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Win VandekeybusAfter having worked for two years with Jan Fabre, he created his own working structure Última Vez in 1987. His first performance What the Body Does Not Remember (1987) was soon being presented on international stages. In 1988, Wim Vandekeybus received the Bessie Award in New York for this production, which was credited “a brutal confrontation of dance and music: the dangerous, combative landscape of What the Body Does Not Remember.”

Vandekeybus then created Les porteuses de mauvaises nouvelles (1989), The Weight of a Hand (1990) and Immer das Selbe gelogen (1991). Her Body Doesn’t Fit her Soul followed in 1993. For this production Wim Vandekeybus collaborated with non-seeing dancers for the first time. The short film Elba and Federico, also directed by Wim Vandekeybus, was part of the performance. From this moment onwards film became a constant value in Vandekeybus’ work. 

A film - shot in Morocco - and short stories by Paul Bowles and Milorad Pavic, constituted the theme for Mountains Made of Barking (1994). Wim Vandekeybus later created, among others, Bereft of a Blissful Union (1996) -a large-scale piece which brought together on stage twelve dancers and twelve musicians, and incorporated film and acting sequences, 7 for a Secret never to be told (1997), In Spite of Wishing and Wanting (1999) -incorporating the short film The Last Wordsbased on two surrealist short-stories by Julio Cortázar-, and “Inasmuch as Life is borrowed...” (2000). For Scratching the Inner Fields (2001) Vandekeybus collaborated with the Flemish author Peter Verhelst, a collaboration that was continued for Blush (2002) and Sonic Boom, a co-production with the Dutch theatre company Toneelgroep Amsterdam (2003). PUUR (2005), a performance with texts by the Dutch author P.F. 

Thomése and incorporating film fragments, was presented in open-air at several occasions amongst which in the beautiful setting of de Quarry of Boulbon during the Festival d’Avignon. To celebrate the twentieth anniversary of his company Última Vez, Wim Vandekeybus created Spiegel (2006), a composed evening with remarkable scenes from the work of the company. Also in September 2006 premièred Nighshade, a project for which the production house Victoria invited seven icons of the contemporary performing arts – amongst whom Wim Vandekeybus - to choreograph a striptease act for a professional striptease dancer. In November 2006 premièred Quiebro, a guest choreography for Compañía Nacional de Danza in Madrid. Besides the short films and film & video fragments that are part of his performances, Vandekeybus has also directed several video adaptations of his dance productions: Roseland (1990), La Mentira (1992), In Spite of Wishing and Wanting (2002) and more recently Blush (2005). His short films as well as these dance films are also much acclaimed in the art and short film circuit.

Quiebro. Win Vandekeybus 2006

Quiebro Dancer: Susana Riazuelo
  • Choreography and Directed by: Wim Vandekeybus
  • Music: Charo Calvo and Marc Ribot
  • Set Design: Wim Vandekeybus
  • Lighting Design: Ralf Nonn, Wim Vandekeybus
  • Costumes: Isabelle Lhoas, with the collaboration of Frédéric Denis
  • Assistant Choreographers: Iñaki Azpillaga, Elena Fokina
  • Sound Design: Benjamín Dandoy
  • Assistant to Wim Vandekeybus: Greet Van Poeck
  • Worldpremiere by the Compañía Nacional de Danza in the Teatro de la Zarzuela, Madrid, 10th of November 2006.

On the stage we see a body gradually disintegrate before finally breaking down into its independent constituent elements. What would happen if these elements tried to live independently of one another, tried to create their own identity? Could they survive individually, without a greater unifying force or would they need a sense of community, a common goal, a common belief system? A soul perhaps?.

In Quiebro Wim Vandekeybus and thirteen dancers from the Compañía Nacional de Danza examine the notion of individuality versus community, with each of the dancers represents a physical and mental body. The piece explores subject areas and dichotomies such as mind and soul, anonymity and identity, life and death. To the music of New York guitarist Marc Ribot and the electro-acoustic composer Charo Calvo, Quiebro's challenge to us lies in the confrontation between the classical aesthetic language of the CND’s dancers and the physical vocabulary and theatrical inspiration of Wim Vandekeybus.

Since setting up his own dance company, Ultima Vez, based in Brussels, Wim Vandekeybus has created over twenty pieces with a similarly extensive international cast of dancers and musicians. As Vandekeybus did not have the benefit of formal dance training, his choreography tends to have its basis in his cinematographic imagination. The title is very often the starting point for one of his creations: “It's like I set everything moving. Invariably I pick a title which is open ended, like a circle that allows new elements to enter” (Vandekeybus in De Standaard, 22nd of April 2000). The dancers are chosen for their personality and what they bring with them, more than for their technical skills. Vandekeybus's work lies in an abstraction based on the various aspects his dancers bring to the piece and structured by the creative spirit that is fostered by their improvisation.

“My productions are like deserts which the dancers have to cross. Without rest, without refuelling. Return is not an option as it would take just as long to get back as to continue.”

Wim Vandekeybus in De Morgen 28th of September 2006.
Costumes made by: Company Wardrobe
made by: José Luis Alonso Fernández



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