1. A man steps onto the stage, sticks his hand into the head of a mannequin and, gesturing triumphantly, pulls out an object which he will throw onto the floor. Then he leaves the stage. This action, set in a tactile, flesh-coloured environment, is repeated over and over again, and the stage gradually fills with candy, a gun, a necklace, white powder, a toy car, and so forth. Vera Mantero retains our attention by slightly altering the action's repetitive character. Though each action seems identical to the next, the slight variations in the performance reveal the endless possibilities of the performative action. Likewise, the emotions with which the objects are thrown down -ranging from joy to fear, from curiosity to revulsion – reveal our complex relations to objects. For more than twenty years, Vera Mantero has invested the dance world with a radicalness which sets visionary, subconscious powers against the violence in the world. With We are going to miss everything we don't need, she rearranges the production chain of consumption and destruction that governs our relation to objects, and questions our search for happiness with a poetic barbarity.

    in catalogue of Kunstenfestivaldesarts 010

    Etymologically, the word “object” contains the idea that an object is something that is placed before us, something that exists or is there to be seen.
    We are going to miss everything we don’t need presents objects of the world. Between these objects and those who manipulate them exists a rebound effect, an unexpected unveiling of meaning(s). Between these objects, those who manipulate them and the spectator exists a triangle - a tension that pushes the boundaries of ideas and sensations, as symbols become vibrating forces.
    Ideas are paths to other ideas and as on all paths, there are passages that widen, narrow and bifurcate. We can follow these pathways with different rhythms and patterns of breath, as if thoughts were shaped by the way they pulsate and clash.
    Objects of the world, in contact and short-circuiting, are on a path and exist somewhere between the material and the ethereal, the quotidian and the dreamlike, the generic and the exceptional. And it might be precisely in this rearrangement of our everyday world - this world of generic objects, production, consumption and waste - that we can touch another side of things.

    Rita Natálio

    Artistical Direction: Vera Mantero
    Performance & Co-creation: Christophe Ives, Marcela Levi, Miguel Pereira e Vera Mantero
    Space & Costume Design: Nadia Lauro
    Props: the whole team
    Dramaturgical Collaboration: Rita Natálio
    Music & Sound Design: Andrea Parkins
    Sound Technician: Rui Dâmaso
    Light Design & Technical Direction: Erik Houllier
    Light Technician: Jean-Marc Segalen
    Executive Production: O Rumo do Fumo
    Co-Production: Alkantara Festival/Lisbon; Culturgest/Lisbon; Kunsten Festival des Arts/Brussels; Festival Montpellier Danse 2009; Teatro La Laboral – Ciudad de la Cultura/Gijón
    Co-Production & Residency: CNDC/Angers; O Espaço do Tempo/Montemor-o-Novo; PACT Zollverein/Essen
    Support: Les Brigittines/Brussels; Centro Cultural Vila Flor/Guimarães; Atelier Re.Al/Lisbon
    Duration: 1h20

    O Rumo do Fumo is supported by Ministério da Cultura / Direcção Geral das Artes and Câmara Municipal de Lisboa
    Project co-produced by NXTSTP, with the support of the Culture Programme of the European Union

    19 & 20 June 2009 – PACT ZOLLVEREIN/ESSEN

    3 & 4 July 2009 – Festival MONTPELLIER DANSE 2009
    8 May 2010 – Teatro de LA LABORAL/GIJÓN
    12, 13, 14, & 15 May 2010 – KUNSTEN Festival des Arts/Théâtre Les Tanneurs/BRUSSELS
    21 & 22 May 2010 – Festival ALKANTARA/Teatro Nacional de São João/PORTO
    7, 8 & 9 June 2010 – Festival ALKANTARA/Culturgest/LISBON
    16 June 2010 – Teatro da Cerca de São Bernardo/COIMBRA
    1 & 2 June 2012 - Festival de Música da Madeira/Centro das Artes Casa das Mudas/MADEIRA
    8 September 2012 – Teatro Garcia Resende/CENDREV/ÉVORA
    15 September 2012 – Theatro Circo/Braga

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  2. Choreography
    Vera Mantero

    Vera Mantero, Paula Castro (Lília Mestre, na ficha artística original) e Sílvia Real

    Italo Calvino

    Original sound track
    Sérgio Pelágio

    Set and costumes
    Teresa Montalvão

    Light design
    João Paulo Xavier

    Co-production, Forum Dança, Amascultura/RE.AL
    Lisboa 94

    Secretaria de Estado da Cultura

    30 minutes

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  3. Six seated persons. Their bodies have the word. Their “becoming together” is announced through an unstable language, an English with particular sonorities. Their communication capacities are constantly challenged. They float between transparency and opacity; they exercise themselves between the knots weaving, suspended by a thread.

