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about the company | collaborators | performers

About The Company

Wim Vandekeybus is a director, choreographer, actor, and photographer. After working for two years with Jan Fabre, he created his own working structure, Ultima Vez, a company of a dozen young artists and actors, and several artistic, technical and administrative collaborators.

In 1985 and 1986, he continued his personal research by giving a series of workshops in Europe while preparing, with Octavio Iturbe, his first performance "What the Body Does Not Remember", which premièred in 1987 and was soon being shown 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".'

In 1989, after a residency at the Centre National de Danse Contemporaine d'Angers, he created "Les porteuses de mauvaises nouvelles", whilst continuing with international tours and working with Thierry De Mey on "The Weight of a Hand", based on the choreographic material of the first two productions. The latter, an on-stage confrontation of actors and musicians, was premièred in Théâtre de la Ville in Paris in January 1990. In September of that year Vandekeybus received his second Bessie Award, this time for "Les porteuses de mauvaises nouvelles".

At the same time, Walter Verdin, Octavio Iturbe and Wim Vandekeybus were directing "Roseland", a video that places the choreographic works of Wim Vandekeybus in the remarkable setting of a dilapidated Brussels cinema that had been abandoned for the past twenty years. This video was awarded with the "Dance Screen Award 1991" (IMZ, Frankfurt) and the "Prague d'Or".

January - February 1991: a six-week tour in the USA concluded the trilogy "What the Body Does Not Remember", "Les porteuses de mauvaises nouvelles" and "The Weight of a Hand".

In July 1991, a new creation "Immer das Selbe gelogen" was first performed during the SommerSZENE festival, Salzburg, followed by more than 100 performances in most of the important European cities, Canada, USA, and for the first time, Ultima Vez was a guest at festivals in Japan and Mexico. This show was a sensitive portrait of 89 year old Carlo Verano and of Vandekeybus' friendship with the man. From this production onwards, the medium of film took an important place in Vandekeybus' work, in this instance through the images collected on video and film of Carlo Verano.

In June 1992 Wim Vandekeybus and Walter Verdin directed "La Mentira", a video-film based on "Immer das Selbe gelogen", recorded in deSingel in Antwerp, and in the rough and deserted landscape around Granada in the south of Spain.

In January 1993, Wim Vandekeybus and his company started working on a new creation, "Her Body Doesn't Fit Her Soul", a performance in which Vandekeybus worked with non-seeing dancers for the first time and which premièred at the "Theater der Welt" festival in Münich in June, 1993. Part of this production is the projection of the short film "Elba and Federico", which Vandekeybus directed in the same year. The film received the "Special Prize of the Jury" at the International Film festival of Brussels. In 1993 Wim Vandekeybus and his company Ultima Vez became artist-in-residence at the Royal Flemish Theater.

On May 28th, 1994, the piece "Mountains Made of Barking" premièred at the Royal Flemish Theater during the first Kunsten Festival des Arts in Brussels. A film, shot in Morocco, and short stories by Paul Bowles and Milorad Pavic, constitute the theme of the performance. A tour followed, alternated with performances of "Her Body Doesn't Fit Her Soul".

In May 1995, and again at the Royal Flemish Theater in Brussels, premièred "Alle Größen decken sich zu", a German spoken theatre piece based on the life and words of his now deceased friend Carlo Verano. Performances in Belgium, Holland, Germany and Austria followed. At the end of 1995 the company revived the very first performance, "What the Body Does Not Remember".

On February 29th, 1996, in the Lunatheater, Brussels premièred "Bereft of a Blissful Union", a large-scale piece which brought together on stage twelve dancers and twelve musicians, and incorporated film and acting sequences. The music was composed by Peter Vermeersch and George van Dam, interpreted by X-LEGGED SALLY and THE SMITH QUARTET, with Géry Cambier (Ictus Ensemble) on double bass.

Through 1996 Ultima Vez toured with three repertory pieces: "Bereft of a Blissful Union" (with twelve musicians), "Mountains Made of Barking" and "What the Body Does Not Remember". Also in 1996, Vandekeybus recreated excerpts of his work for the Batsheva Dance Company in Israel. The première was on April 30, 1996, in the Tel Aviv Opera House. This production remains in the repertory of the Batsheva Company.

Wim Vandekeybus performed as an actor and dancer in a solo piece, "Body, body on the wall..." written and directed by Jan Fabre, and which premièred at the Springdance Festival in Utrecht on March 22, 1997.

On July 23rd, 1997, a new Ultima Vez creation "7 for a Secret never to be told" premièred at the Grec Festival in Barcelona. For this performance Wim Vandekeybus worked with six different composers: Arno, Charo Calvo, Pascal Comelade, Thierry De Mey, Kimmo Hakola and Pierre Vervloesem.

