The film footage (images of maps, airplanes, a variety of locales - some exotic, some familiar) firmly establishes the theme of travel.
The movement poignantly embodies the impossibility of ever arriving at one’s final “destination”. The individual dancer’s movement vocabulary is lush and released, but is often contrasted with a cooler sense of geometric precision in the form of diagonal group formations. One of the most impressive aspets of this piece is that the projected images and the live images never seem to compete with one another. The peacefully co-habit the stage, resonating off each other in endlessly fascination ways.
Maria José Fazenda (dance critic)
“(...)the absolute protagonist here is again and always the body, which decline, through variants, in souplesse and with exactness, the choosen codes by Né Barros and by her interpreters for this ‘abstract’ creation and however ‘narrative’. In which sens? The boby relate with the ‘corporeality’, inscribing himself in spaces and in sonorous and luminous ambients, that establish a dialogue with the gesture that is never descriptive but before enigmatical and stratified of signification in the unfolding of the show sequences. The bodys of Vaga, between tact and dynamic groups contact, perform in an unknown location, without exact limits, where ‘reality’ steps in, by gestures and quotations, only through the video and the gestual manifestation of the dancers soul(...)”
On DIA MAIOR, time demands the fragmented dimension of physical emotions. Is there a supreme sense which encounters on moving bodies, vehicles of symbolical thought, his primordial support?
DIA MAIOR reveals a challenging sobriety, free from prejudice and inspiring movements, opening new spaces, so creatives as generouses, of reception and search, of analysis and questioning, ready to be occupied by the Other’s epiphany, in the confrontation of the multiple relations and sentiments, in the primary proximity intrinsically violent of the passion and in the social isolation of crowds that annul the individual facing is frustrated desire, consequently, auto-anthropophagic and hallucinogenic.
with many awakenings, many nights
Né Barros and Alexandre Soares have worked together for quite some time, but never as much as these days.
This time the musician was always in the studio with the choreographer and the seven dancers, participating in a process of “simultaneous composition” which would turn “Major Day”, the play that today and tomorrow will be presented in Teatro Carlos Alberto in Porto, a shared experience which became possible thanks a to a mutual “contagion”
“It was very important to be able to have Alexandre in the studio since the first day of work”, says Né Barros. “This permanent closeness has allowed us to optimise composition strategies. As we have collaborated in four creations, it was easy to understand when the music should influence the movement and vice-versa. There was always a very stimulating tension.”
In “Major Day” – choreography for seven dancers plus one (the musician) – Barros explores a series of “micro narratives” which translate common situations. “They are not reproductions of the every day, but moments the audience can relate to”, explains, supporting the idea that her dance does not seek to come close to reality, but create spaces of narration.
“In my works, there is always an appeal to the narration. There needs only to be a body that moves, as abstract it may be, for it to have a story to tell, the reference to a past and to a present. ”
Similarly with what happened in previous works as "No Fly Zone" or "Vaga", Né Barros started by defining a work device, in which “Major Day” is about the creation of an atmosphere of installation in which the musician and dancers share the stage. It followed a period of experimentation in which sounds and choreographical sentences were explored until we arrived a theme and composition structure aided by the improvisation to achieve its final shape. “My plays always have a flexible structure – there is a formal choreographic writing which every time leaves spaces of variation or improvisation.”
The result is a work in which the performers, in a group moment or in the intimacy of a solo or duet, explore the potentialities of a sequence or the effects of a repetition of movements, highlighting the irregularity of time. “Time is a construction. In this ‘Major Day’ there are many awakenings, many nights, without conventions of schedules or light.”
Slowly, says Barros, she composed “an extreme and strange dance” in which the opposition between reality/fiction is questioned from a very personal point of view. Unlike previous creations – where the experience is mainly collective – “Major Day” privileges the intimacy, supporting in a theme that goes through all the fragmentary action – the affective relationships. “All the performers, always on stage, are bound by relations of proximity or exclusion. It is in the web where all happens.”
"The traveller’s metaphor that we all are, even when we do not move" Né Barros's career blurs itself with the creation, in Porto, of the Balleteatro structure. Since the beginning of the 1990s she has been developing her unique career as a choreographer, which in the last ten years has been cross-culturing with the TNSJ, not only for the co-production of some shows ( the first was LM - Lady Macbeth in 1996), but also for her regular collaboration in some theatrical productions of this house, mainly as responsible for the coordination of movement. In this interview, the retrospective of her work serves mainly as a motto for exploring what is most important to retain: her ideas about dance, her very own aesthetic, the dichotomy between creations more rooted in a pre-existing support and others that tend to the more abstract.
RODRIGO AFFREIXO Né Barros's creations are fully registered in the panorama of contemporary Portuguese dance (for what they have of experimental, postmodern, transdisciplinary ...), but are also set apart from the work of other creators, for two fundamental aspects: a continuous and elaborate emphasis around the so-called "dance-dance" (always privileged relatively to other currents such as non-dance or dance-theatre) and a very own aesthetic universe, always coherent, very "scenic", something futuristic, permanently high-tech ... Do you agree?
NÉ BARROS I am pleased with the idea of my work being understood as "dance-dance". It's as if, somehow, my exploration of moving bodies made sense. That is, although one can recognize traces of some inspiration in various techniques, I try to create new challenges regarding the expressive potential of the gesture itself, knowing that this "in itself" is not an abstraction in relation to the individual who executes it. Therefore, there are always new questions in the analysis and composition of a body-in-motion. Dance, then, is not a mere adding of gestures, but the result of a crisis, that of how that body moves away or approaches a reference or a narrative, or how this body yields or resists an impersonality . "Dance-dance" exposes us to self-referentiality, meta-discourse, or a process of distance, but none of this necessarily subtracts us from intense emotions or experiences. They can give us the matter and the lenses to see, but there is still an inaccessible universe with which we have to live. All this can be lived with great intensity. My urgency is not in the objection as a goal. What I can say is that the restlessness, the need to see different and to respond more clearly is always present. I got used very early to appreciate and analyse the diversity and evolution of dance and the arts in general, and today we do not have a hegemonic object against which to react, at least from the point of view of artistic proposals. In this grand opening, where is the tradition? In the composition or in the gestural vocabulary? In communication strategies? Probably in all this, but it is absurd to think that the notion of composition automatically places us in the tradition. In another sense, I have always felt the stage as something very strange and with some rejection as a magic box or a trick machine. However, some of the things I explore most are perspectives and spatial relationships. Just as scenic objects or scenographies, when not non-existent, have a very specific function, they are thought of as presences with the same importance of bodies.
RA Taken from the programmatic intentions of the Balleteatro it is stated at a certain point: "A demand of contemporaneity of the dance. That will be translated by the updating of materials related to the body in motion and to the scenic and scenographic actors. Privileging the relationship with the 'theatre' - the text, the dramaturgy, the 'sound body' - some of the works presented also manifested the idea of installation through operation with other sources such as plastic arts, video, live music". It seems to me that this search is blended with the very aesthetic premises of your work, imminently transdisciplinary, that has been exploring, from the beginning, the deconstruction and the boundaries between real and fiction ...
NB The quote to which you refer to is more comprehensive, in the sense of trying to situate the diverse creations of the company through the proposals of Isabel Barros, mine and the plan of activities of the Balleteatro. But I do not have a "program" in the sense of creatively situating myself. In fact, I do not even think of such issues in more immersive work moments, such as rehearsals. Only later, and with some distance, does the analysis arise - which, for me, is one of the important and fundamental moments of the process. At that moment, yes, I am discerning and unravelling what is happening, not in a programmatic but functional perspective and related to the concrete object that is being elaborated. I let my poetics be a work in progress, felt and thought of by others as well. As far as my work is concerned, it is true that I question myself about the limits, ambiguities or ambivalences between reality and fiction. But this, as we know, is a false question as far as the arts are concerned. Neither in the cinema, which would apparently operate this dichotomy perfectly, this issue is quickly torn apart. Art is construction and from there the fictional plane is imminent. However it does make a difference, from one or the other notion. Interactive projects tend to break with the dichotomy between reality and fiction, but they do not solve it definitively. Another example: when we are experiencing movements, it makes a difference to question what is experience of a given action and what is the representation of that same action. In the exercise of both they cannot be distinguished, but the results are affected and differ according to the starting point. If we tend to represent the action, the outcome is more likely to become something mimetic; while starting from the idea of the experience of the movement itself allows to open unforeseen paths. What I mean is that ultimately we cannot escape representation and that there are issues that have been losing relevance, but having them present and aware in our creative positioning can make a lot of difference. A body, in its movement or in its immobility, is simultaneously an experience of that state and immaterial in what it evokes, it is an individual and it is an image in movement ... Dance, for me, is always born of this critical and indecipherable moment and becomes fatally close to the limits of representation. This is the plan that most interests me and deconstruction is both the process and a stage of a process for a new construction. I once wrote a short text in which I said that I have a first question and that was: what will happen to that body, there, alone? This question has, for me, the driving value of a discovery on a given condition of that individual and at that moment the dancing body does not yet exist, but from the moment I put myself into a problem I am generating a necessary drive.
RA This possible relationship with pre-existing fictional material - as it happened in LM - Lady Macbeth (1996), Sleeping (1997), or is now happening in With drooping wings - has been, in recent years, blurring in favour of exercises that are likely to the more abstract and refined around the movement (understood not only as mobility of the body, but as displacement in space, as travel). Thus, the tetralogy formed successively by Vooum (1999), No Fly Zone (2000), exo (2001) and Vaga (2003) - four variations on travel: travel, permanence, anything between the two (like a shuttle) and the wave (what goes back and forth, like the tides). Here lies the definition of its "movers", as it appears in the text of Vaga's presentation: "In a movement that goes from the crowd to the lonely [...] a new land of imperfect, incomplete inhabitants is being generated. My 'Movers' ". What will be your movements in this show-synthesis that you now propose?
