Rui Horta

Rui Horta began his dance studies at the age of 17 at Gulbenkian Ballet. He studied, danced and taught contemporary dance in New York, a city where he lived for almost 10 years, having than returned to Portugal where he was a leading force in the development of a new generation of portuguese dancers and choreographers. In 1990 he was invited by Dieter Buroch to start S.O.A.P., a residence company at the Kunstlerhaus Mousonturm in Frankfurt. With SOAP he has created works that toured extensively all over the world at the most important theatres and festivals, such as the Joyce in New York, the Hebbel in Berlin, the Harbour Front in Toronto, the Spyral Hall in Tokyo, la Maison de la Dance in Lyon or the Thêatre de la Ville in Paris, that has presented and co-produced his work for over a decade. He was awarded prizes such as the Grand Prix du Concours de Bagnolet, the Bonnie Bird Award, the German Producers Prize, the Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Letres from the French Ministry of Culture, the Acarte prize by the Gulbenkian Foundation, the Almada prize from the Portuguese Ministry of Culture, etc. As a teacher he was a guest in some of the most important schools in Europe such as the Laban Centre, the Conservatoire National de Paris, the Conservatoire National de Lyon, etc. In 2000 he returned to Portugal (Montemor-o-Novo), where he established a cross-disciplinary research and residency centre, O Espaço do Tempo, in an old monastery of the 16th century, today a main production art centre in his country. His pieces continue to tour regularly in the international dance circuit and as a free lance they are in the repertoire of renowned dance companies such as the Cullberg Ballet, the Netherlands Dance Theatre, the Ballet du Grand Thêatre de Genève, le Ballet de l'Opèra de Marseille, the Gulbenkian Ballet, the National Ballet of Portugal, Random Dance, Ballet Goteborg, Carte Blanche, etc. Rui Horta is also a very active light, set and new media designer, as well as opera director, having staged works such as Stravinsky's Rakes Progress at Theatre Basel, John Adams Flowering Tree at the Gulbenkian Foundation and Luis Tinoco new opera Paint Me. His work has recently been labeled as German Dance Heritage. In the present moment he is touring Danza Preparata, a solo for the italian dancer Silvia Bertoncelli on the Sonatas and Interludes from John Cage performed life by Rolf Hind, and he has a new group piece that had premiered in Dresden, at the Hellerau.




recent works:

Danza Preparata John Cage / Rui Horta

John Cage Sonatas and Interludes Rui Horta

choreography, set and light design Performers

Silvia Bertoncelli dancer

Rolf Hind piano

Casa da Música and O Espaço do Tempo

In collaboration with Gulbenkian Foundation, KunstFestSpiele Herrenhausen, Salzburg Biennale, Guimarães European City of Culture 2012, Musica Strasbourg and Romaeuropa, with the support of Réseau Varèse

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of John Cage's birth, Casa da Música has invited me to create a work based on the Sonatas and Interludes, a reference work of Cage for prepared piano. It was a challenge I could not turn down. Cage's influence is essential to the history of dance, not only for his long collaboration with Merce Cunningham, but mainly for the importance of his theoretical reflections and consequent repercussions in the history of choreography.

Danza Preparata is a solo for a "prepared body" in dialogue with a prepared piano. The Sonatas and Interludes are wonderfully played by Rolf Hind, a highly acclaimed performer of Cage's works for prepared piano. From our first encounters on, it became obvious our mutual enthusiasm about this project. We only missed a "prepared body"... and

that was "lent to me" by the experienced and wonderful Italian dancer Silvia Bertoncelli, an interpreter of irreproachable technique and artistically multitalented.

In the Sonatas and Interludes, a group of 20 short pieces, the piano requires precise preparation (clearly detailed in the score), being invaded and contaminated by all kind of objects placed in between the strings, the hammers and the dampers, such as a large number of screws, bolts, rubber and plastic pieces, giving the piano a unique and amazing sound quality.

In the same way that the piano preparation is precisely detailed in the score, the composition itself also dives into a specific atmosphere related to the influence that Indian music and philosophy on the development of Cage. On the other hand, the methodology of Cage’s composition that frequently was based on improvisation and then in the selection of the most relevant elements, has always established a familiar ground, similar to my own creative methodology.