    How to exercise the theatrical situation until exhaustion? To choose a language that is common to us, but that we do not dominate. The “here and now” that we look for is so lengthened that there is no longer a belonging. It is destroyed. We always restart, without ever returning to the same point.

    Bojana Bauer

    A light and recalcitrant work, Vera Mantero and five performers explore a single proposition that revolves almost completely around language, or better around speech, but also mumbling, grumbling, growling, meowing, humming, stammering and singing. Gestures and dance emerge where the body transforms into an ear or a peculiar soundboard. The piece embraces with theatrical joy an (im)probable future social body and doesn’t shun from the literal or kitsch. Language as a possibility to say ‘we’ and thereby affirm or ‘speak out’ the actual difference of the world we live in – on a political level the work reminds me of Jean-Luc Nancy’s writings. Since collaboration and creation are a social process itself, The extreme exercise has travelled a great distance between its première in Brest and the performances in Brussels: from a strict version that stresses the group as an outlandish choreographic machine, to a loose, ‘juicy’ one that takes as a point of departure the performer’s freedom in dialogue with the public, as yet another social body. Yet potentially it still commutes between these two extremes, voicing the lingering energies and imaginations of a vast spectrum.

    Jeroen Peeters

    “Almost unisono, but with different accents and facial expressions, they hold a speech about profound and banal ideas alike, without any distinction. No wonder that even after one hour they don’t reach a conclusion. Because of that, the only aim of this piece seems to be to celebrate the bare fact that public and performers are together, contemplating each other. “We are a group, you are a group...” returns as a refrain in the mash of words. As such, the acting of the six performers, their eccentric dresses and the way the public reacts to all this “make” the piece…
    …the speech itself does not take place in an indifferent space but on a stage. And a stage is different from a street or a square. It is an empty space, without preconceived meanings or uses, but that is exactly why it arouses great expectations. When the curtain goes up we expect that everything that is there to be seen has a Meaning with a large M. Nobody stumbles on a stage like as they would do on the street. Certainly not if the title of the piece announces such concerns as the Death of God or “the extreme exercise of Beauty”.
    Now, this is of course a grotesque speech. Who has still anything significant to add after all that has already been said or written about this? Don't we postulate the terms of God and Beauty above all to seal a breach in our worldview? Are these therefore not empty spaces, onto which everyone projects, after his own taste, his own “meaning of life”? The empty space of the stage meets in Vera Mantero’s work the empty space of words: she takes hold of the emptiness of the stage to hint at the emptiness of any significance. But she does this without despair. The meandering chat that the performers all produce in their own singular way, shows that a group of people “works”, even without God or Beauty. This is the meaning of the casual variant of “we are a group, you are a group...”. All of a sudden it becomes: “we are, you are... a theory, full of life”. Nothing has been proved, but “it works”.
    Lauro’s mise-en-scène expresses this convincingly. A strong battery of spotlights frames the big stage, and in this way almost reduces the actors to a detail in the bigger picture. A huge brown object, a kind of a deformed globe, fills the emptiness behind them. The tension between the colossal object in the just as colossal emptiness and the mumbling of the performers is what creates meaning. Each by itself means nothing…”

    Pieter T’Jonck

    Artistic Direction
    Vera Mantero

    Performance and Co-Creation
    Brynjar Bandlien, Loup Abramovici, Marcela Levi, Pascal Quéneau, Antonija Livingstone (now replaced by Andrea Stotter), Vera Mantero

