Jardi Tancat

Music: Songs based on Catalonian folk tales, composed and sung by Maria del Mar Bonet (1981)
Choreography: Nacho Duato
Staging: Hilde Koch
Costume Design: Nacho Duato
Lighting Design: Nicolas Fischtel
Duration: 19 minutes
Premiere: December 19, 1983; Nederlands Dans Theater
Pacific Northwest Ballet Premiere: February 27, 1996

Carrie Imler and Olivier Wevers in Jardí Tancat.
Photo © Chris Bennion

Spanish choreographer Nacho Duato created his first work, Jardí Tancat, in 1983 while he was a member of the Nederlands Dans Theater. Now artistic director of Madrid’s Compañía Nacional de Danza, he is deeply committed to creating a distinctive profile—a soul of its own—for his national company.

Of his inspiration and personal style, Duato has asserted (in a 1994 interview with Dance Magazine): “[I must create] pieces that involved a Mediterranean way of seeing life and movement. …I was born in Valencia, and so many cultures came or went through there and left an influence—Greek, Tunisian, West African, Jewish…it’s very earthy.”

Jardí Tancat (Catalan for “Closed Garden”) is based on Catalonian folk tales collected and sung by Maria del Mar Bonet. With a sweet, yet passionate, melancholy, these folksongs and their dance portrayal tell the story of the people who work the barren land, praying to God for the rain that does not come and enduring with great spirit in the face of hardship:

Water, we have asked for water
And You, Oh Lord, You gave us wind
And You turn Your back on us
As though You will not listen to us

Though Jardí Tancat was choreographed for classically trained dancers, its movement vocabulary is strikingly individual—and an exciting challenge for the PNB artists charged with communicating the work’s powerful feeling.


Notes by Jeanie Thomas; edited by Doug Fullington, 2007.

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