NB The term "mover" is a neologism I use to name a little theory about the body in dance. But considering that, first of all, this theory is a direct reflection of a choreographic practice and questioning. I considered that the term should finally be attributed to what gave rise to it and that it began with the show Vooum. The reconstruction that I now propose allows to make a course: from the mass of bodies to the individual only (exo) - movement in closed circuit (No Fly Zone) - human landscape in movement (Vooum). This sequence moves in the direction of the closed to the open, from the dark to the light. But, for example, although this show as a whole does not anchor itself in a pre-existing text or material, it is possible to perceive a tragic and epic side that is usually found in other shows that you mentioned. However, I agree that we could distinguish two areas in my work: one of more textual and dramaturgic support, one more open on the themes or more abstract, if we want. In broad terms, the tendency has been or to use as a starting point pre-existent epic and tragic materials, textual which are exploited also musically, or starting points linked to human conditions in the urban, technological and artificial world. But these two tendencies do not follow a temporal regularity, either they arise alternately or consecutively as still with temporal gaps. I think that what makes me go back to pre-existing materials is almost like a need to limit myself and, in the first phase, to concentrate on understanding the other (author, composer, etc.). This feeling is, however, provisional because from a moment of creation the process becomes independent of the starting point, it is indifferent from a text or not. Another aspect that differentiates the works is the methodologies used in the process. When I start from Purcell's Dido and Aeneas, I have myth and music as the starting point and try to activate the story in the way that most excites me, which is always the provisional and tragic condition of the human and its connections. The aim of dramaturgy in With drooping wings was to intensify and explore new senses to moving bodies from the perspective of the tragic and also the epic myth of Dido and Aeneas. It was in this sense that I invited Filipe Martins to create a film that would act as an antechamber of a love story, with the aim of multiplying different ways of seeing the tragic. Or, for the show, Manuel Casimiro for his work as the "ovoide", where we would have the side of the negative, the strange, death or the symbolic, and Carlos Guedes for a musical-sound intervention with moments of interactivity, on the more technological side.
RA In the same text, Deleuze tells us that the actor never plays a character but a theme. For this, it is necessary that the actor be himself change, transmutation. 'This is, for me, the great subject of the dancer.' " I ask you to explore this idea, also referring to possible creators who influenced you decisively and in your method of working with the dancers.
NB The great question that Deleuze puts in this quotation is that of impersonality. The actor and the dancer have great affinities, but we could still extend the concept of actor to the social individual. The great challenge seems to be, in any case, that of our acting to be more in the evolutionary and progressive sense and less rooted and crystallized. In the case of dance, this matter is not only the result of a creative proposal but it is, above all, a real plan of work, be it with regard to the performer's own performative capacity, or to the construction of the universe of performance or performance. The term "mover" is directly involved with these issues. It is simultaneously concept and artistic figure, theory and fiction. Despite changing work-to-work methodologies, I could say that the work process I normally use with the dancers is influenced by everything I just said. Very quickly I would say that I associate a familiarity of gesture, where I am going through the experience of the movement and configuring it (not to figure it) to a concrete rewriting of the movement, through which the dancer tells, let us say, his story from the other. From what I am saying, I believe that some influences of the considered postmodern thought are perceived. But regardless of the labels, my influences come from different artistic and philosophical areas. As an example, I can say that I was interested in the study of the so-called postmodern movement of American dance, where I can highlight the creator Trisha Brown, for example; or the study of the choreographic proposals considered thing like created, like Schelemmer or Nikolais; or the study of theatricality and the processes of materializing new narratives, as in Bausch or, in a very different sense, in Bagouet. But, as I say, the influences are more in diversity than the specific ones of one or another creator. Just as I can neither appreciate the work of a creator and be interested in how he solved certain problems and presented new resolutions.
RA It can be said that you were able to create an almost permanent team of collaborators, both in the cast of dancers (there are almost chronic names, such as Elisabete Magalhães or Sónia Cunha) and the creative ones (Alexandre Soares or Daniel Blaufuks, for example). Is this complicity and permanence a guarantee of a work in progress or has it not been properly premeditated?
NB It is always premeditated, but it is not always a work in progress. My choices are always based on the sum of the specific artistic interests of each one involved in the construction of the show and human interests (I could not repeat working with confrontational people who are alien to personal and professional relationships). Basically, in a direct and basic way, I would say that I would not be able to work with people who do not respect art or whom I just do not like ... When I say that it is not always a work in progress, I mean that since I do not have a macro -project or a program, as I mentioned earlier, as a starting point, from work to work I tend to rethink everything again: the materials, the performers, the collaborators. When I repeat, it is because for each singular project that group of people makes sense. Repetition widens the networks of complicity and creates new connections between things. We all grow together and at times everything seems to make sense on the way to an even bigger and more global construction, but it may not be intentional and just the feel and value of a project ... Now there are times when it is rewarding working with people who know us and who already know how to predict what was not said or to anticipate it. This is what happens, for example, with Sónia and Elisabete: I have a privileged relationship with them, a relationship that has matured, both from a professional point of view and from a personal point of view. With Alexandre, the collaboration began in 1998 with Vooum and I chose him because he knew his work in very different environments from the show (actually, he had done with another musician, and many years ago, only a job for dance). I was interested in his kind of sonority and musicality and I thought it would be perfect for the project that I had in mind and that was linked to urban environments and travel. And with this show, our first joint work, I realized that there was still much to explore, I did not see its end ... Daniel Blaufuks entered this same project and also researched about his work and was also a collaboration that, in addition to excellent, I immediately opened up new ideas and questions for other projects. It was repeated in No Fly Zone again and it has only not happened more times due to work schedule impossibilities.
RA In the show text of Vaga, at a certain moment, you mention: "The compatibility, several times tested, of movement and music is mainly for the creation of a concrete space of movement, continuous, but also a space where one makes dance heard as well as the interruption and suspension of gesture and sound. " How has this process been unfolding with Alexandre Soares?
NB What I mean by this is that, in addition to my dance and Alexandre's music building a place and an environment with certain aesthetic characteristics, dance and music often result from the same presuppositions. As was the case with Vaga. Usually the end result of the different joint works, dance and music work as autonomous objects but together they create a coherent universe, even when they compete with each other. Continuity, suspension or interruption are not just supporting effects to anything greater, they are dance and music. But there is another tendency in our work, which is to enter into an infinite variation or a sequence in such a long way that it becomes increasingly material and less syntactic. Hence the interruption or suspension gain a special value in the composition.
RA I would like you to develop the general concept of this cycle, and tell us how this multiplicity of supports (cinema, dance-on-stage, performance, video installation) will articulate itself together.
NB This project, as a whole, has as its performative object the exploration of the intelligent landscape or the human as a landscape. We speak, therefore, of a dynamic landscape of a body in constant transmutation, whether the body in its movements as drifting over a narrative (With drooping wings) or the body in its purest and most disinterested movements (Movimentantes). From the point of view of a concept, this project could be thought of as a new space or as a sort of place, say, post-homeland. That is, a fictional place of figures which do not know where they come from and that are always in circulation. The traveller's metaphor that we all are, even when we do not move. In this project several aspects of the arts that interest me, are gathered, - music, cinema, the plastic arts - and its articulation is evidently subjective, but it was worked and thought to be clear in what you want to convey and make feel. I hope it happens.
After the unsettling “Vaga”, which besides having taken a great deal of cinema references, from Lynch to Cronenberg who populate my imagery, has asked a series of questions, as pertinent as unsettling, about the autonomous extensions of the body’s genetic memory with the cleaver use of the “suitcase-screen” and with a set of captivating and coherent choreographic constructions. In “Dia Maior” the experimentation, the watched abandonment, the escape to the shadows of time produced a more organic show, conducing the problematic of the inter-body relationships, space/time and communicability/identity through provoking, seductive and restless territories. In his fifth collaboration with Né Barros, Alexandre Soares comes to the stage, contaminating, since birth to death, Né’s most recent work.
Despite maintaining almost genetic references to the seventh art, so well expressed in the works of Canijo, the guitarist from the TTT feeds rupture movements with the preconceived, being the protagonist of chilling over-constructions, surprising by the dynamic and creativity of the “live act” pointing to several directions of the abstract, another territory which lures me greatly. "Dia Maior" results of several lesser days in perpetual reconstruction, interior/exterior, plural and one, dilated and compressed in micro-narratives of the solitary awakening, the conflict of body while object of a desire, symbol, emission of signs, to the epiphany of the Other, while last possibility of salvation in the discovery of the identity in the communication, in the transcendence, in the meta-physicality. A suggestion not to be missed, "Dia Maior" inaugurates tomorrow the programme 2005 of TeCA. Contemporary dance at its best, in the Teatro Carlos Alberto, in Porto, until Saturday at 21h30.
Segundo Plano flows from the orchestrated encounter between sounds, movements, light and bodies being supported by a network of free bonds. The “occurrence and converging stages” build a surreptitious dramaturgy which seeks to escape the obvious and the “radical fragmentation”. Thus, perhaps it would be more accurate to name this discrete landscape a procedure of illusions, which together with “hierarchy in the perception and meaning construction” produces changes in what we observe, yet still can balance these elements never allowing the audience to feel lost.
The choreographer is orchestrating what seems vague, rare and unattainable, having pleasure pulling the threads of possible narratives, shadows of characters and strings of ideas without ever searching, and well might I add, and without ever proposing a meaning. There are sounds that start on stage and are prolonged to the outside. There are chorographical sentences that move from one performer to the other without losing its nature and there are light games which open new areas leaving for the imagination what lies in the edges.
By giving the four performers (Bruno Teixeira, Joana Castro, Pedro Rosa and Sónia Cunha) an individual space that they must be able to fill in through the rarity of intentions, Né Barros gives them a space to explore the dramaturgy and their own body – white as a canvas, one could say, given the multiple potential bonds. It is mainly Joana Castro e Pedro Rosa who, in the brightness of their performances, best deal with the density of this play with the right angle in the movement ambition, intelligence in the narrative time management and richness by the subtleties of a construction that knows how to make the best of the tensions that stem from the different sources of inspiration. One of those sources is the soundtrack by Alexandre Soares, a fifth body also choreographed and which through sound – multiple and convergent – shapes atmospheres and spaces.
It is in the freedom of bonds between the “ambiguity areas” and in the less than obvious atmosphere set in the scene that Segundo Plano overcomes a dreamlike dimension, shuffles “the order of importance of things” and materialises in a sensitive shuttle, weaving a multiple and unique portrait of independent images of which Né Barros manages with a moving sensibility.
