COMPAGNIE FLAK (Nordic countries)

Founder and artistic director of Compagnie Flak, José Navas carries out his overall artistic approach in three distinct ways: he dances with intensity in solo shows charged with emotion, he constructs abstract and captivating group pieces, and he creates pieces of contemporary ballet with classicism and sensitivity. As guest choreographer for prestigious ballet companies, he created an iconoclastic version of Giselle (2013) for Ballet BC, Watershed (2013) for the National ballet of Canada, and Dénouement/Auflösung (2015) for the German company tanzmainzHe has performed his latest solo show, Rites, many times in Europe and Quebec. An Associate Dance Artist of the National Arts Centre, José Navas has presented his work in 30 countries in the Americas, Europe and Asia.

José Navas began his choreographic career in 1991 and was quickly recognized on the international scene as a talented and charismatic soloist. His first group creations were characterized by their assertive sensuality, bold statements and unexpected universes. These pieces included an element of theatricality that is reflected today only in his solo work. Since 2005, Navas has opted for sobriety and the pursuit of pure movement, giving his artistic approach two distinct directions.

As a dancer, José has devoted himself entirely to his passion for solo work, exploiting the wealth of his maturity to create more personal, sensitive works, with transcendent musicality. As a choreographer of group work, he has an entirely different voice. Fascinated by the resonance of the body in space and by the calligraphy of formal movement, the choreographer shows himself to be an architect in his group pieces. A worthy successor of Cunningham, he constructs abstract pieces geometrically, which are always delivered by virtuoso performers. His choreographic scores, created in a similar manner to a musical composition, fascinate the viewer with the successive structures they reveal in the space. They are characterized by their hypnotic beauty and their meditative character and sometimes by the vivacity and playfulness of the movement that points discreetly behind the sleek lines and technical prowess.

With a beautiful visual aesthetic, creations such as Portable Dances, Anatomies, and S reflect his architectural sense of composition while the solos in Miniatures and Personae arouse feelings of a more visceral nature. With more than thirty creations to his credit, Sterile Fields (1996), One Night Only 3/3 (1998), Perfume de Gardenias (2000), Solo with Cello (2001) and Adela, mi amor (2004) represent landmarks on his choreographic journey.


Eager to relive the joy of dancing with live orchestra  for his Rite of Spring and to deepen the dialogue  with Schubert’s Winterreise that he began in Rites,  José Navas offers a creation based on that 24-part  song cycle of Schubert. This piece, choreographed  and performed by José Navas, will be presented in  an adaptation for piano, voice and dance. 

To see a solo performance by José Navas is to experience just how far dance can go to stir your spirit  and soothe your soul. For his new creation, he was  captivated by the desire to translate Schubert’s  beloved song cycle into movement. Winterreise  (Winter Journey), the composer’s final work before  his death in 1829, is infused with operatic themes  of tragedy that beautifully serve Navas’s own creative process as a maturing artist. This evocative  performance elegantly intertwines the solo dancer  with live piano and voice.

José Navas about the work:

Winterrreise (Winter Journey) is a cycle of 24 songs for voice and piano, composed by Franz Schubert towards the end of his short life. It traces a wanderer’s nonlinear journey and I have been journeying with it for nearly a decade. From the first time I listened to it – sung by Thomas Quasthoff – my body reacted and tears sprung to my eyes. In 2011, I choreographed the cycle’s last song, “Der Leiermann” (“The Hurdy-Gurdy Man”), as part of my solo show Personæ. From that moment, I fell in love with the piece and the challenge of choreographing it as a solo. During my work, I drew substantial guidance from Ian Bostridge’s masterful book Schubert’s Winter Journey: Anatomy of an Obsession.

My Winterreise includes key elements that are continuous with my prior solo shows. One is the dancer waiting on stage, meditating, while the audience enters the hall. Another is the empty space with nothing but the costumes and a chair. A third is the covering of the dancer’s head, at moments of transformation or of observing the body in motion, unconstrained by personal identity.

Winterreise parallels the nature of the mind, which wanders constantly, consumed with its lacks and fears. It is through understanding his suffering that the wanderer finds solace, just as the mind finds solace when one learns to observe it with equanimity. The wanderer passes through stages of solitude, alienation, and enlightenment. Walking to a realization of his own mortality, the wanderer presents a perfect canvas for my dance. My journey as a dancer increasingly leads me to confront the presence of physical pain in my everyday life. I experience physical suffering and transform it into movement. In dancing Winterreise, I transform the calm behind the pain into poetry and inspiration for others.


Choreographer and dancer: José Navas
Music: Winterreise by Franz Schubert, lyrics by Wilhelm Müller
Musicians: Francis Perron (piano), Emmanuel Hasler (tenor)

Lighting design: Marc Parent
Costumes: José Navas
Fabrication: Sonya Bayer, L’Atelier de couture Sonya B. &Nathan Kong

Length: 1h10

Production: Compagnie Flak

Photos: Damian Siqueiros, Nina Konjini, Svetla Atanasova


COMPAGNIE FLAK (Nordic countries) - March 13, 2024 - CultuurCentrum De Spil, Roulers, Belgium - 20:00
  • CultuurCentrum De Spil, Roulers, Belgium
  • March 13, 2024
  • 20:00
COMPAGNIE FLAK (Nordic countries) - March 15, 2024 - CultuurCentrum De Werf, Aalst, Belgium - 20:00
  • CultuurCentrum De Werf, Aalst, Belgium
  • March 15, 2024
  • 20:00
COMPAGNIE FLAK (Nordic countries) - May 9, 2024 - Valspec, Salle Albert-Dumouchel, Salaberry de Valleyfield, QC - 20:00
  • Valspec, Salle Albert-Dumouchel, Salaberry de Valleyfield, QC
  • May 9, 2024
  • 20:00

A solo show that celebrates the importance of love and art.

Following his lineage of solo work, imbued with sobriety, abstraction, and simplicity, José Navas continues dancing his life on stage, as he has done for the last forty years.

This show comprises dance solos that will invite the audience into the personal story of José Navas and Bill Douglas. The two artists met and lived together in NYC and later Montreal, sharing life and art until the death of Douglas from AIDS in 1996. The culmination of this artistic relationship, “While Waiting” – choreographed by Douglas and performed by Navas – was recognized in 1994 with a Bessie Award (New York Dance and Performance Award).

The choreographer–soloist will perform on a simple open stage, set with three chairs. There will be movement in the space to the music of James Brown, Bach, PJ Harvey, Billie Holliday, Dorothy Moore and Erik Satie. He renews his longstanding collaborations with light designer Marc Parent and costume designer Sonia Bayer.

AVES is a luminous dance ritual of hope and optimism, Navas’ way to pay homage to Douglas.

Dazzling’: Jose Navas’ homage is an exceptional night of dance,  Andrew Fuhrmann on Fringe Festival Melbourne


Choreographer and dancer: José Navas
Lighting design: Marc Parent
Costumes: José Navas
Fabrication: Sonya Bayer, L’Atelier de couture Sonya B
Production direction and development: Adrien Bussy
Photos: Sasha Onyshchenko
Production : Compagnie Flak in coproduction with Theater im Pumpenhaus (DE)