Interviews: Vera Mantero
Studied classical dance with Anna Mascolo and danced in the Gulbenkian Ballet between 1984 and 1989. Mantero started choreographing in 1987 and, since 1991, has been presenting her solo and group work all over Europe, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Brazil, Canada, Singapore, South Korea and the USA.
Of her solo work mention goes to “Perhaps she could dance first and think afterwards” (1991), “Olympia” (1993), “one mysterious Thing, said e.e.cummings*” (1996), “What can be said about Pierre” (2011), “The Caldeirão Highlanders, exercises in fictional anthropology” (2012) and “Rich bread” (2017). Her group pieces include “Under” (1993), “For Boring and Profound Sadnesses” (1994), “Poetry and Savagery” (1998), “k(ɘ) su'pɔɾtɐ i s(ɘ)ˈpaɾɐ i kõˈtɐj uʃ dojʃ mu'duʃ i õ'dulɐ” (2002), “Until the moment when God is destroyed by the extreme exercise of beauty” (2006), “We are going to miss everything we don't need” (2009) and “The Propitiatory Practices of Future Events” (2018).
In 2013 and 2014 Mantero created the performance installations “Shadows on offer” and “More or Less, but Less than More”, this last piece presented in two different versions: occupying the whole space of the auditorium – seating and proscenium - in 2013, and at urban vegetable gardens created for the final presentation of the project in 2014. “More or Less, but Less than More” was created in partnership with Culturgest and Maria Matos Municipal Theatre under the scope of the Create to Connect project financed by the European Commission. These projects, as well as “The Clean and The Dirty”, premiered in April 2016 at the Maria Matos Theatre in the framework of the cycle “The Three Ecologies” co-commissioned by Vera Mantero with Mark Deputter and Liliana Coutinho, clearly reflect the choreographer's concerns for fundamental issues such as the environment, economic sustainability, social cohesion and inclusion, and Citizenship.
Her artistic work has been recognized with institutional prizes such as the Prémio Almada (Ministry of Culture - 2002) or the Prémio Gulbenkian Arte for her career as creator and performer (2009), as well as through initiatives such as the retrospective organized by Culturgest in 2009, entitled “Month of March, Month of Vera”, or the Portuguese representation at the 26th São Paulo Art Biennale (2004) with a work co-created with the sculptor Rui Chafes, entitled “Eating your heart out”. The influent Brazilian newspaper O Globo elected “The Caldeirão Highlanders, exercises in fictional anthropology” as one of the best 10 dance pieces presented in 2014.The city of Fundão dedicated a year to the artist (April 2015- April 2016) with the project “Passage #2”, which included the presentation of several performances, the work with local school students and the recreation of “Eating your heart out” for a treetop walkway in Fundão. This new version, entitled “Eating your heart out in the trees” was presented in 2016 at the Mermaid Garden in Coimbra, for which Rui Chafes created a new sculpture. In 2019 is presented in several theatrical spaces and takes on the name “Eating your heart out on stage”.
Since 2014, Vera Mantero integrates, together with Jorge Andrade and Pedro Penim, the cast of the Portuguese version of “Quizoola!” by Tim Etchells/Forced Entertainment.Vera Mantero was invited by Boris Charmatz to be part of “20 Dancers for the 20th Century”, a living archive of the defining choreographic solos of the 20th century, that took place at Tate Modern (London) and at the Paris Opera/Palais Garnier (Paris) in 2015, and at the Staatsoper, in Hannover (Tanzkongress), and at the Museo Reina Sofía (Madrid), in 2016. Vera Mantero participates regularly in international improvisation projects alongside improvisers and choreographers such as Lisa Nelson, Mark Tompkins, Meg Stuart and Steve Paxton.
Since the year 2000 Vera Mantero has also been exploring vocal work, either singing the repertoire of different authors or co-creating experimental music projects.
She regularly teaches composition and improvisation in Portugal and abroad.
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. I don't see any sense anymore in a performer specialised in a single discipline (a dancer or an actor or a singer or a musician) and I now see some sense in a performer specialized in the whole. Life is a terribly complicated and rich phenomenon and I see the work I do as a continuous fight against the impoverishment of the spirit, both mine and others, a fight that I consider essential now and always.
We Offer Shades
a project by Centro de Investigação Cultura e Sustentabilidade/CICS organized by Vera Mantero, 2013
SURREPTITIOUS (clandestine body)
a project conceived by Ana Borralho & João Galante, Vera Mantero, Rita Natálio and Joclécio Azevedo, 2012
Until the moment when God is destroyed by the extreme exercise of beauty
by Vera Mantero, 2006
Double Bind Quartet
a project by Vítor Rua with Carlos Zíngaro, Luís San Payo, Vera Mantero and Vítor Rua, 2006
... k(ә) su'pσrtɐ i s(ә)ˈpaɾɐ i kõˈtɐj uʃ dojʃ mũ'duz‿i õ'dulɐ *
by Vera Mantero & Guests, 2002
Is that all there is? Then let’s keep dancing…
by Nuno Vieira de Almeida and Vera Mantero, 2005
Chamber electroacoustic quartet, music direction Nuno Rebelo, musicians Nuno Rebelo, Vera Mantero, Ulrich Mitzlaff and Manuel Guimarães, 2004