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Mockumentary of a contemporary saviour

Wim Vandekeybus / Ultima Vez

"Science fiction is not predictive. It is descriptive.

I talk about the gods, I am an atheist. But I am an artist too, and therefore a liar.
Distrust everything I say. I am telling the truth."

- Introduction in The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin


We are in the distant future. A turning point in the history of mankind has been reached. A devastating force is engaged in utterly destroying all life on earth. With the aid of a child, a few people have nonetheless succeeded in reaching a place of safety. But life in this safe room is far from easy. The survivors, being human, are constantly at odds with one another. On top of all this is the fact that the chosen ones cannot escape life. Immortality prevails, and suicide doesn’t offer any way out. 

The ambiguous relationship with the child in the outside world, internal conflicts, cultural differences and the urges and instincts characteristic of humanity make it a time of uninterrupted commotion. The desire to surrender to the all-destroying forces of the outside world is always lurking. Is mankind actually worth saving?

In the theatre and dance performance Mockumentary of a Contemporary Saviour, Wim Vandekeybus, through the medium of seven characters, presents an incisive portrait of a messiah as an imaginary figure. Utopia and dystopia at a single glance. Nothing is what it seems in this futuristic reality.


07.04.2017 - BRUZZ - 'Religion is also a form of creation'


Wim Vandekeybus
was born in Herenthout (Belgium) on 30 June 1963. His father was a vet. After finishing secondary school, he moved to Leuven to study Psychology. In 1985, however, he decided to follow a completely different path and auditioned for Jan Fabre, who gave him a part in The Power of Theatrical Madness. One year later, he founded Ultima Vez.

His first show, What the Body Does Not Remember, was an international success, earning him a Bessie Award (New York Dance and Performance Award) for its innovation. And now after almost 30 years and a whole series of films and videos, Wim Vandekeybus is still searching for novelty and innovation. “For me, the form has to be different every time,” he explains. “This is why on one occasion I might create an extremely musical show (nieuwZwart or Speak low if you speak love…), then for my next project base a film on the experiences of one man (Monkey Sandwich), why I then might switch to a classical mythology play (Oedipus/bêt noir) or even an analytical piece in which theatricality plays a major part (booty Looting or Talk to the Demon).”

In all these very different productions, Ultima Vez nevertheless remains true to its own movement idiom. Tension, conflict, body versus mind, risks and impulses. Physicality, passion, intuition, instinct. These are essential elements that will always be part of Vandekeybus’ work. But on each occasion they are given a completely different appearance.

This variety is made possible partly through collaboration with dancers, circus performers, actors, musicians and other artists from a whole range of disciplines. Music and sound have naturally become the common thread running through his work. Peter Vermeersch, Thierry De Mey, David Byrne, Marc Ribot, Eavesdropper, David Eugene Edwards, Daan, Arno, Charo Calvo, Mauro Pawlowski, Roland Van Campenhout and Elko Blijweert have all composed music for his shows. As a general rule, their compositions are written during the rehearsal stage so that the show and the music develop symbiotically. However, photography and the lyrics and lines are equally important. In booty Looting, Danny Willems took photos – he walked around the stage among the performers, his eye to the lens, and presented his photos live. The writer Peter Verhelst has worked on scripts for Vandekeybus four times (Scratching the Inner Fields, Blush, Sonic Boom and nieuwZwart) and Vandekeybus used Jan Decorte’s adaptation of Oedipus, for Bêt noir, no less than three times before he had finally finished with this text.

In December 2012 Vandekeybus received the Keizer Karel prize from the Province of East Flanders. This prize is awarded every three years to an artist as a mark of his exceptional talent in the field of art and culture, his commitment and his work with younger generations. One year later Wim Vandekeybus and Ultima Vez became the 6th laureate of the Evens Arts Prize. They receive the Prize for their important contribution to European contemporary dance, for their multidisciplinary work and for their social and cultural commitment.

2015 sees the screening of Galloping Mind, Vandekeybus’ first full-length film. It was shot in Hungary and on the Black Sea in Romania and tells a dramatic story of family ties, betrayal and triangular relationships, with Jerry Killick, Natali Broods and a gang of children on horseback in the leading parts.

In 2016 Ultima Vez has been around for 30 years. To celebrate this, the dance company publishes the long-awaited book The Rage of Staging. It presents an exclusive insight into Vandekeybus’ mind and soul and, in addition to written contributions by fellow artists and previously unpublished writings and notes, it contains more than 400 unique pictures illustrating his repertoire.


29.03.2017 - De Morgen selectief - Mockumentary of contemporary saviour
05.04.2017 - Knack - 'Ja, God is hot dezer dagen'
07.04.2017 - Focus Le Vif - Jésus revient
08.04.2017 - DS Weekblad - Hear Hier
12.04.2017 - één - Cath & Gasten
13.04.2017 - Trends - Gezocht: Messias
14.04.2017 - Klara - Happy Hour
14.04.2017 - Culture Club Magazine - Vandekeybus over Vandekeybus
15.04.2017 - De Standaard - God staat weer op het toneel
18.04.2017 - De Standaard - Wachten op een valse profeet ***
19.04.2017 - Het Nieuwsblad - Everything happens for a reason ***


'In their dance performance, Ultima Vez indirectly introduce pressing contemporary questions regarding imagination, freedom and superstition, but set in a dystopian world. Is mankind worth being saved? Is hope for the future still legitimate?'
- Selectief -
'The choreographer Wim Vandekeybus and author Bart Meuleman outline a community imprisoned by its own doubts. They show how susceptible we are to false prophets and how quickly belief can be hijacked by ideology.'
- De Standaard -
'It is impressive for its outstanding duets, clever set design and the captivating and original way Vandekeybus brings religion to the stage, now it has become such a thorny and topical issue. Wow.'
- Knack Focus -
'The characters’ bodies are as different as their nationalities, but at the same time they are perfectly in tune with each other.'
- Het Nieuwsblad -


DIRECTION, CHOREOGRAPHY Wim Vandekeybus CREATED AND EXECUTED BY Anabel Lopez, Maria Kolegova, Yun Liu, Daniel Copeland, Saïd Gharbi, Jason Quarles, Flavio D’ Andrea also EXECUTED by Wouter Bruneel also CREATED by Daniel Copeland TEXT Bart Meuleman & Ultima Vez ARTISTIC ASSISTANT Jerry Killick, Aïda Gabriëls SET DESIGN Wim Vandekeybus, Meryem Bayram dramaturgy AÏDA GABRIËLS, Jerry Killick MUSIC & SOUND DESIGN Charo Calvo co-creation sound design & DESIGN OF COMPUTER MUSIC IRCAM Manuel Poletti VOICE SAVIOUR Maxim Daish Belay MOVEMENT ASSISTANT GERMAN JAUREGUI LIGHTING DESIGN Davy Deschepper, Wim Vandekeybus COSTUME DESIGN Isabelle Lhoas ASSISTED BY Isabelle De Cannière TECHNICAL COORDINATION Davy Deschepper SOUND ENGINEER Bram Moriau assisted by Martin Antiphon (IRCAM) STAGE MANAGER Tom De With SFX Zephyr Wildlife, Saskia Verreycken PRODuction Ultima Vez COPRODuction KVS (Brussels), Ircam (Paris), deSingel (Antwerp)


Below are the high-resolution press photos of our own productions, which can be used free for coverage of the KVS (the name of the photographer must be clearly stated).


Inge Jooris
0483 54 73 88


Saskia Liénard
0496 55 19 92
Live recording