We could name With Drooping Wings, an opera of heterogeneity. Taking the classical myth of Dido and Aeneas, Né Barros persists in the search for the possibility of the contingent body, deprived of social identity, centred in the exteriority and stuck to the transitory. However, this time, the choreographer opposes the horizontalness of a magma of intensities which goes through the bodies and returns them to the unity of the multiple, a set of vertical images inherited from the western iconographic tradition. These images are offered to us as forces of cultural anchor, pockets of historical density or reservations of meaning capable of interfering in the process of de-structure that Dido and Aeneas, machine like and driven, compete.
The narrative of Aeneid, poem of propaganda commissioned by the roman emperor Caesar Octavius Augustus to Virgil, in the year of 19 B.C. – where the tragedy of Dido and Aeneas is included – sets off from the episode of the destruction of the city of Troy and ends in the episode of the foundation of a new city in the Lazio, which in the mythological order would become Rome. Virgil’s Aeneid is based in a cycle of metamorphoses, of deletion and surges which poses to us, before all others, the problem of the genesis of images and its history.
The meeting of Dido and Aeneas, who are recognised in the condition of exiled (she, who was also named Elissa, is a princess of Tyre runaway from her country to Libya, where she founds Carthage; he, a Trojan prince outcast after the looting and burning of his city ) is bred from the play of rediscovery of a body of images between two dispossessed of the heritage of maternal representations. Aeneas becomes emotional with the frescoes at the Temple of Hera, where the scenes of the Trojan War, seven years before, are reproduced. Dido, in her turn, is conquered by the stories of Aeneas which tell the ruin of Troy and his voyage through Thrace, Crete, Epirus and from Sicily until Carthage.
The exercise of historical translation, original source of images and mild, modest hallucination shared and “touched by the real” (as Roland Barthes is referred to the photography in its double nature of testimony and absence) is the first pleasure discovered by the lovers. The joint living of the war images – intimate and political experience, this is, private and public at the same time – begins an accelerated process of deindividuation. The lovers are taken by an erotic fever which makes them distance from the social place they occupy and transform the historical future which is theirs to take. Dido gradually becomes less responsible for governing Carthage (renouncement which will lead her to suicide) and Aeneas abandons the mission to found Rome. The matter gives way to energy in free circulation. Dido and Aeneas are transformed into bodies without organs, this is, as Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari defined, a body of libido immanence or in a plane of specific consistence of desire as mechanism of production, without reference to external forces.
Starting from the declared war to the organs by Antonin Artaud, the body without organs in Deleuze and Guattari (BwO, in the ironic formula of its authors) is not a notion, but a programme, a practice or a set of practices, as explained in Mille Plateaux/Capitalisme et Schizophrénie 2. Opposing itself to the interpretation, the ghost, the subjectivism and to the «semiotization» of the subject as a support against ambiguity, the ambivalence and the depravation, the body without organs is a body voted to the de-structure of the self and the image with those I identify with. Dido and Aeneas are then a body of flows non stigmatized in a representation, organised in stages (the plateaux) or fragments of the immanence, where the anarchy and the unity, by means of experience, are one and the same, in the unity of the multiple. « Remplacez l’amnèse par l’oubli, l’interpretation par l’experimentation. Trouvez votre corps sans organes, sachez le faire, c’est question de vie ou de mort, de jeunesse ou de veillessse, de tristesse et de gaieté. Et c’est là que tout se joue. »
In With Drooping Wings by Né Barros, I sense a will to update and radicalize the central problem of the Dido and Aeneas myth: if it is in the exercise of the images (between the optical and the mnemonic) that the lovers recognize each other, for what order of representation is the history of images forwarded when the lovers become pure desiring machines? The conflict is polarized between the body-machine (and the horizontalness of its work or, inversely, of an unregulated freedom) and the iconography (and the verticality in which the representations are presented).
Hence, the narrative progression – here served by the opera Dido and Aeneas of Henry Purcell – develops itself according to a double stress, either in the gradual restoration of a multitude and anomic territory (in which the bodies roam, accumulated in the machine like depletion and the absence of a collective organization), or the repeated surprise by the irruption of the epiphany in which we identify each time a moment of the history of the images (and particularly of the history of painting), which is formed with the same swiftness as it immediately disappears. In these episodes of convergence, basic but exalted, we recognise, inadvertently, the three graces of Botticelli’s The Spring, Michelangelo’s Birth of Man, the dawn parades of Apollo in some Italian baroque painting, a Narcissus looking for its own reflection in the banks of the space of representation, Géricault’s The Raft of the Medusa, the African masks and its influence over cubism and brute art.
In a space inhabited by bodies without organs as those of With Drooping Wings, crossed by the circulation of intensities that incite them, through new lines of escape, to the permanent «unterritorialization» (these bodies do not reinterpret the space but are violently transformed by the movement of crossing it), those epiphanies are presented as particular reservations of meaning and interpretation, conserved, if not for anything more, as advised Deleuze and Guattari, to oppose them to the very own system in development. In the dilution of the category of the self, with the consequent loss of place of enunciation, we observe the emergence of the principles of indexation or index devices as the flashing of images – or partial versions of images – which integrate the consciousness of our heritage, to a time, individual and cultural.
Dido and Aeneas stop being queen of Carthage and Trojan prince guided by the project of founding a new city in Italy, forget the images that drew them closer to embrace the mechanism of «reterritorialization » which is pleasure. The micro-perceptions and the micro-movements substitute the world of the subject, the singularities take the place of identities and the bodies without organs celebrate the disarticulation (or the coexistence of an infinity of articulations), the experience and the nomadic (activity of de-subjectivism which can be concluded in the immovable voyage of the walks of Dido and Aeneas through the city of Carthage) as ways giving life to life and the body to experience.
Only when Zeus finally decides to send Hermes on a visit to Aeneas, to remind him of His historical fate – to found Rome, substitute of Troy -, the lovers return to a rigid stratification and to the fascist risk, demented or suicidal that it entails in its organization, meaning and subjectivism.
Aeneas decides to retake his interrupted voyage and his mission, closing himself in a totalitarian and expansionist body. Dido, desperate, tries to convince the Trojan to wait for favourable winds to set sail with his fleet and allow her, a time of suspension in order to live less violently the new territorialisation («I ask for a dead time, rest and truce to my madness, while my destiny teaches me to endure the pain of defeat. This is the last favour I beg of you. »). Seeing her request denied and her love frustrated, Dido becomes initially a cancerous body of meaning which blocks the circulation of signs and stops the transition to another BwO. At the same time, she experiments a kind of radical hallucination which is a disturbance of the perception of exteriority (from then on, the sacred water seems cloudy, the wine is converted to blood, she hears the voice of her late husband, she dreams herself walking by endless paths in desolate landscapes) as a perception tormented by the body’s internal organs, in an endoscopic hallucination, by seeing herself consumed by grief.
Dido, overwhelmed by the violent de-territorialization, searches finally to produce an empty body, by means of a total symbolic destruction. She gets rid of all the small reservations of meaning that resisted the collapse of her relationship with Aeneas and asks for a burning pyre to be lit, where she places the weapons and all traces of her lover, including the bed where they had slept together. While the pyre burns, Dido lets herself fall over Aeneas’s sword, killing herself. The bodies of Dido and Aeneas are transformed into doubles (or caricatures) of a BsO. They crystallise. They die.
At the end of With Drooping Wings in which gradually the movement becomes rarefied and Dido appears to us dead in the vertical position (as she conserves, malgré tout, a cultural reserve), a huge ovoid invades the scenic space, final image which is linked to the idea of morphogenesis (as the ovoid with which Manuel Casimiro disturbs some images of the history of art, subtracted to the plot of our cultural matrix), but also, to the Deleuze egg, nucleus of the intensity at its highest degree of purity, the zero intensity, the spatio (instead of extensio). The egg is, to Deleuze, the point of fundamental escape between science and myth, between biology and cosmology and, in a process of ceaseless production, not located before nor after the events – as in the linearity of psychoanalytical analysis – but the subtle germinal contemporaneity between adult and child. The egg excludes all the hypothesis of projection and regression and exists – as in the universe of the images (the represented and entailed of the micro and macroscopy) – in a regression which does not promise redemption from the progress nor laments the lost paradises, but is invariably creative and contemporary.
If we propose the rereading of the myth of Dido and Aeneas under the perspective of the philosophies of difference – and I think the premise of With Drooping Wings goes in that sense – it is because even Aeneid remaining a celebration of Rome’s imperial power. To see in Dido Cleopatra and in Aeneas , Marc Anthony who defy Caesar (and are by him defeated in the maritime battle of Actium) or to take Dido as metonymy of Middle East and North of Africa, last dominations conquered by the Romans, is today a worthless exercise. More urgent it is to understand the project of the substitution of the beliefs by the images (that unite the lovers in an historical conscious and in a creative vortex) which makes Dido and Aeneas elements in a same process of heterogeneity which only fails by not succeeding in reorienting the pleasure for its most complex expression – the plane of immanence of intensity zero – and is extinguished when the bodies succumb, heavy, to the identity caricature of social representation.
At that time, the body was still a destination to where all the memories converged, in an attitude vaguely sweet, entirely oneiric
In the choreographical writing of Né Barros the body is always evoked as a territory at a time foreign and intimate, because replete of rhythms and gestures that are ours unique. Is a metaphysical body that infects the spectator by the desire of the unconscious and of the oneiric.
In “Solistas” we are one more time in presence of interpreters in absence of limits and that, constantly, recreate themselves in new personages, letting them be surprised with the possibilities of their own body. They learn to feel. They learn to speak.
Né Barros returns, in this work, to the strong and metaphoric images that characterize her so well, but do that in a pure form, with a limited contention, without any excess or unnecessary gesture. The stage breathes without fear of the emptiness and to the spectator is made an invitation to enter in this landscape for times playful and infantile, other times solitary and in discouragement. The interpreters/characters have abetter behaviour between them, in an empathy that, sometimes, reveals itself disordering .
“Solistas” put to us the problematic of the gesture and the limit of the body, assuming a subjective and intimate discourse which the imminent contact with the other assumes is most primary form, in making revive primary experiences of gratifications and affections. We assist to the questioning of the limits that found the subjective discourses, where the self universe of everyone conjugates in sounds and with a true without frontiers which is a collective (in)conscience. It is a plural and multiple universe which has as a paradigm the relation between the individual and the collective. This work is under the sign of the origin fascination where, constantly, it is questioned the relation between the thought, the feeling and the body, taking to the limit the search of the originary moment of this relation.
