Ultima Vez, Brussels, Belgium 54/55. BItef


Direction and choreography Wim Vandekeybus

Duration 1h 40' no interval

The grand opening will present the performance “Traces“ by one of the leading choreographers in Europe and in the world, Wim Vandekeybus, and his company Ultima Vez from Brussels. This energetic, witty and exciting choreography contains elements of spoken theatre and is based on an emphasized dramaturgical arc which is not in the least illustrative. It starts with the scenes of the natural balance being disturbed with one murder and the construction of a highway through a forest, and ends with a comic but also threatening scene in the form of the “nature’s vengeance“ with three bears in the main role.

About the Production

In Traces Wim Vandekeybus follows the traces he has left. He looks back on the intuitions from whence his search began: to the drama of impulses and instincts; to the game of energies and intensities. In the overwhelming Romanian nature, with Europe’s last primeval forests, Vandekeybus searches for traces that are older than man and his memory. For ‘the inner story’, for the story that unfolds before or beyond language and can only be told in the pulses of dance and music.
It is a search for traces of nature that the body has forgotten or repressed. 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?

The Author

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 (1986). The performance won a Bessie, an award granted for groundbreaking work.

The 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.

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.

From the Reviews

“Traces is much more than a simple choreography: it is an investigation into human nature told through snappy bodies and spectacular stage effects.”

Marievittora Veneruso, teatro.it

“As if Vandekeybus has become ill from all the harm that we cause to nature, and therefore also ourselves. As now everything has been humanised in the Anthropocene, this new human ‘nature’ seems much crueler and harsher than the real thing.”

Pieter T’Jonck, pzazz.theater

“The performers re-enact these primal scenes with a mixture of physical theatre and contemporary dance. The language Vandekeybus creates is visceral, demanding and sometimes chaotic. Dancers are sent careering around the stage, hurling one another and leaping between partners, yet Vandekeybus’s approach leaves the space filled but not overstimulated.”

Louise Lewis, British Theatre Guide

Created with and performed by:


Photography: Danny Willems, Wim Vandekeybus
Photography: Danny Willems, Wim Vandekeybus
Photography: Danny Willems, Wim Vandekeybus