    Visual Installation and Costume Design
    Nadia Lauro

    Life Music and Sound Engineering
    Boris Hauf

    Light Design
    Jean-Michel Le Lez

    Dramaturgic Collaboration
    Bojana Bauer

    Executive Production
    O Rumo do Fumo

    O Rumo do Fumo is supported by

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  4. 'Perhaps she could dance first and think afterwards' is a solo premiered in 1991, created for the Europalia Festival in Belgium (that year dedicated to Portugal and which included a wide Portuguese choreographic representation).
    This solo has a prime place on Vera Mantero's choreographic course. It is a work that spans almost two decades and is, singularly, still alive and be presented. Why?
    It was with this solo that the author found part of her identity in terms of movement, in terms of how to be on stage, in terms of tools and elements that she uses to create and perform: a body that doesn't neglect gestures, the hands, the face, the expressions, that includes them because she knows that these elements are absolutely part of the body-person; which constantly tries to grasp what is going through her, trying to expose exactly this through the responses of a vibratil body; a body that dashes against time-cadence and plays with it/them like a child plays with marbles; a body which sometimes produces an almost-talking, in sounds that seem wanting to take the shape of words, on lips that articulate inaudible words.
    Why did this happen to this body?
    Mantero wrote on the evening program by that time: 'My relationship with dance revolves around the following questions: what does dance say? What can I say with dance? What am I saying when I'm dancing? '. The ability and inability of dance to SAY, were in the center of the author's creative preoccupations at the time (... aren't they still?). The strategy of inclusion (in the actions, movements, impulses) of other materials, which are not the commonly used ones for dance, were the means and the research that the author undertook to force-push-pressure the dance to SAY.
    This piece also has another particularity: it has always been and is until today an improvised piece and it was precisely for being improvised that allowed it to be a piece. It is the result of creative impossibilities and difficulties: before being a solo it was an unsuccessful attempt of being a quartet and before being an improvisation, it was an unsuccessful attempt of a choreographed solo. Facing all these difficulties the author '... didn't want to do this piece. Fortunately there was someone (Bruno Verbergt from the Klapstuk festival) that gave me a stage at my disposal and told me to do on it exactly what I needed to do. That's what I did. ' Improvisation allowed her details, velocity and freedom that a choreographed dance would never allow. The meeting with 'Ruby, My Dear' by Thelonious Monk, in the version used in this piece, was a very important support, which facilitated the movement to this body in difficulties. In such a way that it has been (and is) necessary to repeat three times the audition along the piece. And the phrase of Beckett's 'Waiting for Godot', which gives the title to this solo, explains even more a part of these difficulties by proposing that she dances first and thinks afterwards; in the original evening program can be read: '... to be methodical one must believe and I have a problem of lack of belief. Art, creation, are the things that interest me most in life, but it seems that every time I put myself doing anything in this field, I stop to believe in them immediately. And then I finish up to stop believing in life itself and in other things out there'...
    As mentioned already above, a somewhat rare and curious phenomenon happened to this solo: its presentation has never been interrupted, it has been shown regularly over the last nineteen years. And if the actual lack of belief began to produce a solo somewhat distressed and suffered, this continuous and repeated presentation transformed the work and moved it from this area of pain and anguish to an area far more luminous, of humour and enjoy, whilst leaving intact its structures and foundations.

    Vera Mantero

    Concept & performance
    Vera Mantero

    André Lepecki

    Original light-design
    João Paulo Xavier

    Light adaption and operation
    Bruno Gaspar

    "Ruby, My Dear"
    by Thelonious Monk

    Vera Mantero

    Pós d’Arte, 1991

    Financial support
    Instituto da Juventude

    Companhia de Dança de Lisboa

    Duration of the performance
    20 minutes

    Perhaps she could dance first and think afterwards was created by commission of the Klapstuk Festival 91 on the occasion of Europalia Portugal.

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  5. My first reaction was: “What poverty of spirit!”
    My second reaction was: “But do I know what wealth of spirit is?”
    What is wealth of spirit?
    And I began looking around for it. By an amazing coincidence, everyone I approached says practically the same: you must leave your ego behind, abandon it without pity or mercy. From Freud to Buddha, from the crazy psychedelics to the rational, delightful Kenneth White.

    Here are some excerpts...

    “The metaphysical experiences always promise that once the ego is dropped, the true knowledge is arrived at.
    Returning to the bosom of the planetary partnership means trading the point of view of the ego for the intuitional translinguistic understanding of the maternal matrix.”

    Terence Mckenna, The Archaic Revival

    « C’est la peur de cette absorbtion, de cette conversation anéantissant le « je » ancien, qui explique – je crois – l’intolérance plus active (...) qui se bouche les oreilles, élève la voix et qui « détourne la conversation » pour ne pas s´exposer aux arguments d´autrui. Arguments qui peuvent nous montrer que nos jugements le plus profondéments ancrés n´étaient que des préjugés, cela pour ne pas s´exposer à voir comment la vertu de l´argument étranger ronge la carapace par notre « je » afin de se défendre dans le monde.

    La tolérance est contradictoire avec la nature narcissique de l’idéal.

