Wim Vandekeybus

Wim Vandekeybus (1963) is a choreographer, dancer, filmmaker and photographer. He founded his dance company Ultima Vez in the mid-eighties. He made a remarkable artistic debut with his first performance What the body does not remember (1987). The performance won a Bessie, an award granted for groundbreaking work. His second performance Les porteuses de mauvaises nouvelles (1989) was also honoured with this award. In his unique style, Vandekeybus has created milestones in the development of modern dance with his performances over the last few decades, at home and abroad.

Vandekeybus has created a language of movement wherein he juxtaposes intuition, impulse and instinct with energy, risk and danger, which exemplifies a dramatic Weltanschauung, full of dynamics and conflict, through the medium of dance. A central focus in his work is the irreconcilable conflict between body and mind, feeling and intellect, man and woman, nature and culture, man and animal, group and individual, illusion and reality. Vandekeybus’ work is characterised by almost obsessive reiterations of one single concern: how man responds to extreme situations. In this context, he attaches special importance to what he refers to as ‘the moment of catastrophe’ - which ironically does not preclude his inclusion of humour, playfulness and even a certain jocular lightheartedness in his work.

Vandekeybus’s performances take the form of associative montages with a penchant for crisscrossing borderlines between disciplines that at the same time lose nothing of their strongrooted autonomy in the process. His dance is rendered in a powerfully theatrical manner. (Live) music and video/film are not only integral to his mode of theatrical expression, but more often than not, are actually the prime movers underlying the performances. Vandekeybus has in the past collaborated with musicians such as Thierry De Mey, Peter Vermeersch, David Byrne, David Eugene Edwards, Arno, Charo Calvo, Mauro, Marc Ribot and Trixie Whitley. The choreographer has also created short films for use in various performances - some of which may be regarded as standalone works in their own right, such as Blush (2004) and Monkey Sandwich (2013). Vandekeybus also made Galloping Mind (2015), his very first feature film.

In the performances of his early period, text and story were totally subordinate to the bodies and their impulsive movements, scattered throughout the narrative as fragmentary material. In the course of the years, Vandekeybus developed a stronger narrative style that presents coherent fables with a broader scope, often revolving around community, individuals and conflict. His performances represent a transition from tensions between bodies at a purely physical level, to more complex tensions as between groups, and as between groups and individuals. He represented existing tragedies by Jan Decorte and Euripides, and also collaborated with contemporary authors such as Bart Meuleman, Peter Verhelst and Pieter de Buysser. His recent work such as Mockumentary of a Contemporary Saviour and TrapTown, reveal his overarching disquiet about the current political state of global affairs.

Each of Vandekeybus’s performances are markers in his quest for new forms: “That is why I sometimes make an extreme musical performance (nieuwZwart) and then base a project on the experiences of one person (Monkey Sandwich) and then find a theme in classical mythology (Oedipus/Bêt noir or Die Bakchen) or make an analytical piece in which theatricality plays an important role (Talk to the demon).” However, in essence, his performances are and remain rooted the vital energy of the body itself. This is a realm in which Vandekeybus has been able to create a rich and diverse oeuvre that is acclaimed not only at home, but internationally as well.

© Johan Jacobs

Work

Here’s an overview of all productions by Wim Vandekeybus. Use the filters below to focus on a certain type of project.

Current

Hands do not touch your precious Me

Performance
2020
A dialogue between the universes of Wim Vandekeybus, Olivier de Sagazan and Charo Calvo
© Danny Willems
© Danny Willems

TRACES

Performance
2019
How much nature still lives in human mankind? How much animal in the human body? What happens when at risk or in danger, when we have to take intuitive decisions to survive?
© Danny Willems
© Danny Willems

Scattered Memories

Performance
2022
on a slice of future
Scattered Memories © Karolina Miernik
Scattered Memories © Karolina Miernik

Archive

Die Bakchen - lasst uns tanzen

Performance
Music event
2019
World premiere on March 15th 2019 at Cuvilliéstheatre, Munich (DE).
© Danny Willems
© Danny Willems

TrapTown

Performance
2018
UV Trap Town C2 A9 Danny Willems DWPR5736
UV Trap Town C2 A9 Danny Willems DWPR5736

Go Figure Out Yourself

Performance
2018

Mockumentary of a Contemporary Saviour

Performance
2017
Mockumentaryofa Contemporary Saviour C2 A9 Danny Willems 6245
Mockumentaryofa Contemporary Saviour C2 A9 Danny Willems 6245

Speak low if you speak love ...