Né Barros, in the introduction of her new contemporary dance piece, Estrangeiros (Foreigners), premiered in Guimarães (within ECC2012), invokes the inspiration in The Foreigner (1942), one of the most importante books by Camus, in which he reflects the very essence of his vision of the world and of life, defined by the critics as ‘the philosophy of the absurd’. Camus’ The Foreigner wanders in the world in an inconsequent way, without any direction or meaning.
The sensation of total strangeness regarding the everyday life, its surroundings and the so-called reality flows from the text. And that i salso what we experiment in Né’s work, a continuous display of the absurdity within the body movements, the total strangeness that assists the less familiar movements, heavily explored in the piece. The performers unfold themselves, transform themselves, they shrink, they stretch, in unusual poses which awaken our senses and trouble us, all done in even less common rythmic movements, in kind of a staccatus of the bodily movement.
[...] the performance starts with six people on stage, holding five guitars and a bass, playing vigorously in a hard-rock rhythm, when the performers (Bruno Senune, Flávio Rodrigues, Joana Castro and Pedro Rosa) drop the guitars, while throughout the whole performance two musicians linger on stage (Alexandre Soares and Jorge Queijo) [...]
Behind the musicians a panorama runs, which lightens up from time to time and on which interactive scribbles are projected over a black background (by João Martinho), that continuously suffer distortions in a straight relation with the performers, whether from their movement or from their voice and moan.
Throughout the performance, the strings transform, evolving to heavier levels, almost reaching trash metal, resembling the sound of Metallica from the ‘80s, then going through moments of psychedelic strangeness, evoking the ‘70s science fiction, moving forward to moments of some of the purest electronic ambience, and culminating with the sonorous and sharp sound of a portuguese guitar. All this had, at the same time, the visual projection of shapes that interactively follow what was happening on stage, everything absolutely wrapped by a perfect Light design (Alexandre Vieira). [...] All this technical-artistical formality is served with excelent dance performances of the absurd, capable of making us feel involved ando f transporting us into an existential journey.
A startlingly effective drone runs through the new collaboration between Galician artist Xoán-Xil López and the trio Haarvöl (Fernando José Pereira, João Faria, and Rui Manuel Vieira) on the three stilling pieces on Unwritten Rules of a Ceaseless Journey. In 2019 to date, this is by far, my favorite record. It’s a bit breathtaking and hard to write about as I listen. The track The Pulsating Waves (Reality) calls for more of a lateral experience since the mediating tones are as sublime as subliminal. These works touch on three nearly intangible states of mind: utopia, reality and trauma – in that order. The first two really find a perfect balance even while referencing impossible texts such as The Utopian Function of Art and Literature (1964), and making references to “cataclysms of industry, rampant misery, naked exploitation, the ecological apocalypse“. Oh, such is the everyday.
Though their collaboration juxtaposes the sense of euphoria that comes with hovering drones by imposing the concept of all variants of time: past, present, and future. This work documents pieces composed for dance (Ballet Teatro‘s Revoluções) by choreographer Né Barros. Field recordings abridge electronics somewhere in the middle and the pairing of this quartet of creatives is genius. And by the end of the second part it’s as though we’ve been through some sort of industrial cleansing.
As Don’t Look Back, Run (Trauma) opens somewhere in the darkened orchestral corners, the setting sort of falls to the depths of the soundstage as if falling away into space. The bare bones percussion is uniquely minimal and the waveform is set back, drifting moderately. About one-third through you hear what sounds like strings calling out, wavering a bit as if sending an encoded distress signal. López has taken this amalgamated tale to a secret place while upending the tension with the harmonics of Haarvöl. While a rotor seems to be at play the bereft refrain continues through until nearly the end, and after fading from earshot the listener is left with something pressurized that seems to be sinking away into some sort of watery depths. You can easily imagine bodies (dancers) undulating into darkness.
ON APRIL 8, 2019
Sobre um Sol Subterrâneo
Published in Público – Peças Soltas
At the party that marked the establishment of Balleteatro at the Coliseu do Porto, Né Barros, Alexandre Soares and Flávio Rodrigues celebrated their sun worship with this show (premiered at Constantino Nery, at the Cena Contemporânea festival). And I wrote some words of appraisal to the artists:
SOBRE UM SOL SUBTERRÂNEO [UNDER AN UNDERGROUND SUN]
To go inside Coliseu and run it as if it were a child, as if it were one of the dozens of children that circulated in the space on that day of the Balleteatro's inauguration there, to enter that room where an orchestra before played and the couples danced more or less clinging together, imagining a version of O Baile, by Ettore Scola, going in and meeting a guitarist and a dancer covered with a golden, or almost golden, cloak glittering from the inside, sitting on the floor and waiting - all this prepared the experience to come, the act of watching this creation by the choreographer Né Barros, with the musician Alexandre Soares and the performer Flávio Rodrigues, a kind of proof, the demonstration of the existence of an Underground Sun.
Then, I would read in the program that the title of the show is due to a poem by Luís Miguel Nava:
O sol é subterrâneo, aquele a que eu
me quero hoje estender é o do meu espírito, é preciso
cavar bem fundo até o fazer surgir.
[The sun is underground, that to which I
Want to lie is that of my spirit, it is needed
To dig deep until it may come.]
At that moment, my experience had already been constituted in such a way that the words of the poem seemed to translate what had happened. Since the sound and the movement in that space had put me in communion with the performers through the sharing of that invisible, hidden, alchemical sun, of each one, and what I had seen out of two artists pulling their lives out of the earth with their hands, light in all forms. The program also read that “this choreographic and musical project finds its order and disorder between the open sky and the most intimate and deep cry”. It was then that I was converted. These words described what happened to me. I had just participated in a ceremony to initiate a sacred cult of the physics of celestial bodies and subatomic elements. Orphans of shamanism, contemporaries have to reinvent that original contact with the inner sun, and relearn alchemy to discover the philosopher's stone that is each of us and, at the same time, all of us are. The Coliseu already seemed to me a temple of the occult sciences, at the turn of the XIX to XX century, in which dance, bombing and astrology madly intersected itself.
Mysticism has limits. My base is material. The two performers showed not only their vast repertoire, and their total mastery of their respective artistic languages, but also what they don't have and what they don't know yet. Let me explain myself: exploring their technical skills to go further, beyond perfect execution, in order to discover other things, they opened up the field of possibilities of musical form and choreographic form, allowing here and there glimpses of what was until then invisible in the experience of the world. I speak of the concrete experience of the world, both of bodies in motion on the streets and in institutions - schools, cafes, shopping centres - that are seen in the media - cinema, TV and internet - as well as in more or less spontaneous sounds and noises, more or less artificial, that populate our day-to-day, our dreams, our shared imagery. The show took place covering all possible dimensions of the body and instruments, all images of the male body in effort and propulsion, from sport to fighting, from sex to dance, and the entire auditory spectrum, chords, noises, crystalline notes, with a soundtrack that left that function and category to take on the role of acting and co acting - let alone because there was also a composer and performer, in dialogue with the scene and the other performer. And it was when walking this path, when generating this flow, that the quantum field emerged, where this underground sun shines, and where the choreographic poem joins the original poem.
The guitar in distortion as tension and release, running, jumping, repetition, in short, countless other aspects of this creation, are like elementary particles of vitality in art, non-verbal articulations, placed in the same place as the voice, that thing that it is no longer a body and it is not yet speech (as the anthropologist Joaquim Pais de Brito puts it), elements whose combination causes what was hitherto only embers of this ancient inner fire, which consumes us, from which we keep going away over and over again when we mortify ourselves, a fire that burns with euphoria, it reduces us to the raw material, also it makes us return, again and again, from the ashes, ploughing fearlessly.
No próximo dia 23 de outubro, no Cine-teatro de Torres Vedras, a coreógrafa Né Barros apresenta CO:LATERAL, uma peça produzida pelo Balleteatro em que a luz impregna o corpo da intérprete Sónia Cunha em ritmos digitais concebidos por João Martinho Moura.
O Balleteatro – dirigido por Né Barros e por Isabel Barros - tem na História da dança contemporânea em Portugal um lugar incontornável, permanente e persistente, não apenas como espaço de criação e de miscigenação de linguagens, mas também enquanto lugar de formação. Desde 1983, data da sua fundação, mas sobretudo após a sua reestruturação nos anos 90, há que reconhecer o impacto assinalável na formação dos artistas da dança e da performance sobretudo no norte do país. Trata-se pois de uma verdadeira incubadora em
artes performativas, versátil e atuante.
Neste contexto, Né Barros tem uma longa e persistente carreira na exploração da linguagem da dança, trabalhando-a a partir dos corpos, das suas imensas possibilidades de movimento, mas também combinando-a com linguagens de outras disciplinas, como o teatro, a música, as artes plásticas e o cinema, e finalmente ensaiando novas ferramentas. Para tanto, no processo criativo, Né Barros pode partir e combinar referências literárias, plásticas, científicas ou filosóficas e colaborações de outros criadores.
As duas peças de que aqui se dão notícia ilustram o trabalho exploratório da coreógrafa. CO:LATERAL é, conforme já foi referido, uma proposta que, graça sàs novas tecnologias digitais e à manipulação de software de luz e vídeo para palco, proporciona a imersão do espectador em fluxos de pontos, linhas e formas. Nesta peça, a referência ao cisne, figura emblemática do ballet clássico, transmuta-se em fotões trémulos e breves. Com efeito, tratando-se de um projecto em formato mutável (capaz de variar em cada apresentação), a versão programada para o teatro-cine de Torres Vedras evoca momentos da morte do cisne, imerso num espaço imaterial de luz e projeção.
