About not traveling alone
Never travel alone. This has perhaps been the theme of the voyage in the last 30 years. Being a man who does not particularly value ephemerides (having several times forgotten my own birthday), this celebration is valid for what personal reflection it brings about and not so much for the formalities it inevitably contains.
It’s quite true that 30 years is a long time, and nothing that is in the past can be undervalued. We all learn from our experiences and from the paths taken, nevertheless what is important is that this highway has been a broad one and that along the journey bonds were created, adventures were lived and risks taken, all that is, after all, the stuff men’s dreams are made of.
In art, the idea of a career as such does not really make sense; nothing is the sum of objectives or a cerebral game of ambitions. What there is, for sure, is the idea of a journey, of sharing and growing artistically, which is seen, in my case, as a factor for personal development.
And because man is defined by work and love (in the broader sense of the word), the idea of celebrating 30 years of profession is above all to commemorate 30 years in which friends, family and a whole planetary network of affections were never compromised by the dynamics of creativity. That is why when I look at my journey, I constantly find that the human factor is at the centre of the artistic process and vice-versa. From my work as a performer and as a teacher to the discovery of choreography, all these experiences are intertwined with meetings and shared adventures. The years I spent in New York were about that. The final years of the 1980s in Portugal had, above all, to do with just that. The decade of the 1990s in Germany was about more of the same. And the return to Portugal in 2000 was the closing of a circle, where I find the same wish of not making the journey alone.
My creative work is about those two recurring themes, the communication with the other is the most evident one, but there is also the refusal of exclusion, the indomitable desire of merging my body with another, of making that crossing into his skin, either that of the mind or of the body.
If man does not transcend himself he shall no longer have doubts, he will no longer be able to look at the world with the eyes of a child. Art offers us the great possibility of feeling intuitively like a child but with the reflection of an adult. It is in this mysterious meeting of feeling and understanding that art exists: creating new ways of looking at the world and introducing doubt as a method in itself.
The artists’ work is about those fleeting moments in which creation materializes itself, conveying fractions of the author’s complex universe, a space of mediation between the public and the creative artist. I believe that in this space one can find answers and enlightenment. I believe that man reveals himself in his doubts and in that space of transgression.
For someone who grew up in a dogmatic world prior to the 25th of April, this artistic path is once again equivalent to a path of inner discovery, of looking “with new eyes”, in many ways in parallel with what happened to my generation in the last 30 years – that is why I celebrate 30 years of dance soon after the 30th anniversary of the 25th of April. The revolution of my body was only possible as a corollary of that social revolution. Like most of my generation, I woke up to the arts as a result of that social contamination. What happened in my artistic path was a peculiar combination of a voyage which took 30 years: seven years in Lisbon, seven years in New York, ten years in Germany, six years in Montemor… A growth that took its time. The time that it takes to formulate an idiosyncratic language, that of a first generation waking up to the world.
Finally, the return to Portugal, to Montemor-o-novo. The creation of a space for creative development and dialogue, sheltered and away from the urban mainstream.
A silent territory, a place to meet others and oneself. A space where artistic trends can mingle and exchange, of transgression, a laboratory. In a way, it is what I enjoyed in Frankfurt and that I wanted to share with other creative artists, but enhanced by the time and the space that the Alentejo provides. This is how O Espaço do Tempo was born, located in Convento da Saudação, restating once again the desire not to travel alone and to weave new complicities. Complicities that here extend themselves to the whole surrounding community that benefits from the added value that this project offers: access to culture and the particularly important investment in developing awareness.
It is by believing in a society that has man at its centre and not consumer goods that we make our artistic choices accordingly. To speak of a new theatre, of a new dance or of experimentalism in the performing arts is, in itself, an act of resistance, because the moment and what is ephemeral cannot be bought. To put the body at the centre of this discourse and in a dialogue with new technologies is also to complete that same discourse and allow for a more vibrant and more up-to-date human expression. To add a sociocultural component to this project is to enhance its dynamic relationship with the outer world – to go out to take part in a cultural event, in a society that is fragmented and subjugated by a reductive television culture, is a ritual of celebration and an essential space for growth. It is precisely for that purpose that I make a point of not traveling alone, of sharing with the other this space of discovery, this meeting place.