|1979 to 2021
member of the Tanztheater Wuppertal
was born 1955 in Madrid, where she studied at the Real Conservatorio under Ana Lázaro, as well as with Juliette Durand, before completing her dance education in Zaragoza with Maria de Ávila. From 1976 to 1978 she danced at the Ballet Théâtre Contemporain d'Angers, where she worked with contemporary American choreographers. She moved to Paris to augment her classical ballet education by studying Modern Dance in Peter Goss’s studio. There she was discovered by Brigitte Real, who invited her to join her Ballet de Poche. In 1979 in Paris, together with her then boyfriend, later husband, Janusz Subicz, she saw Pina Bausch’s Tanztheater Wuppertal performing Bluebeard. While listening to a tape recording of Béla Bartók’s Opera “Duke Bluebeard’s Castle”. It was her first encounter with dance theatre and she was impressed both by this innovative form and by the emotional strength of the piece. More out of curiosity than in the hope of being taken on, they both attended an audition for the company. They wanted to meet the artist at close quarters. Against all expectations Pina Bausch hired both Panadero and Subicz, without knowing they were a couple.
Person and fictional character
Her arrival in the ensemble of strong personalities in Wuppertal began with new challenges, not least Pina Bausch’s way of working, asking her dancers questions. She soon settled into the new methods however. Together, Pina Bausch and Nazareth Panadero created a fictional character who made a mark on many pieces from 1979 onwards. She is a Spanish woman with a rolling R, speaking a fiercely pronounced, slightly abrupt German, telling jokes, or anecdotes invoking her grandmother, or delivering puns in a stentorian voice. She represents a cliché, yet demonstrates in the same instant that this is just an image. At all times, however, Panadero lets the person beneath show through. Her fictional character has many facets. She can play the tetchy, hysterical diva and then the vulnerable Lolita. She can scold or murmur, give angry rasps or low moans. Her humour is laconic and for just that reason spot on. Not that she simply skims the surface, however. ‘Good humour needs a tragic or bitter side, otherwise it has no depth,’ Nazareth Panadero says. With Pina Bausch she was able to explore many different sides to her personality – including the ones she didn’t live out privately, describing herself as shy. Over the decades in Wuppertal she retained this potential for discovering something new. She was part of the creation of nineteen productions in total, from Keuschheitslegende (Legend of Chastity, 1979) to 'Sweet Mambo' (2008) and gave them a unique quality, lodged deep in the memories of audiences.
Now she has started teaching her roles to younger dancers. She also repeatedly creates her own choreographies, such as the piece Nanna quiere bailar (1987), together with Janusz Subicz for the Festival Internacional de Teatro en Granada, as well as several duets with Michael Strecker. As a member of the ensemble she danced in new pieces by Tim Etchells, Alan Lucien Øyen, Richard Siegal and Jonathan Glazer. She recorded the song ‘Los Días Largos’ with Jun Miyake for Lost Memory Theatre – act 3.
She has been awarded many prizes. In 2000 she received the Premio Andorra, in 2014 the Spanish Premio Nacional de Danza and in 2019 the Medalla de Oro por el mérito en Bellas Artes.
Text by Norbert Servos
Translated by Steph Morris