A outra peça de que aqui se dá notícia é IO, estreada no dia Mundial da Música, 1 de outubro, e programada para ser apresentada a 4 de dezembro no âmbito do 20o aniversário do festival Dans6T, em Tarbes, França. Trata-se de um trabalho que nas palavras da coreógrafa se move entre “Paisagens, Máquinas e Animais”. O título IO transporta-nos para uma das grandes luas de Júpiter, agenciando simultaneamente uma gravidade, uma temperatura e um magnetismo não terrestres. Evidentemente que, sendo a peça feita sob o efeito da nossa gravidade, o processo de agenciamento resulta de artifícios gerados pela combinação de sonoridades (compostas por José Alberto Gomes), do dispositivo cénico (de Flávio Rodrigues e Né Barros) e dos movimentos dos intérpretes Beatriz Valentim e Bruno Senune. Da simbiose desses elementos resulta uma experiência que transporta o espetador para outros mundos sem sair do mesmo. O extremo vulcanismo de IO, visto pelos olhos dos criadores, reflete-se num triângulo de arestas efémeras, duplicado num reflexo que desafia a divisão entre o que está acima e o que está abaixo. Este espaço, repleto de sons magnéticos, contém fluxos, capazes de perfurar arestas e desvanecer formas. Nesta atmosfera, o início da peça mostra como o simples ato de abrir os olhos ganha uma intensidade perturbante. Então, todos os gestos dos corpos, amplificados e dialogantes pelas sonoridades permanentes (como permanente seria a presença tutelar de Júpiter), revelam-se zonas de intensidade.
in Jornal de Letras, Artes e Ideias
"Chorégraphe, danseuse et cofondatrice du Balleteatro de Porto, Né Barros signe un ouvrage singulier. IO est le premier volet d'une série née en 2019 intitulée Paysages, Machines, Animaux.
Sur le sol du plateau un parfait triangle de poudre blanche compose une scénographie extrêmement pure. C’est tout d’abord dans cet espace que Beatriz Valentim et Bruno Senune interprètent une chorégraphie dont les corps expriment un coté sauvage et animal. Accompagnés en direct par le saxophoniste Henrique Portovedo, les deux excellents danseurs se lancent dans une joute où la femme évoque son indépendance et sa puissance. Le son du saxo baryton apporte une sublime voix supplémentaire à cette dualité.
Une danse très souple, un jeu des corps parfaitement maitrisé alors, qu’en s’éloignant du triangle, les interprètes étalent cette étrange poudre. En décollant le scotch qui définissait la figure géométrique, Beatriz Valentim l’élève au dessus d’elle et fait apparaitre une parfaite pyramide.
Une pièce étrange, envoutante, très esthétique qui interroge sur le rapport homme/femme avec une note très personnelle de la chorégraphe portugaise.
Sophie Lesort / Danser Canal Historique
Crossing the body with exteriorities, with worlds to come. Resize the human step to strangeness and enchantment, voluptuousness and vulnerability, indetermination and perplexity. The series Paisagens, Máquinas, Animais, [Landscapes, Machines, Animals], by Né Barros, unfolds and multiplies itself in IO (2019) and Neve [Snow] (2022), and soon, Quinta-feira à Tarde [Thursday afternoon] (2023). With different choreographic writings in its axial reading, the steep space-time verticality in IO contrasts with the transient horizontality in Neve. In both works, the plasticity incorporated by the interpreters is of an excellent and torn performance, of flows of mismatches and weaknesses, of shallow and wandering flights. In Neve, there is a succession of architectural and affective dimensions mediated by transduction processes through the various multidisciplinary collaborations of Né Barros. The mutability of FAHR 021.3's scenic device, in conjunction with José Álvaro Correia's light design, is of subtle and unbounded minimalism, setting the theatrical machine with plans and clippings, as an endless resource of evocation of private and public spaces, fictional and abstract, for different human scales and openings to the world. Carlos Guedes' musical composition exposes us to cycles of compression and entropy, multiplying by different atmospheres and sound rhythms. Sometimes they are of a centrifugal absorption, expanding and sacralizing the spatial device to other temporalities, at other times we forsake ourselves in the mind-blowing musical and melodic breaths of the piper, who occupies a leading presence of importance, sometimes by suspending the transition between landscapes, tracing possible paths, at other times in the sound spatialization of harmonies that expand the elasticity and affectation of spatial design. In this broadcast between spaces, the bodies of the interpreters are disengaged to be inhabited in a journey in incessant perseverance in the ephemerality of the gesture, in a movement of one direction, but of multiple senses. Without looking back, without a re-evaluation of their positions, these bodies trigger and process the synergy of the scenic device in multiple landscape cartographies. What is a landscape? How did we see it and live at the same time? How does it experientially constitute itself? Here, the discursive practice of Né Barros questions, disconcerts and indisciplines the perceptibleness of the gaze, to return to see what we do not see as we have not yet seen, instigating perception as a performance in itself.
There is a nomadic presence in these bodies, a kind of ostentation of compounds of wandering and volatile poetic experiences, in which they evoke different territories, coming from the inflections generated by the intersection curves between music, scenic device and dance. The interpreters, Beatriz Valentim, Bruno Senune and Afonso Cunha, on the move and displaced, unveil the extensibility of the spaces with shallow flights to the crystallization of what is recognizable.
Restless and resilient, they remain porously as snow, absorb, but do not alter the form or physical state with what is external to them, they are this exteriority and eloquently synthesize their own experiences, evoking memories reminiscent of other temporalities, transforming them into images not appeased and intermittent. In displacement, it is observable in the performance of the interpreters a delirium with the experiential archive of their bodies.
These do not petrify their gestuality, but overflow in themselves movement and images, that is, they heavily reiterate their differing experience and configure the dynamic constitution of a landscape. In the filmic planes of Filipe Martins, one can see the excessiveness of these bodies in the transfer to the real fictional. They are absorbed as openings for sensitive horizons and restored by the edges that the intimate meets the landscape, the exterior slows the journey and the memory resists the theater. Snow extends in this multiple transience of moving images, in which, with the design and implementation of a transchangeable scenic device, choreographic writing proposes to reverse the escape point of the landscape, as if the look came from far to near, in inverted vertigo, expanding the feeling of almost-landscape in a duration of something to come.
The series Paisagens, Máquinas, Animais began with IO, a piece that premiered in 2019, at the Coliseu do Porto, and which maintains several points of contact with Neve. However, it gives a whole other opening to this series, in which the bodies as a landscape are enunciated in particular as carnal, dysfunctional and mythological. In IO, the scenic device integrates the audience on opposite sides, and the interpreters are permanently on stage, without inputs or outputs, besieged in the scenic space and proposing a reading of the piece in its verticality, stratified by the different temporalities, which sink us when the Animal invokes the body and lifts us when the Machine invades the body.
As in Neve, interpreters are located in transit, indeterminate and uninterrupted, but in IO the power lines of choreographic writing are centripetal and intensify the magnetism of the repulsive attraction between the two bodies. When they meet, the sense of gesture of each one does not find its end in the other, it disarticulates. This incommunicability in the appeal of the body to the Machine and the Animal, between Beatriz Valentim and Bruno Senune, persistently oscillates between sensually crude and primitive qualities, and in parallel, detached and empathic. The musical composition of José Alberto Gomes mythicizes these corporeal properties through the timbre’s manipulation of a baritone saxophone, and leads the two interpreters in a hypnotic and propulsive drift of the indices that both lead us to a speculative future of technological fiction, as to a common ancestral past.
And it is in the overlap of these two temporalities that the scenic device of Né Barros and Flávio Rodrigues is conceived, consisting of geometries and raw materials, making triangles that erode with time, vibrant lines and other relational configurations between the bodies and the exterior. Throughout the piece, the bodies accumulate in their skins the traces of wear and iteration with the scenic elements, acculturated by the permanence in this space from gestures that are traces of other temporalities. What was initially a place, two vertical bodies within a triangle, in the end, becomes landscape, a surface of transference flows between place and body, experience and memory, perception and dance. The multidisciplinarity of the choreographic devices, which Né Barros structures for his dizzying and dizzying landscapes of this series, is incredibly complex and dialyctic, of an enthralling obsession with dance as a power, and privileges, above all, an emancipatory place to the spectator, calling him to claim his sensitive and political experience in an open plane, in a space of perception and thought of a being in the world. The openness, instability, fragility and brutality with which the performativity of his choreographic writing becomes visible lies, here, in the paradox of excess being its interior, in which the body expands and demultiplies as a diffractive surface of its exteriorities.
* Curator, teacher and choreographer.
1. Where does the word interpretation stand in the evolution of a Dancer?
The scope of interpretation is, as we know, very vast and complex. We tend sometimes to reduce it to the powers of execution by associating them with a more or less singular expressiveness. However, interpreting, in my opinion, requires much more because it demands the creation of a universe for that gesture, for that dancing body. There is a sort of microfiction that develops and connects with a set of gestures, making the value of the gesture inseparable from its history. In the background, a specific memory is generated with a given act. This memory is what will allow you to rescue these gestures even if it is long after you have performed them. For me, this process should be there from the first moment you start working. Starting with improvisation or a rewriting of choreographic material, an environment, a tone, and a force that will guide the entire performance needs to be installed right away.
To interpret, in this context, is to understand in a different way what is asked of us and to transform this information into something intimate and subjective.
2. What qualities should a Dancer / Interpreter have?
One of the qualities that choreographers appreciate is undoubtedly availability. To be open is to be attentive and curious, but also to yield in our personality. There was a quote from a philosopher that I like very much, Michel Serres, who said that to dance is to give way to the move and the place. Yielding also in the narrative we create about ourselves is fundamental in this act of interpreting. Trying to conquer, is not necessarily neutral, but a limbic state of being able to become “other". Of course having the ability to dominate the body technically, to be able to use the body defiantly, not just virtuously, but to challenge the body in its habits and Customs, is a quality that I appreciate as well. I never look for bodies with certain defined characteristics a priori, I am more interested in the complexity of the individual. But I could say that speed of understanding the problems that are established in the choreographic process is also something that I appreciate very much, in particular, if this understanding materializes in anything that surprises me. It should be noted that depending on each poetics, the qualities that are sought in dancers will be different.
3. Is the act of interpreting a choreographer's play subjective? Does it depend on the choreographer's method of which it is creating the play?
When it comes to art, we can only approach issues from a non-positivist point of view. The most identifiable execution can be measured with some precision from body design, type of progression or dynamics. However, this execution is only one layer of the interpretation, I would not say a first level because there is not necessarily a before and after, a step exactly before another step. Sometimes evolution is made of simultaneities, by leaps or by advances and setbacks. It said, the final performance, the matured state is an individual and creative journey. The discussion about interpretation in dance can only be approximate.