Performance
2015
© Danny Willems
© Danny Willems

Talk to the Demon

Performance
2014
© Danny Willems
© Danny Willems

Portraits & Landscapes

Exposition
2013

Spiritual Unity

Music event
2013
© Danny Willems
© Danny Willems

FEAR NOT

Music event
2013
© Danny Willems
© Danny Willems

booty Looting

Performance
2012
© Danny Willems
© Danny Willems

IT 3.0

Guest choreography
2011
© Koen Broos
© Koen Broos

Oedipus / bêt noir

Performance
2011
© Danny Willems
© Danny Willems

Radical Wrong

Performance
2011

Monkey Sandwich

Performance
2010
© Danny Willems
© Danny Willems

Black Biist

Guest choreography
2009

Achtertooglid

Exposition
2009
© Wim Vandekeybus
© Wim Vandekeybus

nieuwZwart

Performance
2009
© Danny Willems
© Danny Willems

Gallop

Exposition
2007

Carte Blanche

Music event
2007

What's the prediction?!

Music event
2007

Menske

Performance
2007
© Pieter Jan De Pue
© Pieter Jan De Pue

Nightshade

Guest choreography
2006

Quiebro

Guest choreography
2006
© Fernando Marcos
© Fernando Marcos

Bêt noir

2006
© Danny Willems
© Danny Willems

Spiegel

Performance
2006
© Jean Pierre Stoop
© Jean Pierre Stoop

Puur

Performance
2005
Puur
Puur

Viva!

2004

Rent a Kid, no Bullshit!

2004
© Liesbet Peremans
© Liesbet Peremans

Sonic Boom

Performance
2003
© Chris van der Burght
© Chris van der Burght

IT

Guest choreography
2002

Bericht aan de bevolking / Avis à la population

2002
© Jo Voets
© Jo Voets

Blush

Performance
2002
© Hans Roels
© Hans Roels

Scratching the Inner Fields

Performance
2001

Inasmuch as Life is borrowed...

Performance
2000
© Marco Caselli
© Marco Caselli

Inasmuch...

Film
2000
© Reinhilde Terryn
© Reinhilde Terryn

In Spite of Wishing and Wanting

Performance
1999
© Bruno Vandermeulen
© Bruno Vandermeulen

The Day of Heaven and Hell

Performance
1998

Little body on the wall ...

Performance
1997

7 for a Secret never to be told

Performance
1997
© Bruno Vandermeulen
© Bruno Vandermeulen

Exhaustion from Dreamt Love

Guest choreography
1996

Bereft of a Blissful Union

Performance
1996
© Bruno Vandermeulen
© Bruno Vandermeulen

Alle Grössen decken sich zu

Performance
1995
© Wim Vandekeybus
© Wim Vandekeybus

Mountains Made of Barking

Performance
1994
© Bruno Vandermeulen
© Bruno Vandermeulen

Her Body Doesn't Fit Her Soul

Performance
1993
Ultima Vez
Ultima Vez

Immer das Selbe gelogen

Performance
1991
Immer das Selbe gelogen
Immer das Selbe gelogen

The Weight of a Hand

Performance
1990
© Octavio Iturbe
© Octavio Iturbe

Les porteuses de mauvaises nouvelles

Performance
1989
© Octavio Iturbe
© Octavio Iturbe

What the Body Does Not Remember

Performance
1987
© Octavio Iturbe
© Octavio Iturbe

Agenda

Here’s an overview of all the upcoming shows by Wim Vandekeybus.