Nacho Duato brings his Compañía to New York
Walking into the theatre during
Compañía Nacional de
Danza's rehearsal of Nacho Duato's Multiplicity is like opening
the door on a church service. Bach's music fills every nuance of the
space and the dancers perform the choreography with an attitude akin
But then Duato's work commands a degree of reverence.
This popular choreographer, who looks no more than a day over 30 (when
already over 40) at close range, possesses a sensibility for music likened
to the greatest 20th Century choreographers, especially that of his
mentor, Jirí Kylián.
Duato, who is growing somewhat weary of the parallel critics
draw between his choreographic style and Kylián's, has set out to leave
his own special Spanish-flavoured mark on the dance world. And it's
music that inspires this handsome, long-limbed dancer/choreographer
to create. Although there are no musicians on his family tree (his relatives
are more inclined to be doctors), Duato was compelled to dance from
the moment he heard music as a young man; and dance he did.
When Duato performs a fluid
solo in Multiplicity (which he did during the Sydney premiere
in January 2001), his plastic, beautifully proportioned body forms shapes
almost too effortlessly. It is easy to see how his acute musicality
and keen sense of the limitations (or lack thereof) of a ballet dancer's
physique impact his work. His movements are large, rounded, organic
and sometimes quirky. The music seems to sing through every cell in
his body. When his dancers enter, instead of mimicking Duato's style,
they seem to embody his choreography and imbue the steps with their
During an interview backstage in Sydney, Duato explained
to me what he looks for when choosing dancers for his multicultural
company or the affiliated school. I want people who know how to
express things on stage. They have to love dance and be very musical.
I'd rather sacrifice some kilos [and choose shapely dancers] than have
dancers who can't pick up the music or feel the music inside. It's quite
terrible to see good dancers who are unmusical.
Multiplicity, Duato's second
full-length ballet after Romeo & Juliet, was created on a
collage of J.S. Bach's music. It makes its US debut at the Lincoln Center
Summer Festival on July 25.
The above was an excerpt from an interview
conducted for a US publication.
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Edited by Azlan