Talvez ela pudesse dançar primeiro e pensar depois

By Vera Mantero with the National Ballet of Portugal (CNB)

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Created in 1991 for the Europalia festival, where Nova Dança Portuguesa [New Portuguese Dance] first gained international recognition, this solo, which is still being performed after almost three decades, is a core work in Vera Mantero’s choreographic oeuvre. 

In Talvez ela pudesse dançar primeiro e pensar depois [Perhaps she could dance first and think later], Mantero discovered a part of her choreographic identity, lexicon of movements, stage presence, and the instruments and elements with which she creates and performs: a body that does not disregard gestures, hands, face and expressions but includes them, recognising them as part of a “body-person” that is constantly trying to grapple with whatever is traversing it, exposing it to the responses of a vibrant body that clashes into the time-cadence and plays with it like a child with marbles. As improvisation, it provided her with the minutiae, speed and freedom that a choreographed dance could not.

As part of the dance not dance programme, this (re)performance is a rare intersection between the protagonists of Nova Dança Portuguesa [New Portuguese Dance] and the National Ballet of Portugal (CNB). In it, the improvisation-based solo is performed by Paulina Santos, the CNB’s soloist ballerina, to whom Mantero transmits it.

Within the same programme, Luís Guerra visits Almada Negreiros’ choreographic work with an original creation – Almada Negreiros, o bailarino [Almada Negreiros, the dancer] – which will be presented on the same day, followed by a talk with both artists and Paulina Santos, moderated by Alexandre Melo.

Image © José Fabião. O Rumo do Fumo

Vera Mantero (1966, Lisbon) has studied classical dance with Anna Mascolo and was a member of the Gulbenkian Ballet between 1984 and 1989. She became one of the centerpieces of New Portuguese Dance, starting her choreographic career in 1987 and showing her work throughout Europe, the Americas and Asia. She has been awarded numerous prizes and honors for her artistic work over the years.

Paulina Santos (1973, Bragança) has studied classical dance at the Porto Ballet Academy. She joined the National Ballet of Portugal (CNB) in 1990 under the direction of Armando Jorge and, in 2004, under the direction of Marc Jonkers, she became a soloist. She has also worked with Vasco Wellenkamp's Portuguese Contemporary Ballet Company (CPBC), Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker's Rosas Company and Olga Roriz Company.

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.



Vera Mantero


Paulina Santos / National Ballet of Portugal (CNB)


André Lepecki

Lighting design

João Paulo Xavier


Ruby, My Dear de Thelonious Monk


Vera Mantero


O Rumo do Fumo


Commissioned by the Klapstuk 91 Festival as part of Europália Portugal 91.


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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