| dance touring partnership | presents SPIEGEL - Ultima Vez/Wim Vandekeybus


the company

In the fall of 1986 Wim Vandekeybus withdraws to Madrid with a group of young, inexperienced performers and founds his company Ultima Vez (Spanish for the ‘The Last Time’). Nine months later What the Body Does Not Remember premières at the Toneelschuur in Haarlem. ‘Games’ are played: dancers throw a stone in the air and remain standing under it until another dancer pulls or pushes him away and catches the stone. Every movement requires absolutely precise timing, however rough and nonchalant it may seem. The inexhaustible energy of the bodies on stage also leaves a physical impact on the audience.

The risks, to which the dancers - propelled by the music of Thierry De Mey and Peter Vermeersch - render themselves, put the audience on the edge of their seats. What the Body Does Not Remember immediately makes an international breakthrough and in 1988 Wim Vandekeybus receives a Bessie Award for:  “a brutal confrontation of dance and music; the dangerous, combative landscape of What the Body Does Not Remember’’. 

Risk, conflict, strength, instinct, ‘the imaginary catastrophe’, attraction and repulsion remain key concepts in the work of Wim Vandekeybus and Ultima Vez. He increasingly introduces narrative elements in his work: texts, literary and mythological references lie in his performances or the films that are part of them.  Through the years Wim Vandekeybus remains faithful to his original intuitions about dance and movement language, but the context in which this language is expressed undergoes a substantial shift. He shows the energy, the strength of the body, but also the vulnerability and the fragility of those who surrender to their instincts. More intimacy and tenderness seep into the performances.  The growing complexity of the performances also increases the need for music that not only propels but that also makes connections with the action on stage. Examples are commissions from, amongst others, David Byrne, Marc Ribot, Charo Calvo, Eavesdropper and David Eugene Edwards.

Twenty years after the première of What the Body Does Not Remember - and almost as many creations with changing international casts later - Wim Vandekeybus composes an evening with some remarkable scenes from his work. With nine dancers Wim Vandekeybus looks in the mirror.  They let themselves be re-inspired and rework the movement material of his early works as well as more recent productions. No simple collage, but a journey in search of the essence of his movement idiom. A retrospective of the energy and emotions at the base of his creations.

Website: HdK


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