Víctor Ullate

Choreographer

Víctor Ullate is one of the most important figures in ballet in Spain. Born in Zaragoza, he studied classical dance with María de Avila and at the École Supérieure de Danse Rosella Hightower in Cannes. He began his professional career in 1962 at the age of 15 in the company of the worldwide sought-after Spanish dancer Antonio Ruiz Soler. Three years later he was engaged by Maurice Béjart in his Ballet du XXièmeSiècle. In the fourteen years of collaboration, Béjart created a number of roles for him, including GAITE PARISIENNE (1978); in this autobiographical ballet he incorporated the role of Béjart. Víctor Ullate has been described by his master as »one of the most perfect dancers of the 20th century«.

In 1979 the Spanish government commissioned him to found the country's first classical ballet company, the Ballet Nacional de España (today: Compañia Nacional de Danza), of which he was Artistic Director for four years. In 1983 he opened his first own school, the Centro de Danza Víctor Ullate, in order to find and educate the missing offspring. In 1988, with the support of the Ministry of Culture, he founded the Víctor Ullate Ballet, officially Spain's first private dance company, of which he has been director for more than 30 years. He brought works by Maurice Béjart, George Balanchine, Hans van Manen, Nils Christe, Jan Linkens and Micha van Hoecke to the stage for his audience, who cheered him beyond the country's borders, worked on classics of the repertoire including GISELLE and DON QUIXOTE, and premiered more than 40 of his own choreographies, often with reference to Spanish music and culture.

His efforts for individual advancement and the base of brilliant technical ability are crowned by the successes of such personalities as Angel Corella, Lucía Lacarra, Carlos Lopez, Joaquín De Luz, Tamara Rojo, Igor Yebra and Itziar Mendizabal, to name just a few of the most internationally known names of the ballet world. With the aim of enabling talents without financial resources a universal training for the dance profession and promoting classical ballet in all its forms of expression in Spain, he set up a foundation in 2000. After decades of fruitful work, its institutions finally fell victim to the cultural and political change in Spain in 2019/2020. Generations of dancers who belong to the most important companies in the world call Víctor Ullate their master, and his works are considered as part of the Spanish cultural heritage. His entire life has been devoted to dance to this day, he regularly teaches master classes and works with the next generation.

Víctor Ullate has received numerous important awards: including the Spanish Dance Prize (1989), the Medalla de Oro de las Bellas Artes (1996), the renowned Medalla Festival de Granada (1998), the Culture Prize of the City of Madrid in the ›Dance‹ category ( 2003), the »Autor-Autor« Award (2007), the MAX Honorary Award (2008), the MAX Award for his creation WONDERLAND as best dance production (2011). In 2013 he was awarded the »Gran Cruz de la Orden del Dos de Mayo« by the City of Madrid and in 2016 the »Medalla de Oro al Mérito del Trabajo« by the Council of Ministers of Spain. In 2014 he was made an honorary member of the Academy of Performing Arts.