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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.

White Darkness. Nacho Duato


White Darkness de Nacho Duato. Escenografía: Jaffar Chalabi
  • Choreography: Nacho Duato
  • Music: Karl Jenkins (Adiemus Variations, String Quartet nº 2)
  • 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

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.

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

Synaphai. Nacho Duato


Synaphai. Nacho Duato. Bailarina: Catherine Allard
  • Choreography: Nacho Duato 
  • Music: Iannis Xenakis (Synaphai, concerto for piano and orchestra) Vangelis (Heaven and Hell) 
  • Sets and costumes: Walter Nobbe 
  • Light Design: Edward Effron
  • Worldpremiered by the Nederlands Dans Theater at the Circustheater, Scheveningen, January 16, 1986.
  • Premiered by the Compañía Nacional de Danza at the Lensoviet Palace Theatre, Leningrad, November 22, 1990.
  • Synaphai, a concerto for piano and orchestra composed by Iannis Xenakis, motivated Nacho Duato to express in this ballet the central choreographic idea in a plastic manner. It has been Duato's intention to highlight human feelings from an essentially individual point of view. The ballet is structured in three parts: In the first one, a groupof eight dancers move in one block, under a strange confusion of voices, narrating in seven different languages but in unison a text written by Duato himself, concerning survival, death, loneliness. The movements, with their hieratic touches, remind us of the Egyptian funerary monuments. Xenakis' music is heard in the second part, when the set of dancers breaks upand a series of solos, duos, and trios are performed, full of abrupt and desperate movements. 

    The dancers feel a continuous attraction to the ground, as if it were a force taking hold of them. They try to break free, fighting without success against the wall. In the third part, a pas de deux on music composed by Vangelis opens upan encouraging road. It's the calm that follows the storm. Nacho Duato did not pretend to present us with a final solution to the human strain and anguish; only an individual answer could lead us to a conclusion.


  • Por Vos Muero. Nacho Duato


    • 26, 27 & 28 July, 2019
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  • Audiciones. Don Quixote. Pas de Deux

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