In October 1998, Wim Vandekeybus created a theatre piece based on the life and work of Pier Paolo Pasolini.

"In Spite of Wishing and Wanting", a performance with 10 male dancers and with original music by David Byrne, premièred on March 12th, 1999, at the Teatro Comunale de Ferrara (Italy. During the performance the short film "The Last Words", directed by Vandekeybus (and based on two surrealist short-stories by Julio Cortâzar), is projected in two parts.

On April 26th, 2000, "Inasmuch as Life is borrowed..." premièred in deSingel in Antwerp. This production used 11 dancers. Next to a short film, directed by Vandekeybus and co-written with Jan De Coster, the original music was again an inherent part of the performance. The New York guitarist and composer Marc Ribot, known mainly from his work with Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, John Lurie and John Zorn, composed the music and sound in reference to elements from pop, rock and dance music.

"Scratching the Inner Fields", premièred on February 27th at Les Abbesses (Théâtre de la Ville) in Paris. After an all-male cast in 'In Spite of Wishing and Wanting' (1999), Wim Vandekeybus was now working with only female performers. The nearly completely renewed, international company comprised 5 dancers and 2 actresses. Once again, dance, text and music formed the inherent parts of the performance. The Flemish writer Peter Verhelst reworked a number of stories from his 'fairytale novel' Zwellend Fruit as text material for the performance. Yves De Mey, alias Eavesdropper, composed the original music. For the sound concept of the piece Wim Vandekeybus also worked with the German sound designer and live electronics performer Josh Martin.

In January 2002, Ultima Vez revived Wim Vandekeybus' debut performance "What the Body Does Not Remember" in the frame of the KLAPSTUK #10 Festival in Leuven. Also in January 2002, the dance video "In Spite of Wishing and Wanting" was released during the Vidéodanse Festival at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. This screen adaptation of the 1999 dance performance was shot in the atmospheric surroundings of a racetrack and the beautiful ballroom-concert hall 'Vooruit Arts Centre' in Ghent.

"'s NACHTs", a solo for Wim Vandekeybus, premièred on March 20th at the Royal Flemish Theatre / de bottelarij in Brussels. The production was created during 'De Stokerij', a project by KVS/de Bottelarij. 'De Stokerij' is a laboratory for theatre makers who want to go back to their sources, who want to try out new forms or material, who want to explore untrodden paths. In this project, Wim Vandekeybus chose to work with the young German actress Nicola Schössler, who made her debut as a theatre director with this piece.

By request of Les Ballets C. de la B. dancer and choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Wim Vandekeybus directed the solo "it", in 'Le Vif du Sujet' (SACD / Festival d'Avignon 2002). The point of departure of the solo is the short story 'The Circular Valley' by Paul Bowles. During the Festival d'Avignon 2002 this 38 minute solo took place in open-air and with natural light. The performance has later been reworked into a 50-minute version, including film images by Vandekeybus.

In the autumn of 2001, Ivo Van Hove, director of Toneelgroep Amsterdam, invited Wim Vandekeybus to be a guest director for this Dutch repertory company. For this project Vandekeybus cast three experienced actors from Toneelgroep Amsterdam and eight performers from his own company. In "Sonic Boom" Wim Vandekeybus bridged the gap between gut emotion and imagination, between the physical and verbal, between images and stories, between dance and theatre. Next to existing pieces of music from various artists, new numbers by David Eugene Edwards were integrated into the soundscape. “Sonic Boom” had its première on April 18th in the Stadsschouwburg, Amsterdam.

"Blush", the fifteenth creation by Wim Vandekeybus and Ultima Vez, had its première in September 2002 in the Koninklijke Vlaamse Schouwburg / de botterlarij, in Brussels. On stage are 10 performers, including Vandekeybus himself. David Eugene Edwards, the singer/songwriter of 16 Horsepower and the recent solo project Woven Hand, wrote the music. Author Peter Verhelst followed the creation process and reworked text material. Film images, directed by Vandekeybus, are part of the performance.

about the company | collaborators | performers


David Eugene Edwards / music Blush

David Eugene Edwards was born in 1968. In 1982 he founded his first band: RMC (Restless Middle Class). Two years later he became the guitarist of Jeffrey-Paul Norlander’s first band, Pavillion Steps. In 1986 Edwards, Norlander and Slim Cessna joined the band Bloodflower. In 1987 they brought out 'Come, Faithful and True'.

In 1988 Norlander started the band The Denver Gentlemen, at first with only Edwards. In 1990, Norlander, his brother and Edwards relocated to Los Angeles, where they met Jean-Yves Tola and Pascal Humbert of the alternative rock band Passion Fodder. Tola joined the Denver Gentlemen.