4. Do you consider a Dancer/Interpreter and also a creator/composer of movement?
I think with the previous answers you can see that yes, I consider a dancer a creator. The degree to which the dancer revises himself as a movement composer can vary. Some choreographers work more with material that they prefer to transmit more directly, and in this case, the dancer realizes this material at the limits of his potential, recreating and adapting it, this is applied creative intelligence, it is creation. Other choreographers even work from material that dancers produce in successive improvisations, producing movement as creation. In these cases, it is absolutely clear the role of the movement composer that the dancer has, even if the final object is divergent from the one performed. The choreographer has a primordial matter that is the body in movement, the body in gesture, this body immediately defines the limits of the choreographic path or even the nexus of the composition. It is necessary to realize that the final composition is made up of several and multiple types of composition.
5. How do you consider your personal evolution in this path as a Dancer/Interpreter and how has it developed till today?
I consider my work as a choreographer to be closely linked to that of a dancer. Although I chose very early to be mainly outside the stage, all my aesthetic and choreographic Experience finds an engine in my body. As a working process, I perform a lot of Solo improvisations and analysis. When I am with the dancers, I work on a method that I have developed and that I call it the familiarity of movement where the construction of a visual and experiential memory of the movement is at stake.
6. When did you notice that your true authenticity in the movement started to flourish? Which tools/strategies, if any, have you used to evolve from this point forward?
My main research was and is to understand what a body in dance can do in the domain of making and representing the world. We know that from the point of view of the real, the documentary part can find other artistic areas and other more effective approaches, such as in cinema, for example. In dance, this documentary-real side lives above all at the level of the inwardness of the performer. Thus, my research led me to the landscape and the intelligent landscape as fundamental notions that brought the realities of the real and the fictional (dancing) closer together. As an optimum of representation. Dance has no territory and hence the importance I found in the notion of landscape as a link from the real world to the world of representation. From a more pragmatic point of view, I could say that after realizing what my preferred zone of exploration of the dancing body was, from the point of view of dance techniques, I tried to develop working methods that would allow me to multiply the possibilities about a body in its movement, make it a more unpredictable body, and about the place of the body in the landscape. My main concern was to find the right environment that justified that body in that movement. Creating a universe of my own and related to what was being produced, was my main focus. Of course, there are always stories, memories and experiences that create the place where we will move, but the transformation of these experiences will generate other places, so authenticity is always the result of transformations of what we cross paths with.
There are unobtrusive paths that move away from the sound of the street. They are close to the noise of the world. They soon learned that dancing is a possibility to live. It is not enough for them to speak the same language. They do not allow themselves to shut off in communication. They are like the bodies that lurch. They fork and fall apart. They prolong transmutation. They don't limit the danger. It's like expecting too much from someone. Sometimes it's a leap off the cliff. Traces of the Nietzschean adventure - to eliminate the will and the passions would be to castrate the intelligence.
Interrogate corporeality. Plurality and chaos. A work of self-writing that articulates the critical complexity of matter, space and movement. Impure connection. Movimentantes. The reality of dance. A place for estrangement. A mismatch. Long years for a long story. This is the choreographic work of Né Barros, whose percourse intersects with the history of contemporary dance presented in Porto and of which it is one of the pioneers and protagonists. Knowing that art has no geography, its artistic program affirms itself as an excess that overflows the present and any territorial limit. Drifts to indeterminate bodies. Time as a voice that comes to us from the background.
EDUARDA NEVES The French choreographer Jerôme Bel1 said in an interview that it was when he saw Philippe Decouflé2, at the time of the opening and closing ceremonies of the Albertville Olympics in 1992, the same year in which two of his best friends died of AIDS, that sudden awareness of death conhe never backed down from his desire to be a choreographer. Also Hervé Robbe3, at a roundtable moderated by Catherine Millet at the Théâtre de la Cité Internationale on 15 November 2014 art press, stated that his desire for dance was born from the practice of this vacant lot, a playing field, a space in which we invent great crossings, in which the floor is mobile and produces cavities. Can you identify a moment in your biography that triggered a similar decision or experience?
Né Barros With the two examples you cite, we are facing two types of approaches to dance. One, if we will, more than positionsthe need to act for concrete reasons, even more political appeal. Another is through a more sensitive, speculative way of exploring an open concept and an enigma.
My desire to be a choreographer is born a lot from this tension between these two points of view: a body that does not give up its sex, race, etc., does not, if we will, abdicate its ethical dimension, and, at the same time, allows it to reinvent itself, to metamorphose itself, to be a thing, to be a place, to be a sort of writing. This is where, for me, the challenge lies and it will lead me to a decision. This was the solution to resolve a dance that was often conflicted within me. I needed to find a way to rediscover the attraction to a moving body that I would have intuitively found when I went to a ballet class as a child.
From a more pragmatic point of view, indeed there are often events, and situations, that trigger something that was already incubated or even started, a ground that was somehow sown. These moments function as an awareness of what will accompany us for a long time.
I would say that, in my case, in my late adolescence, and early adulthood, there were a set of situations that led me to decide on dance, instead of the Faculty of Sciences where I was. It was in a phase of withdrawal that, among other things, I saw a show that marked me, in a pavilion at Garcia De Orta high school, by Merce Cunningham with John Cage4. There, I realized that dance belonged to me more than I had imagined, the body in motion became so powerful to summon multiple senses, but mainly because it was a reunion with art. It is in this territory that we are reborn.
Your body of work is, from the outset, markedly transdisciplinary and wide-ranging. This fact is not only expressed in the artists who have collaborated and collaborate with you (I would even say from almost all artistic territories) but because you imply in your choreographic writing a multiplicity of practices, a sort of hybridity, (ranging from Film, performance, Dance, Theater, to music, instalation, sound, photography and digital art) that sometimes bring your scene closer to a kind of laboratory. Will it be so?
The resources for the different artistic disciplines in my works are almost always born from the need to create competing, parallel or complementary layers depending on each project. For instance, when I think of Muros or Neve, for various reasons, the stage architecture, signed by João Mendes Ribeiro (Muros), entered here as a possibility of intensifying an idea of structure, of limit and obstacle, or of a ceiling that is a false sky and that can be transformed into walls and even into a floor, as in the Neve, whose scenography is signed by the FAHR 021.3 collective.
If you think of Million5, there was an important notion that it was a territory that disappears due to the loss of population and, therefore, the giant foams of the plastic artist, Patrija Gilyte, were explored by me as floating plates and that could accompany the movements of bodies or, very provisionally, serve as an uncertain and fragile floor and wall. In No Fly Zone6, with Daniel Blaufuks, the photographic image is trapped in rolling boxes of light parallels in contrast between the flow and isolation of people in artificial areas where flying is not possible. The play Lastro was associated with the idea of catastrophe, of the catastrophe that spreads and alters bodies. “Lastro” [Ballast] was the word for that which expands leaving a trace, which marks and builds memory, but also for that which sinks bodies.
The scenography of Cristina Mateus with the music of Gustavo Costa intensify this subjective place. Under a false sky, whose colour changes from white to red, the bodies will dance two cycles, in an almost repetition where only the appearance of these bodies changes radically, dressed in a mundane way to the mud that will cover these half-naked bodies. This sky will eventually fall on them, masking their existence. In this near-repetition, the sound pursues the idea of a continuum with non-obvious changes, thus creating the feeling of a non-progress. With the Haarvöl collective, in Revoluções, we work the revolutions in the form of visual and sound reverberations, passing through icons, but without fixing ourselves. The show functioned as a container where multiple artistic and social revolutions coexisted and were summoned. The chronology gave way to utopia or the theatrical place where everything will be possible. And, in the end, to the sound of Steve Reich's play, Pendulum, the bodies return to nudity, return to the initial trauma of nudity.
I am always interested in each participant having their own autonomy and that, to an extent, it can exist by itself. They are pieces that meet and are linked, that are part of the same time and place, but can leave at any time and continue in their isolation. In every project I do, I always have to imagine a version performance; in each show could identify the corresponding performance version. I have even done this with some projects, for example, Solistas 17, Vaga 18, No Fly Zone.
In this transmutation, we can think of the idea of a device for this modus operandi. I like to think of the idea of a device not only as a conceptual operator, but also as something material and effective, where the device serves both to think about contemporaneity and to test new connections and generate new spaces for creation.
One of the conflicts that I felt for a long time – and that, somehow, I still subliminally feel – was the reduction of the theatrical machine to a concrete space that is that of the stage of an “Italian-style”theater9, like the “house” that has evolved, but that is centuries away from us. Therefore, this place must be tested, transformed, confronted with languages from different eras and contrasted in its architecture. Basically, all the performative expansions throughout the twentieth century come in this sense, in that of a revision, direct or indirect, of this traditional theatrical place. One must perceive the theatrical machine not as something tied to space, but as a device. It is necessary to inhabit it for a longer time, which is rarely possible...
In your works, the existence or necessity of a dramaturgy is not always verified because the strength of the process assumes a mobilizing capacity and the performance seems to assert itself as a methodological possibility. I think you are interested in thinking about the nature of the gesture and finding its extension in the way you organize the visual field, operating a certain scenographic mapping that also contributes to formalising your choreographic program. I would say more, in certain cases, perhaps with more vigour in the performances, it is the limit of the choreographic or, if you prefer, the choreographable, that constitutes your combat space.
The limit of the choreographable is a good way to situate my work process. There is the possibility of writing that challenges your own formalization. There is a desire to make the formless coexist with the choreographic, or the gesture that competes with the other disciplines. It is in this tensional and elastic space that this dancing body can emerge.a quasi-sign or a person without identity, to recall Giorgio Agamben. In fact, the philosopher would say that Kleist would have graspped very well that a relationship with a zone of non-knowledge is a dance.
I like to think of my rehearsals as performance moments, so I try to get the performers to have the material they can work with as quickly as possible. In this process, the production of movement and situations occurs by what I call familiarity of movement. I am producing material and the performers retain what was left in their immediate memory. From there, a second level of composition begins.
