Time goes by so quickly I can’t believe it’s already two weeks since we plunged into the universe of Ultima Vez, the company that Flemish choreographer, director and filmmaker Wim Vandekeybus, formed in 1986.
This year, it’s their 25th anniversary and part of their celebrations is the revival of some older productions, thus we were able to catch nieuwZwart, created in 2009. Back then, Wim Vandekeybus decided to start afresh and formed a totally new team – the same dancers we saw performing.
Ultima Vez are widely known for their powerful performances with strong messages and this one was no exception. Actually, the company is famous for their physically high risk moves, and having watched at least one performance, you know exactly why!
But the dancers we saw where admirably fit, energetic & ready to conquer the world! For this is how nieuwZwart starts: under a cover of what is interpreted as earth or mud, there are slow repeated movements… which become a frenzied, desperate, hopeful and painful birth… followed by the arrival of dark, smooth, calculating creatures, exploring and torturing the newborns… followed, in turn, by the fight for survival of the fittest, learning to grow up, behave -collectively and individually-, in a continuous life circle… all this time, the dancers, all 7 of them, run, twist, jump, fly, push, scream and hit air and ground with unstoppable energy, accompanied all along by the lyric interpretation of actor/dancer Kylie Walters, who is Australian by origin but now lives in Europe. She not only narrates the text, written especially for nieuwZwart, by Peter Verhelst, a Flemish poet and writer, but also runs, twists, jumps and even climbs up a platform where musicians are playing… she does all that in high heels!
All along, Mauro Pawlowski (Belgian rock musician known better as a member of dEUS) who composed the original music, Elko Blijweert and Jeroen Stevens play live on this platform which sometimes swings slightly, other times acts as the dancers’ shelter from the elements.
The light and sound effects create lightening, storms, seismic vibrations and the whole performance just ROCKS!!
If you follow Ultima Vez and all this sounds familiar, that’s cause it is: nieuwZwart has a lot of elements of Menske, a 2007 creation. But I didn’t mind that at all! This was such a powerful, violent, regenerating, unmistakably Vandekeybus performance, I could just watch it all over again!
Check out tour dates in Belgium and around the world, for some powerful experience!