the Spanish government in 1998, “Benois de la danse” for his choreography “Multiplicity. Forms of Silence and Emptiness“ in 2000, and “Premio Nacional de Danza” for choreography in 2003. Furthermore, the Spanish Department of Foreign Affairs awarded him the “Medalla al Merito Civil”. In 2015, he received the prize of the city of Alcalá for arts and literature. In 2016, he became honorary citizen of his home town Valencia.

Since 2014 to 2018, Nacho Duato became Artistic Director of the Staatsballett Berlin. After staging his choreographies “Sleeping Beauty”, “Multiplicity. Forms of Silence and Emptiness”, “White Darkness”, “Herrumbre”, “Castrati”, “The Nutcracker” and the new pieces called “Static Time” and “Erde”.



    • Auditions. Jardín Infinito. Nacho Duato

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