The term “familiar " allows to maintain a kind of movement genetics, a matrix where similarities are perceived and differences between gestures are maintained. Posso dizer que esta foi uma estratégia que fui desenvolvendo e que me permitia trabalhar com a imprevi- sibilidade, a multiplicidade dos corpos, a inadequação do gesto perfeito e reproduzido. And this, without losing cohesion or a nexus in the final product. (This process finds some affinities with Wittgensteinian” family similarities"; something I realized later). Curiously, the term dramaturgy turned out to be imported into dance and become a key term which allows us to intensify a whole pro-textual plan in the work or, at least, work dance as a language or as a more signic dimension, if we want. In this dramaturgical dimension, there is a game, which I would say is more extrinsic, and where the dimension of the familiar, to which I referred earlier, is also a game, but at a more intrinsic level. Although the expression of dramaturgy of movement is expanded to the maximum, to account for the performative variants and the performative body, it cannot be detached from a certain state of representation, from an action with a purpose.
In a reflection I had the opportunity to make10, I preferred to speak of dramaturgy of the body and not of movement. The difference, here, would be methodological, because the body would summon much of what is needed to think the gesture in a regime of reference and clarity and, in some way, to resist the enigmatic. (Perhaps resist such a zone of non-knowledge, that is when the enigmatic is not knowledge and is dance, as we have just alluded to Kleist).
At the same time, it launched another operational possibility, that of the cartography of the body, allowing, in this aspect, that the body could enter a function less of a situation and more of action and displacement. I can say, and coming back again to your question, that most of my work is in this kind of cartographic approach. Except for L. M. (Lady Macbeth)11 or A História do Soldado, which are works where there is more of a dramaturgical logic, both have written text. Dramaturgy, cartography, or even an open notion of the score are assumed as important operative strategies for contemporary dance.
I might add that I am interested in composition. There is, sometimes, a certain historical prejudice in assuming the composition because it is associated with the fixation of choreographic writing, too often overlyframed. However, this is reducing the term to a certain functionality. I'm interested in composition more in a day-grammatical sense, perhaps, and less as a closed program. I remember that in Exo, a play I did for Ballet Gulbenkian12 an essayist told me I was too experimental in composition. He only told me that when the play was ready. In the meantime, there was likely some restlessness because I take time to “close” the play. During the process, I need to test, hypothesize, destroy, twist, and create new scenarios for a body... feint predictability. While I'm on the wave, I'm safe
The relationship between the body and technology is one of the axes of reflection transversal to your journey. Jorge Luis Borges said (and I quote from memory) that “the encounter with the double is the encounter with death”. How can technology configure this double? What senses does not only the immanence status of the body have, but also the conditionthe viewer in your initial projects and, for example, in one of your last works as is the case of UNA13?
One of the projects that has accompanied me over the last 12 years is this laboratory between performance and new media art, which I develop with João Martinho Moura14. It is a research on interactivity and the new narrative spaces for a body. There is an evolution that began with Nuve15, which explored the relationship of the choreographic body with its artificial double, in space-time. It can be said that this relationship was projected as a relationship of intimacybetween the present and the virtual body, the minimal gesture had a macro visualization, basically, the work developed in this sense. Subsequently, with Co: Lateral16, the work has had and continues to have multiple versions, and works as a work-in-progress. The immaterial spaceexpanded and the image became closer to the audience. Between the stage audience and the audience there is a transparent screen where mixed and incorporated realities are projected onto the screen. I say embodiment because the concrete gesture of the dancer will be transmuted into a virtual reality and will react interactively with other gestures and other factors; it will have a new form of life.
We also made an installation-performance version, Co: Lapse17, and the traits in common were, in fact, memory and Death Foretold. In various ways, we are given the possibility of following the path of the gesture, interacting with our past gesture and, in this way, we are placed both at the beginning and at the end of the gesture line. We are witnesses of the birth and death of the gesture. In this sense, this deep thought of Jorge Luis Borges seems to materialize in this technological possibility…
With UNITE, we tried to go further, in particular in the plan of interactivity, which until then was more reduced to the performer, although in Co: Lapse we had already introduced the possibility for the audience to intervene in the projection that results from the performer's action. It said, with UNITE in addition to the immaterial condition, there is also the immersive factor. There, it is at the level of the virtual dimension, where the image created and the image in real-time are confused, that interactivity is generated between the two presences, the performer and the public (only a person who wears virtual reality glasses). The interaction, in this piece, ranges from eye contact with the other, in virtual mode, to the real touch of the body. In all this, the body is residual, it arises only as a memory. The processed gesture in memory works like a mirror, it is powerful…
I do not know if it is possible to say that in your work the social and political echoes are almost always indirect, that is, closer to marginal and autonomous poetics that avoid being diluted in a certain communicational and media noise. Would you enrol your artistic program, or some of your work, in this dimension?
We know that there are many types of pressure to align work and intentions. The problems in the world are huge and we have to start somewhere. We are all responsible and cannot be held hostage to impotence. Can Art help? Of course, I do. In what way? I think in multiple ways.
I agree with you when you say that in my works the social and political echoes are indirect and marginal to an excess of actualisation. In fact, I try to use performativity as an important tool in giving back more humanity, as everyone will. We're not talking about morals or messages. We're talking about trying to cross things, distort them, take them off the ground and try to find new paths.
I do not feel that I should make a news story about a subject, I can even use documentation, use a media source, but I do not intend to inform. We know that one of the questions that would arise next would be: how important is it to stand up to the facts of the world? It's a lot, certainly. Where will the biggest fight be undertaken? On the street or through art? All together. However, it will be in discomfort, in suffering, in resistance with the other, in looking at the other that everything will be played. In my worksI try, through spaces of thought, to find forces, memories and images. Such as landscapes, machines, and animals (which is, by the way, the subtitle of the series of my latest project). Michel Serres said that the crossed sense brings more truth.
Anne Teresa De Keersmaker describes her choreographies as liquid architecture and further says that the best definition of dance would be that of architecture in motion. Without intending to find any Axiom or essentialist condition, how would you describe your choreographic and performative proposals taking into account the heterogeneity of dialogues that they establish with other artistic knowledge and practices? Do you have any organizational principles from which you work?
The liquid is a good metaphor for what can flow and for that whose shape does not fix or crystallize, in contrast to the solid that obstructs, blocks and breaks. This is talking about the body or rather talking about the life of the body, to be more specific. The connection of architecture to dance has, as we know, strengths in the history of dance (Oskar Shlemmer, Alwin Nikolais18, or in another direction, William Forsythe19, for example) perhaps because we find not only the universal categories related tospace or geometry, but because we find the affinity with the place or the habitation from which the body can be understood. Returning a little to the first answer, from the body that is in this tension between the immediate and the indirect, between the recognizable and the enigmatic, I was creating small theories and inventing neologisms, such as the Movimentantes20. They are fictional figures, and creatures, that allowed me to play with the multiple characters of the body.
The notion I often refer to, "Smart Landscape,"is this place where the body refers to itself, at the same time that it can summon other identities and recognitions. When I began to relate more to the cinema, I struggled several times with an insufficiency, or impossibility, of dance responding to the more documentary side, let's say rather to the real side of life. It seems that it would be destined to the domain of representation and that it would be better not to try to be more than it is... this dimension that I was finding – of a landscape not only as a moment of contemplation but of construction and of acting on the landscape – seemed to me to be responding to something that did not close in an abstract game. One of the best expressions of Association I found between dance and architecture was in Wittgenstein, who said that architecture is a gesture. But not every intentional movement of the body is a gesture, just as not every building will be a gesture. It is interesting this thought that makes the separation between a gesture of survival and an artistic gesture, the fruit of an aesthetic experience. It will probably be a matter for discussion, but this thought will undoubtedly define the possibility of moving from the necessary gesture to the gesture of possible connections. This leads us to a certain suspension of the senses connected with things, as well as to the suspension of sense in general.
It is also through this phenomenological side that the analysis of Dance has to confront itself: no performativity can get around it. A liquid architecture goes through this type of suspension and reconstruction. The same could be thought for another type of material architecture – and many critics have come to accuse Oskar Schlemmer's works of reification, for example. I had the opportunityto work with Lygia Pape on the reconstruction of her Neoconcrete Ballets21, a work that I like very much, and that raises very interesting questions about the limits of the body and the life plan of the forms that can be discovered from a motor body. In Million, I make an explicit reference to these ballets; the only difference is that they are not just inside out, but front and back. In this play, the landscape and the mobile of the landscape become evident again. In my case, I could say that when I am in rehearsals, in my head are present the dynamic idea of an intelligent landscape and a more static idea, that of installation.
With the play IO- Paisagens, Máquinas, Animais - that you had a chance to present online, in 2021, Rivoli's 89th anniversary - you start a new project. Is it possible to get some information about this series?
I felt the need to think of a piece that would not be exhausted in a single show, but that could dialogue with other works. The recurrence of landscape and the body as a landscape in my projects, even if not always in an obvious way, determined this new cycle of work that began with IO, which will continue with Neve and whose third part will be Quinta-Feira à tarde. The premise was to keep two dancers, Beatriz Valentim and Bruno Senune, and Flávio Rodrigues, responsible for the costumes of the three works and the scenic elements in IO. This fictional adventure, as I mentioned, should result in inter-play and intra-play dialogue. Paisagens, Máquinas e Animais22: the concepts here involved highlight three points of escape in the definition of the human and, at the same time,open up as categories to think about the dancing body. These dimensions are present in all parts, although the starting point for each of them is located in each of the corresponding dimensions. If in IO, the body summons the animal and the mythological, the primitive and the technological, in Neve the landscape emerges in its variants, that is, the landscape as the exterior, the individual as the intellectual landscape.the emotional and sound landscape, the recorded image as a narrative landscape. Quinta-feira à tarde, whose title is a translation of a Brian Eno album, will focus on the machine and the possibility of expanding the body and place. Therefore, in this play, I will collaborate again with João Martinho Moura and also with Alexandre Soares, with whom I have done numerous works. The FAHR 021.3 collaborate on Neve and in Quinta-feira à tarde. I like this title very much, in particular, because in this piece we will focus more on the machine. Identifying the day and the part of the day, the hours, gives us the illusion that we are perfectly situated, directed, and right. However, the machine gives us temporary security, a time emptied. But the interest in this title is in what it offers us about a state of mind: what can happen on a Thursday afternoon?
