5 interesting facts about Wim Vandekeybus and his company Ultima Vez

This summer I got a real Ultima Vez overdose, in a good sense of course.It all happened spontaneously and unpredictably, I got addicted. First it was a revival of 1991 piece In Spite of Wishing and Wanting, then a workshop by Iñaki Azpillaga, who is for more than twenty years connected with Ultima Vez work, after another recent creation of the company Speak low if you speak love and at the end a documentary “Wim” about Wim Vandekeybus directed by his sister Lut Vandekeybus. That all deepened my knowledge about the company and made me discover some new and interesting facts that I am gonna share with you:

  1. Anne Teresa de Kaarsmaeker and Wim Vandekeybus are two big stars of contemporary dance scene working in Belgium in rather different style. However there is one other thing that unites them: both of them created their first successful works with a help of a composer Thierry De Mey. (Rosas danst Rosas and What the body does not remember) So interesting to observe how different is the outcome of those similar cooperations.

2. The name Ultima Vez appeared spontaneously. When the company worked on their first creation Wim had difficulties with Spanish language and needed translation assistance. Anytime he was asking for help he was saying that it’s the last time, Ultima Vez. He liked how it sounded and decided to name a company like this.

3. As it often happens, the first piece of the company wasn’t successful. Audience was not ready for what they saw and critics were negative in their comments. Then the producer of Ultima Vez decided to take a risk and bought fight tickets to all members of the company so they can go to New York and present their work there. In America What the body does not remember had a total triumph, it was granted with Bessie award and Vim Vandekeybus star was born. 

4. Wim really likes children. That fact is being confirmed by both of his wife and his Facebook profile, 70 % of which consist of pictures of his sons. They are also being part of some of his creations. For example here at Monkey Sandwich.

5. Frequent link to animals in Ultima Vez’s work is not a coincidence. Wim is a vet’s sone and from early childhood he was connected to animals. He is proud of that fact and often mentions it in his interviews.

cover photo:© Danny Willems

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