A Power Ballad (2013)

Mariana Tengner Barros and Mark Tompkins

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In 2013, the American burlesque performer Tempest Storm (1928 – 2021) was still active at 83 years old, defying time and conventions. Her figure thus embodied a blend of opposing dynamics that contrasted the illusion of the spectacle with the disillusion of life, and that served as the inspiration for Mariana Tengner Barros and Mark Tompkins’ creation, A Power Ballad. Shrouded in memories of a longed-for past and nostalgic ballads, Tengner Barros and Tompkins play the roles of “two sisters, eccentric and decadent stars of showbiz, confronted with growing old and post-fame emptiness, obsessed with returning to the stage.” Together, they ironically and dialectically question power and image in show business, and vice-versa.

Show with full nudity and it uses strobe lighting.


Mariana Tengner Barros Concept
Mariana Tengner Barros e Mark Tompkins Texts, creation and performance
António MV e Jonny Kadaver Special appearance
Mariana Tengner Barros, Mark Tompkins e António MV Set
António MV Costumes, video and creative assistance
Nuno Patinho Lighting design and technical direction
Filipe Lopes Sound design



Mother e Unconditional Love
Mark Tompkins and Mariana Tengner Barros 
Filipe Lopes arrangement
João Paulo Rosado Double bass in Mother

Lonely at the top
Mark Tompkins
Jonny Kadaver

Sónia Pessoa
Elizabete Francisca Translation assistance
Filipe Lopes Sound design
EIRA Production
Centro Cultural de Belém Coproduction
Fundação GDA – Apoio à circulação de espectáculos, Neorelva, Nobre, Largo residências Support

A EIRA is an organisation supported by the Government of Portugal / DgArtes – Directorate-General of the Arts.

A Power Ballad received the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation grant for artistic creation in 2013.
Premiere: 13 December 2013, Centro Cultural de Belém, Lisbon.

Mariana Tengner Barros (Coimbra, 1982) is a choreographer, dancer and performer. A graduate of dance from the Northern School of Contemporary Dance in Leeds, she has also completed the Choreographic Creation, Dance Research and Training Programme at Forum Dança in Lisbon. She was an associated artist with EIRA between 2013 and 2016 and is currently the artistic director of the A BELA Association. She has collaborated with several artists, including Francisco Camacho, Meg Stuart, John Romão, Ballet Contemporâneo do Norte, Diana Bastos Niepce and Elizabete Francisca. Also with Mark Tompkins, she created the work “Resurrection” in 2017.

Mark Tompkins (EUA, 1954) is a dancer, choreographer, professor and singer based in Paris since 1973, where he founded the company I.D.A. in 1983. His unique way of creating “unidentified performance objects” has become his signature: solos, collective works, concerts and improvisations that merge dance, music, voice, video and text, starting in the 1970s and together with set and costume designer Jean-Louis Badet since 1988.


Throughout two long weekends, dance returns to the auditoriums of the Foundation with the performance of two dozen works created over recent years with support from the Gulbenkian and with some making their very first appearance in Portugal. Program selection under the curatorship of João dos Santos Martins.


The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation reserves the right to collect and keep records of images, sounds and voice for the diffusion and collective preservation of the memory of its cultural and artistic activity. For further information, please contact us at [email protected].

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