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CND2 - Arenal. Nacho Duato


  • Dancer partnerChoreography: Nacho Duato
  • Music: María del Mar Bonet (Tonada de Segar, Carta a L'Exili, Tonada de Collir Olives, danza de la Primavera, Cançó de Bressol, Des de Mallorca a L'Alguer, Den Itan Nisi, Tonada de Segar.
  • Sets: Walter Nobbe
  • Costumes: Nacho Duato Lighting Design: Edward Effron
  • World premiere by the Nederlands Dans Theater at the Muziektheatre, Amsterdam on January 26, 1988. Premiere by the Compañía Nacional de Danza 2 at Teatro El Bosque in Móstoles, Spain, on February 7, 2004.

Arenal was choreographed by Nacho Duato, inspired by the songs of María del Mar Bonet. In this ballet, the choreographer’s purpose is to show the uninhibited cheerfulness of the Mediterranean personality contrasting with the everyday struggle of life.

Duato makes this contrast very obvious. On one hand, there is the dancing of a group of men and women motivated by the pure joy 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 female dancer stands apart, dancing alone to four songs which are performed a capella. These songs are 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 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. “It is more vital, more lively, more faithful to the inner rhythm of the songs themselves, without abandoning the worlds of people and of work”.

CND2 - Coming Together. Nacho Duato


Coming Together. Dancer: Catherine Allard
  • Choreography: Nacho Duato
  • Music: Frederic Rzewski (Coming Together)
  • Sets and Costumes: Nacho Duato
  • Light Design: Nicolás Fischtel
  • World premiere by Compañía Nacional de Danza at Teatro de la Zarzuela, Madrid, December 23th, 1991.

The turbulent repetition of musical structures and recited text from Frederic Rzewski’s frantic composition provides the accompaniment and counterpoint to an abstract work by Nacho Duato, who uses his effervescence both to bring us closer to frenzy and hysterics, and as a contrast in his creation of oniric atmospheres. Both phenomena appear alternately as well as simultaneously as could happen with the rhythms and sensations of a big city.

The result, of an obvious contemporary style, forces the spectator to focus his attention on the multiple changes of the choreographic process as well as on the system and structure of steps, rather than on the ordinary descriptive and narrative elements.

Frederic Rzewski’s piece entitled Coming Together and Attica, written for narrator and instruments, to be performed ad libitum in two parts, is of crucial importance in the history of repetitive music and not only because of its obvious influence on later pieces. Here the repetitive techniques and structuring are not an end in themselves, but the means of creating a coherent musical, dramatic world. While this piece, just like Rzewski’s other works, makes use of improvisation and repetition, it is also a committed work both in the social and the political sense. Rzewski managed to combine the political, ideological meaning of the text and the musical structure into a homogeneous whole by means of an original “minimal” idea.

The eight sentences from a letter by Sam Melville (a political prisoner killed in the 1971 Attica prison riots) are first narrated in an additive then in a deductive progression. The title of the piece is a reference to a sentence of the letter and to the technique of musical improvisation.

CND2 - Cor Perdut. Nacho Duato


Cor Perdut. Bailarines: Nacho Duato y Catherine Allard
  • Choreography: Nacho Duato
  • Music: María del Mar Bonet
  • Costumes and Light Design: Nacho Duato
  • World premiered by the Nederlands Dans Theater at the Nederlands Dans Theater, The Hague, April 27th, 1989. Premiered by Compañía Nacional de Danza at the Centro Cultural de la Villa, Madrid, June 30th, 1990.

Cor perdut is a pas de deux inspired by the Catalan version of the song Bir Demet Ysemen by Mª del Mar Bonet. This particular interpretation is based upon a theme with traditional nuances composed by the Armenian M.J. Berberian. “It's no use crying/it’s no use dying/desire is stronger/it goes its own way”, laments the impressive voice of Mª del Mar Bonet. Her hypnotic power over Duato - who created Cor Perdut as a birthday present for the Majorcan singer - is unquestionable, considering that two of the Valencian’s most brilliant choreographies are Jardí Tancat (1983) and Arenal (1988), both to music by this interpreter. To the syncopatic and hypnotic rhythm of the Tunisian percussion instrument, the two dancers bring to life this choreographer’s dynamic corporal and expressive language with the same anxious fluency transmitted by the voice of Mª del Mar Bonet.

Patricia García Ríos

CND2 - Duende. Nacho Duato


Duende. Pareja de danza en escena
  • Choreography: Nacho Duato
  • Music: Claude Debussy : Pastoral, first part from the Sonata for flute, viola and harp (1916). Syrinx, solo for flute (1912/1913). Final, last part from the Sonata for flute, viola and harp (1916). Danse sacrée et danse profane for harp and string orchestra (1904).
  • Sets: Walter Nobbe
  • Costumes: Susan Unger
  • Lighting Design: Nicolás Fischtel
  • World premiere by the Nederlands Dans Theater at the AT&T Danstheater, The Hague, November 21st, 1991.Premiere by Compañía Nacional de Danza at the Teatro Lírico Nacional La Zarzuela, December 11th, 1992.

Duato's ‘ideas' for choreography are almost always preceded by his choice of music, which characterises his working method. Maybe this applies to Duende in particular, because the music was the only source of inspiration for this ballet. Long ago, Duato fell in love with Debussy, especially with the way the composer makes nature sound in music. When he listens to this music, Duato visualises shapes, not people, relationships or events. This is why he considers Duende as an almost sculptural work: a body, a movement, that goes with the tune.

Duende literally means elf or fairy, like the ones who tidy upchildren's toys at night, but it can also mean rascal, a naughty child. One can also possess ‘duende’, when radiating energy and great charm, almost having a magical attraction. In Andalusia flamenco is said to have duende, which can hardly be translated into another language. Flamenco has a touch of spell, one might say, like the way black music has 'soul'.

At the beginning of the twentieth century Debussy was an unknown composer, and the public was suddenly listening to absolutely different sounds. Strange, beautiful and magical, as they must have been, these sounds have identified his complex cultural roots. Debussy’s music reveals classical and romantic origins, apart from connections with lay music, folk songs, Arab, eastern and slave cultures, and even with jazz.

Classicism may simply be explained as consecrated to form. In this sense, Romanticism is usually defined as the expression of emotions. However, the relationship between Debussy and these two concepts is not always so simple. Form and emotion are always present in his music, but more as the result of a process of insinuation than one of definition. In one of his rules for composers, Debussy wrote: “Discipline must be looked for in freedom”. This could be considered his first command.

Debussy is frequently identified with the impressionist artistic movement: but whereas painters like Monet gave great importance to light, Debussy was mainly interested in the quality and effect of sound. Comments of Debussy about Stravinsky were that “he was widening the borders of what is allowed in the empire of sound”, and this could undoubtedly be applied to his own work.

CND2 - Gnawa. Nacho Duato


Gnawa. Dance Partner
  • 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 2 at the Teatro Gran Vía, Madrid, the 18th of April 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 Maghreb the members of different mystic Muslim brotherhoods characterized by their sub-saharan 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.



    • Auditions. Jardín Infinito. Nacho Duato

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