    Il faudrait dire d´abord de la tolérance qu´elle ne peut être « Principe » que pour autant qu´elle est résultat : le résultat d´une éducation par la psychanalyse. Idéal paradoxal, elle serait, à cet égard l´effet du travail de la désidéalisation qui est celui de la psychanalyse. »

    La Tolérance, divers auteurs, Editions Autrement

    « Je ne vois pas chez lui (James Joyce) l´approche de ce qu´il m´arrive d´appeler le « monde blanc », entendant par « blanc » non pas frappé d´absence, mais non interprété (« car nous ne sommes pas bien chez nous dans le monde interprété »). L´approche de ce monde blanc me semble être moins le fait de la polyphonie lexicale joycienne, dernier grand concerto de la culture occidentale, que d´une musique du désert (encore William (Carlos Williams)), « pénétrante et simple » . C´est à dire que le poème, l´acte artistique, est le signe ou le résultat d´un travail accompli hors de l´art. Joyce porte la culture occidentale entière sur le dos, tandis que j´imagine un être humain qui (revoici Nietzsche), s´étant cultivé, sait danser. »

    Kenneth White, La figure du dehors

    It probably isn’t just that. It is also that island of the Spirit (a paradise of sensitivity and people full of wisdom). It is also a question of reinventing values, devising how to live them, work them and celebrate them. the usual trifling task of those who still live their ideals.

    The process

    Ca arrive dans un livre, à un tournant de phrase, vous changez le sujet du livre. Sans vous en apercevoir, vous levez les yeux vers votre fenêtre: le soir est là. Vous vous retrouvez le lendemain matin devant un autre livre. Les tableaux, les écrits ne se font pas en toute clarté. Et toujours les mots manquent pour le dire, toujours.

    Marguerit Duras

    Vera Mantero

    Co-creation and interpretation
    Vera Mantero, Ana Sofia Gonçalves, Margarida Mestre, Christian Rizzo, Frans Poelstra and Nuno Bizarro

    All staff with the help of Teresa Montalvão

    Cathy Olive

    Sound and Set
    Maria Manuel Matos

    All staff with the help of Christian Rizzo

    Christian Rizzo with the help of all staff

    Extracts of
    John Cage, Père Ubu, Gérôme Nox, women of Camaroun, Porstishead

    Texts of
    Paul Auster, Richard Long and adapted from Samuel Beckett

    Executive production
    Eira; Delphine Goater; O Rumo do Fumo

    Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian / Serviço Acarte; Forum Dança; Devir / Loulé; EIRA ( subsidiada pelo Ministério da Cultura); Rencontres Choréographiques Internationales de Seine St Denis 1996; Frankfurt Mousonturm

    Institut Franco – Portugais

    100 minutes

    O Rumo do Fumo is supported by

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Vera Mantero

o rumo do fumo PT5040502735 Plus

Vera Mantero studied classical dance with Anna Mascolo and worked in Ballet Gulbenkian in Lisbon between 1984 and 1989. She started creating her own choreography in 1987 and since 1991 she has been showing her work all over Europe, Argentina, Brazil,…

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Vera Mantero studied classical dance with Anna Mascolo and worked in Ballet Gulbenkian in Lisbon between 1984 and 1989. She started creating her own choreography in 1987 and since 1991 she has been showing her work all over Europe, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Singapore, South Korea and USA.
From her choreographic work she points out her solos “Perhaps she could dance first and think afterwards” (1991), “Olympia” (1993) and “one mysterious Thing, said e.e.cummings*” (1996), as also her group pieces “Under” (1993), “For Boring and Profound Sadnesses” (1994), “Poetry and Savagery” (1998), “Until the moment when God is destroyed by the extreme exercise of beauty” (2006) and her latest piece “We are going to miss everything we don’t need” (2009).
Vera Mantero participates regularly in international improvisation projects alongside improvisers and choreographers as Lisa Nelson, Mark Tompkins, Meg Stuart and Steve Paxton.
Since the year 2000 Vera Mantero is dedicating herself also to vocal work by singing the repertoire of several authors and co-creating experimental music projects.
In 1999 the Theatre Culturgest in Lisbon organized during one month a retrospective of her work created until then, which was entitled “Month of March, Month of Vera”.
“Eating your heart out”, a work created in collaboration with the sculptor Rui Chafes, represented Portugal at the 26th Biennial of São Paulo 2004.
In 2002 Vera Mantero was awarded the Almada Prize (IPAE/Ministry of Culture) and in 2009 the prestigious Gulbenkian Art Prize for her career as a performer and choreographer.

For me, dance is not a given fact; I believe that the less I acquire it, the closer I will be to it; I use dance and performance work to understand what I need to understand; she sees less and less sense in a specialized performer (a dancer or an actor or a singer or a musician) and more and more sense in an especially trained total performer; she sees life as a terribly rich and complicated phenomena and work as a continuous fight against the spirits' impoverishment, hers' and the others', a fight which she considers essential at this point of history.


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