In 1992 Edwards started up 16 Horsepower, along with Pascal Humbert. Tola joined soon after. After a short period in Los Angeles, Edwards and Tola returned to Denver. Humbert remained in Los Angeles and was replaced by bassist Keven Soll. In 1996 the album ‘Sackcloth ‘n’ Ashes’ appeared. Gordon Gano (Violent Femmes) played violin as a guest artist on the album. In the same year Humbert joined the band again. After a number of shifts in the composition of the band, their second album, ‘Low Estate’, appeared in 1997.

In July 1999 16 Horsepower signed a record deal with independent Glitterhouse Records. Later that year they signed another contract, for America, with Razor & Tie. Their third album, 'Secret South', appeared in March 2000.

September 2001, Glitterhouse announced it would release an album by Woven Hand, David Eugene Edwards' new solo project, in 2002. Woven Hand made its live debut in Denver in October 2001. The ‘Woven Hand’ album appeared in March 2002, followed by a tour with a four-man band (David E. Edwards, Daniel McMahon, Ordy Garrison and Paul Fonfara).

‘Folklore’, the new 16 Horsepower album, appeared on Glitterhouse in June 2002. The European tour of this album ended with a concert in the Royal Circus in Brussels (Les Nuits Botanique).

Peter Verhelst / author Blush

Peter Verhelst began his writing career in 1987, as a poet. From 1989 onwards he published one book of poetry a year. In 2000 Verhelst reworked his poetry book Verhemelte for the theatre, in collaboration with Eric Sleichim of Bl!ndman and videomaker Peter Misotten. This production, S*CKMYP, was performed in the Kaaitheater Studios in Brussels.

Besides poetry, Verhelst has also published a number of novels: Vloeibaar Harnas (1993), Het Spierenalfabet (1995) and De Kleurenvanger (1996). He acquired fame in Dutch speaking countries with his book Tongkat – een verhalenbordeel, which received numerous literature prizes in 1999.

Over the last few years, Peter Verhelst has also collaborated on other theatre productions. In 1997, Maria Salomé, a theatre piece directed by Jan Ritsema, premiered in the Kaaitheater in Brussels. One year later, an adaptation of Romeo & Julia (Study of a Drowning Body) was performed for the first time during the Holland Festival, under the direction of Ivo Van Hove. In 1999 Peter Verhelst wrote Red Rubber Balls for the Kaaitheater. He reworked this text for a piece by Thierry Smits. AARS!, a controversial adaptation of Oresteia, premiered in 2000, also during the Holland Festival, and was directed by Luk Perceval. During the same year Verhelst wrote Histoire d’A, a new text for Igor Stravinski’s suite l’Histoire du soldat, for the Roovers Theatre Company and the Prometheus Ensemble.

In 2001, Peter Verhelst reworked a number of stories from his ‘fairytale novel’ Zwellend Fruit (published in 2000) for Wim Vandekeybus’ performance ‘Scratching the Inner Fields’. A year later, he worked again with Vandekeybus on the production ‘Blush’.

He is presently writing the script, in collaboration with Wim Vandekeybus, for his first feature film ‘Story Brothel’ (working title).

Wim Vandekeybus/ director-choreographer

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about the company | collaborators | performers


Laura Arís Alvarez
(Spanish, 24/02/1977)
Laura Arís followed dance and choreography training at the Institut del Teatre in Barcelona. Between 1996-1999 she was part of the Lanonima Imperial dance company (Barcelona), for the creation and performances of Identificación d’un Paisaje (1996) and Cuerpo de Sombra y Luz (1998). Also in Barcelona, she was also associated with the General Eléctrica arts centre, where she collaborated on various productions by Tomas Aragay. Laura Arís has been part of Ultima Vez since 1999. She was involved in the creation and touring of Inasmuch as Life is borrowed… and Scratching the Inner Fields, Blush and danced in the reprisal of What the Body Does Not Remember during the KLAPSTUK festival in January 2002. She has also assisted at a number of Ultima Vez workshops.

Elena Fokina
(Russian, 03/05/1977)
Elena Fokina followed dance training at the University for Culture and the Russian Academy for Theatrical Arts in Moscow. From 1997 to 2001 she danced with the Russian Chamber Ballet. After an audition in Moscow in October 2001 she began working with Ultima Vez for the creation and tour of Blush. In January 2002 Elena Fokina also danced in the reprisal of What the Body Does Not Remember, which was presented at the 10th edition of the KLAPSTUK Festival in Leuven.