1 Jerôme Bel (France, 1965) premiered his first show in Portugal. Nom don-né par l'auteur, performed on September 21, 1994, at the Cinearte Theater in Lisbon. His first performance in Porto dates back to 1999, when he presented at the Balleteatro Auditorium, The Last Performance, a creation of the previous year. A continued relationship with different institutions in Portugal followed, among them, in Porto, the Serralves Museum: Jerôme Bel (1995), presented in 2002; Pichet Klunchun & Myself (2005), presented in 2008; Veronique Doisneau (2004), presented in its film version in 2009. It was also programmed by the Teatro Nacional São João (The show must go on, presented at the Carlos Alberto National Auditorium in 2001). In 2017, the BoCA Biennial presented, in the auditorium of the Faculty of Fine Arts, the film based on the play Disabled Theatre (2012). In 2021, the Teatro Municipal do Porto, in collaboration with Teatro Viriato and Culturgest, presented a reassembly with national participants from The Show Must Go On, accompanied by a lecture by Cláudia Marisa, integrated in the cycle História(s) da Dança.
2 Philippe Decouflé (France, 1961) presented several of his shows in Portugal. In 1997, in Porto, Rivoli programmed Decodex (1995), in collaboration with Culturgest and Centro Cultural de Belém. In 2000, Rivoli presented Triton 2ter, as well as a program of films, among them Codex, from the 1995 show, and Abracadabra, the result of the show Shazam! (exhibited in Culturgest, 1999).
3 Hervé Robbe (France, 1961) performed in 2002 with In Between Yellow Suite (2000) and, in 2004, with Lost Horizons (2002) in Culturgest.
4 On May 29, 1981, Merce Cunningham and John Cage presented one of their Events, in a Garcia De Orta high school Pavilion. The program was also presented in Funchal (26 and 27) and Coimbra (30). The chronology, accessible on the MerceCunningham Trust, declined to identify further details about the program. It is known, however, through the program of Cine Fórum do Funchal – Círculo de Cultura Musical, which included several interpreters of the company, as well as musicians David Tudor, Martin Kalve and Takehisa Kosugi since they were on tour in Lisbon where, between 20 and 23 May, they showed seven pieces in four nights.
5 It was developed from 4 MILLION, an interdisciplinary performance show co-signed by Lithuanian plastic artist Patricija Gilytè, which premiered in 2011 (framed at Kaunas Biennial, Textile ‘11, in Lithuania).
6 The Fly Zone premiered on October 19, 2000 at the Teatro Nacional São João. It would be presented again, at Rivoli, within the scope of Mudanças 2002- plataforma de Dança Portuguesa Contemporânea.
7 Solistas premiered on October 22, 2005 at the Rivoli Teatro Municipal. The performance Solistas 1 was presented in 2007 as part of the né Barros cycle that the Teatro Nacional São João dedicated to the choreographer.
Vaga premiered on 25 September 2003 at the Teatro Académico De Gil Vicente, as part of the Coimbra national Capital of Culture event. The performance Vaga 1 was presented in 2007 in the Né Barros cycle, which the Teatro Nacional São João dedicated to the choreographer.
“À italiana” stages are all those that propose a frontal relationship, and at a certain distance, with the spectator.
Da Materialidade Na Dança,, Porto: CEAA, 2009.
L. M. (Lady Macbeth) premiered on July 19, 1996, at the Teatro Nacional São João, as part of the cycle Dancem!
Exo premiered on March 23, 2001, in the Grand Auditorium of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.
UNA premiered on 3 February 2020 at Coliseu Porto Ageas.
João Martinho Moura (Portugal, 1976) is a multimedia artist and researcher, in 2013, he received the National Multimedia art and Culture Award for his contribution to the area of Digital Arts in Portugal and, in 2020, he was awarded the MindSpaces award, a European Commission programme that aims to create new urban and architectural approaches by integrating immersive 'neuroenvironments' into virtual reality.
Nuve premiered on June 17, 2010, at Teatro Campo Alegre, integrated into the program Quintas de Leitura
Co: lateral (2016) was developed from the performative project NUVE, which explored the relationship between dance and digital arts. Initially presented in 2010, this solo interpreted by Né Barros has given rise to several national and international publications.
Co: Lapse premiered on May 23, 2018, at Mira Artes performativas.
Alwin Nikolais (1910-1993) was an American choreographer who had brief stints in Lisbon, where he performed, in 1971, at the Gulbenkian Foundation and then at the Rivoli (June 3, 1971) with the Nikolais Dance Theater Company.
William Forsythe (born 1949), an American choreographer with a residency in Europe, whose work is regularly presented in Portugal. At the Rivolipremiered at the Companhia Nacional de Bailado, in 1999 with two programs: Artifact II (1984) and In the Middle Somewhat Elevated (1988). He would return in November 2001 with the company he then directed, the Frankfurt Ballet, with a triple bill: Quintett, Enemy In The Figure and Phrase. In 2016, the National Ballet Company would present its work again, now Herman Scherman (Pas de Deux) (1992) and in 2019, the program was specially designed for, and by, former interpreters of their companies, A quiet evening of dance.
Movimentantes is a trilogy consisting of the choreography Exo and the reconstruction of the choreographies The Fly Zone (Balleteatro, Teatro Nacional São joão, 2000) and Vooum (Balleteatro, Rivoli, 1999).
21 The reconstruction program of Balé NeoConcreto I and II took place within the framework of the exposition Três Histórias do Brasil: Artur Barrio, António Manuel, Lygia Pape. It is the result of a collaboration between Né Barros, the Brazilian artist Lygia Pape and the Performing Arts Service of the Serralves Foundation. In 2012, at the invitation of Paula Pape, it was recreated in São Paulo.
22 IO premiered at the Coliseum on October 1, 2019, and had a digital version featured on TMP Online in January 2021. Neve has the premiere scheduled for DDD-Festival Dias Da Dança, in April 2022. Quinta-Feira à tarde, a co-production between Teatro Municipal Rivoli, Teatro Viriato and Balleteatro, will premiere in 2023.
Interview with Né Barros by Silvia Garzon, Atalaya – 2022
Né Barros is a choreographer and researcher, throughout her career, she has developed in connection with her artistic and scientific works. She holds a PhD in dance (FMH, UTL), a Master of Arts in Dance Studies at the Laban Centre (City University, London) and is a researcher at the Institute of Philosophy in the aesthetics, politics and Knowledge Group (UP), where she carried out a postdoctoral research. She began her training in classical dance and later worked in contemporary dance and choreographic composition in the United States at Smith College. In her projects, she has collaborated with artists of photography, music, Fine Arts and cinema. In addition to Balleteatro, a structure she directs and founded, she has worked with the National Ballet Company, the Gulbenkian Ballet and the Aura Dance Company. She co-directs the International Film festival dedicated to archive, memory and ethnography, Family Film Project. Professor at Esap and invited to several institutions. Co-director of the aesthetic, political and Arts and war machines collections, at the Faculty of Arts of Porto. She has published several articles in the field of theory and aesthetics of Performing Arts.
How did you get into the world of dance?
I started studying ballet as a child. It was because I attended a class of my sister, a little younger, that I immediately wanted to dance. However, the professional choice was later placed in the late teens. Until I made this choice as a way of life, I gave up for a moment, thinking about pursuing Sciences, as I ended up doing by entering the Faculty of Sciences of Porto. But my choice for a career was related to the fact that I realized that it was not ballet that interested me, but contemporary dance.
What was your motivation? Are you still the same after so many years of working?
I would say my motivation has been reviewed over the years. At first, perhaps the desire to experience an expressive body that goes beyond the voice and that also does not stick to virtuosity. Later, it was clear that more than the confrontation of being on stage, or the performance, it was the taste of the construction, the architecture in motion, the dancing body to invent and the magic of the composition that attracted me the most in my professional choice
What does the word “maestro” mean to you? and teach?
Nowadays the word "master" has a relative value. We are always ready to test, experiment, contact and then follow other paths. The "light" that a master can provide will be very useful and is often the right and necessary trigger to set off new paths for people. But it no longer works as much as following a "school" or a method. That is, the transmission is today, and well, more problematized, more than the contents or testimonies, it is the processes that matter. Helping people develop a critical and creative sense seems to be the most relevant.
Who were your teachers? Can you share an anecdote that continues to accompany you in your memory throughout your different creative processes?
I got in touch with very important dance artists, especially when I lived in the USA. But maybe if I have to think about masters, I would say that I learned a lot from the history of the arts and dance in particular. How I interpreted the story along with what I was able to experience with the various teachers is perhaps the most striking. Without knowing where it came from, perhaps I would say that persistence, not giving up, looking at a problem and realizing its creative challenge, is perhaps what is always present in my creative processes.
When faced with a new creative process, is there something that repeats itself over and over again in each of them or that varies from each other?
I try to challenge myself in the creative processes in such a way as to avoid repetition of methods, but not completely. There are methods that I have been developing and deepening that have accompanied me in the various creative challenges. These methods relate to reconciling aesthetics with ethical values and reconciling creative exploration with memory and archiving.
What do you think contemporary dance brings beyond the "dance" itself to an actor, director, in short, a creator? Is dance a tool for "non-professional dancers"?
It's a good question. What can a body do? What can dance before the world? We know that from the outset because it is a body as a primordial matter of the art of dance, it is already a political position. But dance also projects itself, constructs meaning and phenomenologically challenges our understanding. Unlike documentary cinema, for example, where we can harvest the images in a state of emergency, even if harvested through a subjective look, dance is always a mediation to the world that is reported. As someone said: Art restitutes humanity. Dance also has this role and does so indirectly, destabilizing habits and proposing new ways of looking at the body in the world.
What was your experience in 1999 at the TNT Laboratory when you met young people in training? I had already participated years before in ISTA in Portugal, what teaching or memory do you hide from this meeting?
I remember very well the meeting with TNT in Seville. I really liked this work with the actors. I perfectly remember preparing a series of exercises and some of the students questioning, and not accepting the proposal uncritically. I appreciated that attitude. I was sure of what I was proposing, a game where the body abstracts itself to conquer new spheres of meaning, but sometimes this work puts up some resistance. Dismantling the gesture, making it matter to later recover and recompose it, is an important and difficult exercise as well. Anyway, my feeling is that I was facing a very interesting and intelligent group and that was very challenging. I was left with a beautiful memory!