Conversation-performance I’d rather not

Andresa Soares, Vera Mantero and João Ferro Martins

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As Uma estadia de 50 minutos (A 50-minute stay), which premiered in 2016, could not be staged, Andresa Soares was invited to discuss her recent work inspired by the iconic sentence from Herman Melville’s Bartleby — “I would prefer not to.” But how to discuss something that she herself has not seen? I’d rather not is a solo in which two devices coexist: a dance solo interrupted by 20 direct encounters with those who play the part of the spectators. Created by Andresa Soares, Gonçalo Alegria and João Ferro Martins in collaboration with Yael Karavan, the show premiered in January 2020 at PenhaSco – Arte Cooperativa. Vera Mantero participated in the show as a spectator and is now the initiator and moderator of this conversation with Andresa Soares, with the participation of João Ferro Martins.

I’d rather not received the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation grant for dance in 2019.

Andresa Soares (Lisboa, 1978), choreographer, dancer and actress. Her studies have been split between the fine arts and dance and her work seeks to freely move between the use of language, movement, image, sound, and the audience’s presence, or the conscious elimination of one of these elements, using constraint as the driving force for the formulation of the project. She is the founder of Máquina Agradável, which she codirected with Lígia Soares (2002-2014). She currently is a member of the collective Apneia Colectiva.

João Ferro Martins (Santarém, 1979) works as a visual, sound and performance artist. He is a graduate of Fine Art from the School of Arts and Design (Caldas da Rainha) and has participated in numerous solo and collective exhibitions. Three-dimensional works and questions related to painting and music form the basis of his artistic production. He is involved in several activities connected to theatre, performance and film. Together with Hugo Canoilas, he is the founder of the A kills B collective and is also involved in the musical projects CATARATA and Casal do Leste.

Vera Mantero (Lisboa, 1966) studied ballet under Anna Mascolo and was a member of the Gulbenkian Ballet between 1984 and 1989. She is one of the key figures of the Nova Dança Portuguesa (New Portuguese Dance) movement and her work has been performed in various parts of the world. Since 2000, she has also dedicated herself to vocal work, performing repertoires from various authors and co-creating experimental music projects. In 2002, she was awarded the Almada Prize (IPAE/Ministry of Culture) and, in 2009, she received the Gulbenkian Art Prize for her career as creator and performer.


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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