John Cage's relation between music and movement is of special interest to me since the notion of randomness and counterpoint has always offered me a great deal of freedom. Therefore, with each new listening to the Sonatas and Interludes, I kept discovering new information and new perspectives. A great intimacy is also present throughout the work, which, even in the epic moments, never disappears. There is always an introspective and poetic element that, somehow, always translates into serenity. And there is, in Cage's work, still another fascinating quality: the silence, the pause and the suspended time between the notes, that consigns to that same silence an extraordinary density, as well as a unique space to express the body in motion. Music is present but never omnipresent. A space for active listening



Silvia Bertoncelli

Silvia Bertoncelli got her training in ballet and contemporary dance in Verona, Bruxelles and Paris. In 2002 she enrolled at the dancer's education of the Academy Isola Danza in Venice, directed by Carolyn Carlson.
She danced in various companies: Compagnia Naturalis Labor, Compagnia Ersiliadanza, Compagnia Arearea, Compagnia Lubbert Das, Cie Blicke, Compagnia Abbondanza Bertoni.

In 2009 she began dancing for the Rui Horta Dance Company in the production As lágrimas de Saladino. During this production she met the choreographer Annabelle Bonnéry who invited her to join the Cie Lanabel in France for her project in 2011.

Since 2003 she has presented her works as a choreographer as well as a dancer winning internationally acclaimed awards, such as: Festival Percorsi d'Autore in Venice and at the Choreographic Contest inRovereto during the Festival Oriente-Occidente.




Rolf Hind

Rolf Hind's career has blossomed over twenty-five years in a multitude of directions - establishing him now as a major force as soloist, composer, recording artist, chamber musician, pedagogue, collaborator and concert planner.
His work as a recitalist has taken him to many of the leading new music festivals in Europe - by way of Carnegie Hall, Sydney Opera House and tours of Korea, Taiwan and Cuba. Rolf has worked with many leading conductors, including Ashkenazy, Knussen, Rattle, David Robertson and Andrew Davis and appeared at the BBC Proms seven times. Orchestras he has worked with include the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Munich Philharmonic, Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Malmo Symphony, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Remix Ensemble Casa da Música and many appearances with the London Sinfonietta, the LPO, RPO, the BBC Symphony and all the other BBC orchestras.

The roster of composers who have worked with Rolf or written for him reads like a who's who, and includes Tan Dun, John Adams, Helmut Lachenmann, Unsuk Chin, Elliott Carter, George Benjamin, James McMillan amongst many others.
An interest in new dance has resulted in various collaborations and in 2012, he and the leading Portuguese choreographer Rui Horta will collaborate on a large-scale tour of a work using the prepared piano music of John Cage. Cage will also feature in many of Rolf’s recital programs during the 2012 anniversary year.

Other future highlights include a performance of Unsuk Chin’s Piano Concerto (written for Rolf) in Amsterdam with the Netherlands Radio Orchestra in October 2011, and the Dutch premiere of Rolf’s piano concerto, Maya-Sesha also with the Radio Orchestra under James McMillan in spring 2012.

...this outstanding homage to Cage's 100 birthday this year,s was the highlight of the opening weekend at the Herrehnhausener Kunstfestpiele.
( Jungwirth, 17.09.2012)

...that this piece, full of meaning in content and music, can be put into dance movement and still is not getting to much – only this, is already a miracle. and movement completed each other to very own stories of flourish and retrieve, of fight and yield. (DrehPunktKultur, Barbara Krüger, 12.03.2013)

Choreographer Rui Horta confronted this music with precise movement sequences, full of detail. In Silvia Bertoncelli, he found a dancer that is able to transform its virtousity and come close to the score. Music in a "chat with the body".
(Salzburger Volkszeitung, Christoph Lindenbauer, 12.03.2013)

Horta comes up with his least aesthetically pleasing yet most innovative work.

His lightning design cut through the white square mat on the floor, directing Bertoncelli ́s space and trajectory, and in turn, speed and freedom.
(londondance, Germane Cheng, 31.10.2012)

The aleatory, the silence and the coincidence, the active principles of composition developed by Cage and Cunningham, translated with perfect stage intelligence in this unforgettable duet.
(Derniers Nouvelles D'Allsace, Veneranda Paladino, 01.10.2012)

The work never looses it ́s intimacy, even during the most epic moments . One aspect of great fascination is the silence, the pausing, and the suspended timing in dialogue with the music. A space for active listening and at the same time a place for freedom for the moving body... can feel a real passion for Cage and it ́s prepared piano.
(Corriere della Sera/Roma, Marco Andretti02.10.2012)

The choreography of Rui Horta on the wonderful Sonatas and Interludes, position itself as a study on the possibility of movement in the presence of a strange body, a challenge for the performer. The question with most relevance stays the same: "When becomes a body strange to itself?"
The gestures of the dancer Silvia Bertoncelli are so many, so diverse and so unpredictable, that question the concept of unnaturalness.
Horta avoided the use of technology and created a performance without time, but bringing the spirit of Cage of the "total artist"... (La Republica, 07.10.2013, Frederico Caapitoni)

