By Francis Graça for Bailados Portugueses Verde Gaio dance company transmitted by Cristina Graça with the Portuguese Higher School of Dance (ESD)

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Nazaré (1948) was written and choreographed by Francis Graça with music by Frederico de Freitas and stage design and costumes by José Barbosa. The dance follows on from Estado Novo dictatorship efforts from 1935 onwards to encapsulate a Portuguese style and aesthetic in an attempt to project a modern image at home and abroad of the Portuguese as a simple, loyal and hard-working people. From this perspective, Nazaré recounts, through movement, the romantic successes and misfortunes of the young fishermen, closely linked to the tragedies and losses wreaked by the violence of the sea.

“On the beach, the fishing tackle is being readied. Men and women pull a boat out of the water as the fish sellers, unmistakable with their narrow waists and hips moving like the sand below their feet, approach. Fishermen walk past dragging nets and oars, called by the blowing of a conch to set out to sea again.”

— Excerpt from Francis Graça’s script for Nazaré

As part of the dance not dance programme, one of the most emblematic works of Bailados Portugueses Verde Gaio dance company is reinterpreted by students from the Portuguese Higher School of Dance (ESD), using an almost fully recorded video of the original performance, adapted for camera.

On the same day, the performance Il Faut Danser Portugal is also presented, a creation by António Olaio (1984) reactivated by Vânia Rovisco (as part of her project Reacting to Time – Portuguese in Performance). Between Nazaré’s double sessions, there is talk with the artists moderated by Paula Parente Pinto, where some of the issues raised by the juxtaposition of the two (re)performances are discussed.

Image: Francis Graça and Ruth Walden in Nazaré, by the Portuguese dance company Verde Gaio, 1948. Courtesy of António Quadros Foundation.

Cristina Graça has been a teacher at the Portuguese Higher School of Dance (ESD) since 2003. She has taught at the Portuguese National Conservatory Dance School and at the Portugal National Ballet Dance Courses. She has collaborated with the theatre company A Comuna as a dance teacher and choreographer. She has choreographed for the Madeira Dance Company and has created short pieces for students at ESD.

Francis Graça (Lisbon, 1902-1980) was a dancer and choreographer who renewed the revue theatre of the 1930s in Lisbon and was the main choreographer of Bailados Portugueses Verde Gaio dance company in its initial phase, between 1940 and 1950.

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.


Script and coreography

Francis Graça


Frederico de Freitas

Scenography and costumes

José Barbosa

Premiere dancers

Francis Graça, Ruth Walden, Helena Miranda, Dídia Maria, Ernestina de Carvalho, Isabel Santa-Rosa, Constante Rocha, Joaquim Barreiros, José Azevedo, António Almeida, Idalina de Oliveira, Lucinda Amaral, Maria Adelaide, Maria Manuela Miranda, Octávia Beleza, Sara Antonieta and Tália Vieira


December 1948, São Carlos National Theatre



Cristina Graça


Final year students of the Dance course at the Portuguese Higher School of Dance (ESD) / Polytechnic Institute of Lisbon

Commission and production

dance not dance / Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation

Institutional collaboration

Portuguese Higher School of Dance (ESD)


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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