Jozef Frucek
(Slovakian, 24/03/1975)
Jozef Frucek studied at the Academy for Music and Dramatic Art in Bratislava, where he received a doctorate in voice and movement. He also trained in, among other things, sword fighting, Tai Chi Chuan and Chinese shadowboxing. He was involved in various theatre and film productions. From 1996 he worked on a number of dance projects, with, for example, Simone Sandroni, M. Renzi, Laroque Dance Company, AS Project Company and Tanz Atelier Wenen. In 2000 he made the choreography No enter in Couple, with which he won a prize in Prague. Jozef Frucek was a guest teacher at the RITS in Brussels. Blush is his first production with Ultima Vez.

Ina Geerts
(Belgian, 17/11/1965)
In 1988 Ina Geerts graduated from the Studio Herman Teirlinck. As a freelance actress she was involved in a number of theatre, film and television projects. In 1993 she appeared in Stationendrama I en II (European Drive-In Theatre), a site-specific project in Antwerp South Station, after an idea by Niek Kortekaas. Through a tip from Jan Fabre, who saw her performing in that project, she began work with Jan Lauwers’ Needcompany. Between 1994 and 1999 she worked on Le Voyeur, Le Pouvoir and Le Désir (Snake Song Trilogy) and Needcompany's Macbeth. Ina Geerts also acted in short films including Manga (Jan Lauwers), “Inasmuch…” (Wim Vandekeybus), To pass around the cakes (M.J. Burki), Pele (F. Aron), and more recently in Meisje (Dorothée Van den Berghe). As singer/songwriter of her own band, Cirke Da-Da, she has performed in many music cafés and some festivals. Blush is her second performance with Ultima Vez.

Robert M. Hayden
(American, 07/06/1971)
From 1991 to 1996 Robert Hayden studied dance and theatre at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. Through two summer workshops he came in contact with the UTOPIA Danza-Teatro Company (artistic directors Vivian Cruz and Marco Antonio Silva), in Mexico City. He was part of that company in 1995 and 1996. As an actor and dancer he was involved in productions by various American companies, including Keshet Dance Company (Albuquerque), Zack Fuller and Co. (New York), Trajal Harrell Dance Style (New York) and AirDance New Mexico (Albuquerque). He is still associated with the Q-staff Theatre Ensemble under the artistic leadership of Richard Van Schouwen (Albuquerque). His own choreographical work includes Scene 1-3 (2000-2001) and in the between (2001).

Germán Jauregui Allue
(Spanish, 09/10/1972)
From 1995 to 1998 Germán Jauregui Allue followed theatre training in Bilbao. During his studies he participated in A menudo en el bosque by Loïc Touze (Bilbao). At the same time he was active for two years with ‘Jóvenes Coreografos Vascos’, a grant program for young Basque choreographers. In 1998 Germán Jauregui began working for Ultima Vez. He was in In Spite of Wishing and Wanting (1999), Inasmuch as Life is borrowed… (2000) and Blush (2002), and was the movement assistant during the creation of Scratching the Inner Fields (2001). Germán Jauregui also danced in the reprisal of What the Body Does Not Remember during the KLAPSTUK festival 2002. In that same year he collaborated with his brother Jorge Jauregui and Idoia Zabaleta for the performance El Rato de José.

Linda Kapetanea
(Greek, 25/10/1973)
In 1993 Linda Kapetanea graduated from the State School of Dance in Athens. From 1994 she worked with the Greek companies Sinequanon and Horeytes on various productions. With a grant from the Greek government she studied in New York from 1996 to 1998, where she followed diverse training and workshops, including at the Merce Cunningham Studio. Also in New York, she worked on the creation and performance of a production by the Swedish choreographer Irene Hultman. Since returning to Greece in 1998, she danced with Sinequanon, until she became part of Ultima Vez in May 2002.

Thi-Mai Nguyen
(French, 11/12/1980)
From 1995 to 1999 Thi-Mai Nguyen studied contemporary dance at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse in Paris. During and after her studies she participated in a number of projects and performances by various choreographers and companies in France. In June 2000 she participated in a project by Nadia Bekani in Instanbul. She was accepted at P.A.R.T.S. in September 2000. Shiver, a duo by Johan Thelander and Thi-Mai Nguyen, was performed during the Festival d¹Automne in Paris in October 2001. Blush is her first production with Ultima Vez.

Thomas Steyaert
(Belgian, 01/10/1978)
In June 2002, Thomas Steyaert graduated from the Hoger Instituut voor Dans in Lier. During his training he also took part in workshops by, among others, Filip van Huffel, Sacha Lee and Karin Vinken. He got stage experience in projects such as Video Quintet 1 by Esra Caldwell (‘Fontys’ International Dance Festival, Tilburg 2001) and Performance by Marc Vanrunxt (De Beweeging, 2000). Thomas Steyaert has already made six of his own choreographies, including Panacee (2000), Exit (2000) and Manger les histoires, which premièred in January 2002 in C.C. De Spil in Roeselare.

Wim Vandekeybus
(Belgian, 30/06/1963)
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