PORTO — MATOSINHOS — GAIA
“The moving body is the starting point of communication and cognition. Movement and body action materialize the constant changes between body and environment. Nowadays, when the body is turning politics into biopolitics, the understanding that each body is a bodymedia guides us to a critical reading of our society.”
Helena Katz (Brazil), in The Role of the Body in the Transformation of Politics into Biopolitics
The 2019 edition of DDD – Festival Dias da Dança highlights contemporary Brazilian dance and its choreographers, who have taken on the role of strongly criticising society, as essayist Helena Katz points out. More than ever, in a country full of contradictions, it is urgent to provide its artists with body and voice, just as it is important to make their manifold non-hegemonic statements known. Two plays by two major Brazilian chorographers portray the state of emergency Brazil is going through, which is reflected on the titles: Fúria [Fury], by Lia Rodrigues, and A Invenção da Maldade [The Invention of Evil], by Marcelo Evelin.
The tension that stems from their works results in political and social manifests that extend beyond choreographic aesthetics. Alice Ripoll, in turn, wanders through the manifold cultural and identity roots that define the Brazilian people—in Cria [Breed], she brings to the stage traditional favela rhythms, questioning the sense of community, while aCORdo [theCOLORof] focuses on racism, confronting the audience with themselves and stressing that direct or indirect prejudice against those who are different continues to hurt society and the respect for others.
DDD 2019 thus focuses on the bodies under tension coming from our brother country—those of the aforementioned choreographers, but also of many others presenting their work during the Festival. Nevertheless, it also presents a series of performances originating in other parts of the world and representing numerous dance aesthetics (many of them Portuguese or world premieres), questioning us and showing just how critical contemporary dance can be. DDD maintains its dynamics and original format, comprising DDD IN (indoor performances), DDD OUT/BODY + CITY (performances in public spaces), DDD EXTRA (parallel activities and special projects), and DDD PRO (workshops for professionals). This year, however, it aims at furthering its mission by bringing even more diverse presentations from across borders, and by strengthening its status as a platform and a vehicle to promote the work of Portuguese artists.
Aside from the Brazilians, our international guests are Christian Rizzo (France), Wu-Kang Chen and Pichet Klunchun (Thailand and Taiwan), Tao Ye and his Tao Dance Theater (China), the Gothenburg Opera Dance Company with pieces by Sharon Eyal and Damien Jalet (Sweden, Israel and Belgium/France), Amalia Fernández (Spain), Marco D’Agostin (Italy), and Thomas Steyaert (Belgium) with Raul Maia and Willi Dorner (Austria) in collaboration with Companhia Instável. All their performances appeal to us, either given their surgical geometry (Tao Ye, in 4&8), family burlesque criticism (Amalia Fernández, in El resistente y delicado hilo musical [The Resilient and Delicate Muzak], or the establishment of a collective social space (Christian Rizzo, in Une Maison [A House]). Portuguese dance has never been so strong, and to prove it we’ll have the works of beacon choreographers such as Vera Mantero (with a performance that is a tribute to Ernesto de Sousa), Tânia Carvalho (who brings to DDD a new production with female dancers over 45), and Clara Andermatt (in a crossdisciplinary collaboration with pianist and composer João Lucas). On the other hand, young choreographers such as Flávio Rodrigues, Ana Isabel Castro, Anaísa Lopes and Ana Rita Teodoro unveil to the audience their latest creations, which will surely demonstrate how inventive their work is. During the last week of DDD, between May 8 and 12 (+week), both those and many other Portuguese artists will have the chance to be discovered not only by the audience, but also by a hundred programmers from all over the world, who’ll come to Porto during those days, in order to watch the uniqueness and variety of Portuguese dance, promoting it across borders.
There are 42 performances both indoors and outdoors, 21 extra activities for all audiences and 6 intensive workshops for professionals, turning DDD into one of the major dance encounters in Europe and a unique festival in the Portuguese art scene.
All of this is only possible due to a growing cohesion and complicity between its organisers and co-producers, but also between the other partners and supporters making up the long list of allies, of which I allow myself to point out: the municipalities of Porto, Matosinhos and Gaia (the Frente Atlântica [Atlantic Front] is at the origin of the festival), the newly established Dias da Dança – Associação de Artes Performativas, Teatro Municipal do Porto (the performing arts dynamo in the region), Teatro Nacional São João (which has been increasing its artistic and financial involvement in the festival year in, year out), Coliseu Porto Ageas (which daringly continues to challenge us to fill that mythic venue during DDD’s closing performance), the Serralves Foundation (whose decisive role and ongoing work concerning the performing arts greatly accounts for the festival’s success with the public), balleteatro (co-founder of Body + City, which turned into DDD OUT, and a great promoter of dance in dialogue with public spaces), and Armazém 22 (a a vibrant and pivotal space of training and creation).
DDD 2019 is all of this. For 3 weeks the body claims its place in a society that favours criticism and awareness. And since the body is never wrong, let us find out what it has to say.