Link Full Version


Hierarchy of Clouds

Direction, light design, stage: Rui Horta Choreography (in collaboration with the dancers): Rui Horta

Filipa Peraltinha André Cabral Teresa Alves da Silva Luís Marrafa Silvia Rijmer
Phil Sanger Silvia Bertoncelli

Production manager:              Technical direction: Tiago Coelho Touring: Magda Bizarro, Rita Mendes

Hellerau / Europäisches Zentrum der Kunste (Dresden) Centro Cultural Vila Flor (Guimarães) Culturgest (Lisboa)

Artistic residency:
O Espaço do Tempo (Montemor-o-Novo) Centro de Residências de Candoso (Guimarães)

October 3rd , followed by a second presentation on the 4th – Hellerau / Europäisches Zentrum der Künste | Dresden (DE).

Further dates:

October 2014
10th and 11th – Culturgest | Lisboa (PT)
18th – Centro Cultural Vila Flor | Guimarães (PT) 24th – Teatro Virgínia | Torres Novas (PT)
25th – Quartel das Artes | Oliveira do Bairro (PT)

November 2014
1st and 2nd – Teatro Principal | Zaragoza (ES)
8th – Cine-Teatro Curvo Semedo | Montemor-o-Novo (PT) 22nd – Teatro Paco Rabal | Madrid (ES)



Inhabited space, negotiated by seven bodies, seen not only as territory, but above all as an imaginary place that impels the crossing of boundaries and the breaking of limits. A space that only makes sense if inhabited and ritualized by movement, the language of gestures being the key to open the door into a space that, trough choreographic language, becomes a "place". A question hoovers over the piece: why do we always want to be somewhere else and which hierarchy prevails in the choosing moments? Nevertheless, the answer, precise as a score, escapes narrative and is inhabited by poetics that go beyond cognitive understanding, dance's deepest experience. I called it the Hierarchy of Clouds.

Rui Horta


6 o’clock in the morning, Germany, on my way to Frankfurt airport. My young Turkish cab driver has already tried all kind of strategies in order to start a conversation... the worst part is the music... a third rated version of some kind of boys band singing in a terrible English "baby you’re breaking my heart". I have already asked him twice to lower the volume. At the third attempt he finally agreed... A body in Frankfurt and a soul in Istambul.

I think of my profession, and of this immense privilege that as artists we have, of claiming the theatrical space, transforming it, inhabiting it, and lending it a new identity. A space that

Why do we always want to be somewhere else?


becomes inhabited, tattooed and therefore a "place". A place where we enter each time the house lights are turned off, and from which we exit as soon as they are turned on again, revealing a real world that kept on running in a parallel timeline to the theatrical experience.
The lights are shut, and there we go into this empty and expectant space, waiting to be inhabited, such as an empty lot waiting to be occupied by a building, a garden, maybe an utopia. I particularly like this idea of Garden. A forest domesticated by humans, a slice of the world where everything combines in perfection, conducted by the human hand. Wild space domesticated. Mankind / Control freak. Poetics.

Let us return to space. Why this civilizational obsession of always controlling it? Hunting territory, polis Atheniensis, medieval town, renaissance town, 20th-century urban construction, human utopias transformed into inhabited spaces filled with all kinds of hideaways, spaces of redemption, retreat and salvation. But always spaces of an enormous symbolism, products of our endless imagination and where theatre stands as the most schizoid of all. Why is space of such relevance to us? Is it because it has always been there before "we arrived"? Or simply because it is the blank space where we inscribe our stories (and our history)? If each human culture characterizes itself by the heterotopias that it invents, than, theatre, is probably the most powerful of all.

In the air, somewhere between Frankfurt and Lisbon, at 11,000 meters, enclosed in a room that transports me at full speed into another country. Two simultaneous slices of time. The space in- between, so similar to the theatrical experience. The suspension of disbelief, of time, and the expectancy of the conclusion, of a new port, a new arrival.

Lisbon. Another cab driver that awaits me and asks / where do you come from? / I come from Germany / that’s where I wanted to be / why? / earn good money / it is bad here / they are the clever ones / it is cold there but it is good / I have a cousin there / he makes good money... A body in Lisbon and a soul in Frankfurt.

Let us once more inhabit that empty lot and lend it a soul. Transform it into a place.

Rui Horta



More info:

Difusão Rui Horta