dance review 88.
(photo credit: )
National Dance Company (Spain)
by Nacho Duato
Nacho Duato is one of Europe's most respected choreographers for a reason. His sensitivities, musicality and artistic path make no compromises. Like a hand-tailored suit, the workmanship is impeccable, the dancers superb, the structures and compositions are tight and masterful - so much so that one yearns for a frayed seam once in a while.
The three pieces presented by Duato's company cover a time span of 11 years, from Gnawa (2007) and Castrati (2002) to Por Vos Muero (1996). Each work derives its stimulation from a completely different musical source, ranging from a mystic Islamic sect of sub-Saharan Morocco called Gnawa through Vivaldi, ending with old Spanish music of the 15th and 16th centuries.
Those diverse inspirational resources dictate rhythms, intensity and moods of their own, but maintain Duato's concrete perceptions of his craft. They consolidate the centricity of the dancing body in the framework of conservative structures that never really lose values of a formal nature, such as symmetry, unity and fine spatial equilibrium.
That is not to say that Duato's work is old-fashioned or boring; it means that he is creating within his own self-imposed artistic constraints, remaining part of a mainstream which used to prevail in the past and is a rarity today - much like many material arts that demand the finest, delicately detailed attention. The acute attention and sensitivity which Duato has plenty of make him a wonderful choreographer who still believes in excellence.
Old school, new school - who cares, as long as he is part of the much needed good school of beautiful dance?