Born in Valencia, Spain. Duato signed his first professional contract with the Cullberg Ballet in Stockholm in 1980 and a year later Jiří Kylián brought him to the Nederlands Dans Theater in Holland, where he was quickly assimilated into the company and its repertoire. In recognition of his achievement as a dancer, Duato received the Golden Dance Award in Schouwburgen, Netherlands in 1987. Duato’s natural talent as a dancer led him to begin exploring choreography, and his first attempt at it in 1983 turned into a major success: Jardí Tancat , set to Catalanan music by Maria del Mar Bonet won him the first prize at the International Choreographic Workshop in Cologne. In 1988 Nacho Duato was named Resident Choreographer for Nederlands Dans Theater alongside Hans van Manen and Jiří Kylián.
In 1995 he received the title of Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, presented annually by the French Embassy in Spain.
The Spanish Government awarded him the Golden Medal for Merit in the Fine Arts in 1998.
He won the Benois de la Danse at the Stuttgart Opera, one of the most prestigious international awards for choreography, presented by the International Dance Association for Multiplicity. Forms of Silence and Emptiness in April of 2000. In 2003, Duato became the winner of Spain’s National Dance Award, in the Creative category.
In 2010, he was awarded with the Chile Arts Critics Circle Prize and his choreography Na Floresta was nominated for the Golden Mask, Russia’s critics’ circle highest award.
Nacho Duato had been the Artistic Director of Compañía Nacional de Danza since June of 1990, when he was invited to take the position by the Instituto Nacional de las Artes Escénicas y de la Música of the Spanish Ministry of Culture. In 2010, he celebrated his XX Anniversary with the Compañía Nacional de Danza, leaving in July of that year. In July 2010, Nacho Duato announced that he would lead the Mikhailovsky Ballet as company’s Artistic Director from 1 January 2011.
His ballets form part of the repertoire of the most important companies around the world.