Perhaps she could dance first and think afterwards (1991)
This solo has a prominent place in Vera Mantero’s choreographic career. It has run across almost two decades and, remarkably, is still alive and being performed. Why?
It was with this solo that the author found part of her identity concerning movement, way of being on scene, instruments and elements she uses to create and perform: a body that does not neglect gestures, the hands, the face, expressions, that includes them because knows that those elements are absolutely part of the body-person; that constantly tries to get a hold of what goes through it; that tries to expose that through the answers of a vibrant body; a body that clashes against time-cadence and plays with it (them) as a child plays with marbles; a body that produces an almost-speech, in sounds that resemble words, in lips that articulate inaudible words.
Tate Modern, United Kingdom
Programme 'BMW Tate Live: If Tate Modern was Musée de la Danse?'
Performed throughout Tate Modern’s galleries, 20 Dancers for the XX Century is a collection of solo works (some acclaimed, some forgotten). Through sharing and explaining their works to the visitors, twenty performers present a living archive of the last century of dance.
With Germaine Acogny, Pat Catterson, François Chaignaud, Julie Cunningham, Colin Dunne, Brennan Gerard, Samuel Lefeuvre, Vera Mantero, Ko Murobushi, Chrysa Parkinson, Sonia Pregrad, Marlène Saldana, Frédéric Seguette, Yasutake Shimaji, Big Shush, Asha Thomas, Julian Weber, Adam Weinert, Frank Willens.
If Tate Modern was Musée de la Danse?
Starting from the question: If Tate Modern was Musée de la Danse? This project proposes a transformation of the art museum via the lens of dance. For two days only, in collaboration with dancer and choreographer Boris Charmatz, around 90 dancers and choreographers will take over the gallery spaces and the iconic Turbine Hall.
As Tate Modern becomes Musée de la Danse temporarily, the project conjures a vision of how art might be presented and encountered differently in the future museum.
Paris Opera Ballet, France
The Opéra National de Paris, collaborating with the Musée de la danse, hosts Boris Charmatz’s project of creating a living archive of the most representative dance solos of the 20th century. The Paris Opera Ballet presents therefore 20 Danseurs pour le XXe siècle addressing the history of dance as an artistic process built on the strength of context.
Bringing their own repertoire of memories, references and techniques, and being determined by them, artists subjectively assume the original choreographies. At the same time, choreographies are dislocated to a designated public space at Palais Garnier: the foyer, the stairways, the library or even a corridor, creating new relational nodes that arise from the original compositions and their new spatial surroundings.
It is in the context of this triadic combination – original choreography, artist / interpreter and specificities of place – that Charmatz’s living archive will be displayed.
The spectator is invited to wander through Palais Garnier, free to visit the living history of 20th century dance, in which Vera Mantero’s piece Perhaps she could dance first and think afterwards can be found.
Tanzkongress, Staatsoper Hannover, Germany
Under the direction of Boris Charmatz, 20 dancers and performers of different generations transform the Staatsoper Hannover into an expansive Musée de la danse. In an itinerary through the dance history of the 20th century, they present individually selected or developed solos, that start with the pioneers of modernism and postmodernism and range all the way from ballet and urban dance. The Staatsoper with its spacious rooms, hallways, and foyers thus becomes a living dance museum through which the audience can not only stroll, but also experience dance history in an impressive way and vividly relive personal memories. Following presentations at, among others, the MOMA in New York, Tate Modern in London, and Opéra Garnier in Paris, the Musée de la danse presents a version of the project ‘20 Dancers for the XX Century‘ created specifically for the opening of the Dance Congress 2016.
Museo Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain
Museo Reina Sofía presents 20 Dancers for the XX Century by the French choreographer and incumbent director of the Musée de la danse, Boris Charmatz. The piece will feature the participation of twenty dancers and performers and will be executed across different gallery spaces housing the Museo’s Collection.
20 Dancers for the XX Century is conceived as a living archive in which twenty dancers from different generations perform, recall, appropriate, explain and transmit extracts from a selection of 20th-century dance solos, originally created and performed by pre-eminent figures from the discipline. Each dancer will put forward their own “museum”, freely interacting with diverse spaces in the Collection, and the piece sees Charmatz explore and expand upon the notion of the museum as a living institution with room for dance practices.
Paraphrasing Boris Charmatz, the project, more than an inheritance, encompasses a kind of archaeology: it seeks to elicit past gestures, restored gestures, reinterpreted by the dancer’s body in the present. From a metaphorical and literal perspective, a dance museum’s collection resides in dancers’ bodies; the body is the most operative storage space: formed by gestures and inhabited by memories which are ready to be activated, in the present and future. The dancers, artists and actors participating in this piece are free to choose and remember, to teach, speak, repeat, reproduce and reappropriate the solos of their choice. Their knowledge of particular works could hail from education or could have been performed previously, while their exercises could adopt the form of wild appropriation or respectful homage, of a division, text, or the reading of documents. The solos are shown where the dancers feel they should be shown and are presented and embodied, but without being allocated a place or time. In this way, emphasis is placed on the mobility and fluidity of bodies: there is no programme to follow, no schedule to adhere to; no one knows exactly who will present what, or where or when. However, everyone is invited to discuss, talk, question and comment.
17 December 2016, Museo Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain
16 June 2016, Tanzkongress, Staatsoper, Hannover, Germany
25 September to 11 October 2015, Opéra Garnier, Paris, France
15 and 16 May 2015, Tate Modern, London, United Kingdom