By Olga Roriz with the National Ballet of Portugal (CNB)

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Lágrima [Tear] was created for Ballet Gulbenkian’s Choreography Studios in July 1983 when Olga Roriz was part of the company’s cast. The piece revolves around a woman’s passionate but stormy relationship with three lovers, or alter egos – who knows – of a single fragmented man. Set to the music of Nina Hagen, it is gripping and violent. Even at the time, a question hung in the air: is the woman a victim of violence? Worse, she is an object, subjugated by a male-dominated society. 

As part of the dance not dance programme, Lágrima is presented on the same day as Visita Guiada [Guided Tour], a performance by Cláudia Dias. At the end, there is a talk with both artists, moderated by Teresa Joaquim.

These two choreographically disparate pieces are both markedly feminine or feminist, notwithstanding being two decades apart, a period in which women rights and living conditions in Portuguese society have changed significantly. This juxtaposition is intended to evoke emancipatory movements made evident by the presentation of female soloists and solo female dance performers in 20th-century Portugal and elsewhere. It also reveals the social issues at the heart of these and so many other artists’ work who questioned and fought to improve the position of women in western society. 

Image © Rodrigo Souza

“To Elisa

When the need to create this piece came to me in 1983, I saw in the dancer Elisa Ferreira the inspiring muse she came to be throughout my creative journey at the Gulbenkian Ballet.

Her strength of soul, her feline and sensual movement as a mature woman, her way of thinking about dance in her body, as well as her emotional intelligence, made her an exceptional performer.

I would like to publicly dedicate this reperformance to her and thus remember, with all my affection and admiration, what a great artist she was.”

— Olga Roriz, 2023

Olga Roriz (1955, Viana do Castelo) was a member of the cast of the Gulbenkian Ballet from 1976, where she was prima ballerina and main choreographer. In 1992 she took over as artistic director of the Lisbon Dance Company, and in 1995 she founded the Olga Roriz Company. She was awarded the degree of Doctor Honoris Causa by the University of Aveiro for distinction in the Arts (2017) and the insignia of the Order of Infante D. Henrique (2004).

Anyah Siddall (Australia) has been a dancer with the National Ballet Company since 2016. She graduated from the Hamburg Ballett John Neumeier dance school in 2015 and has danced for this company, the Dutch National Ballet, and the Ballett Kiel.

dance not dance

This event is included in the (re)performances, films and talks series which constitutes the first part of dance not dance – archaeologies of the new dance in Portugal. More info.


Choreography, costumes and lighting

Olga Roriz


Anyah Siddall, Joshua Earl, Tiago Amaral, Dylan Waddell / National Ballet of Portugal (CNB)

Premiere Cast

Elisa Ferreira, Gagik Ismailian, José Grave and João Afonso


Naturträne de Nina Hagen Band

Original Production

Ballet Gulbenkian


The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation reserves the right to collect and keep records of images, sounds and voice for the diffusion and preservation of the memory of its cultural and artistic activity. For further information, please contact us through the Information Request form.


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