Got questions? We’ve got answers.
A note from the artistic directors
People often say that art is about asking questions, and that is where its transformative potential lies. We’ve probably said as much. But the more we have worked on this programme, the more we have come to think that the potential of art lies not in the questions it asks, but in the answers it provides.
People often say, too, that art is about singular visions. A draft of this text included something along those lines. But the more we think about what we want for artists and audiences, the more strongly we feel about shifting the focus from singular visions to robust communities that bring forth ideas and aesthetics, and participate in larger social, political, and cultural movements.
We see these twin notions — of art that dreams of answers and communities of change — running through the programme of the 2020 Alkantara Festival. We don’t know yet what answers the programme will bring; that is the difficulty of writing before the fact. But even before we sit, and feel, and think in the theatre together, we can venture a few guesses.
When the history books can’t — or won’t — tell the whole story, Faustin Linyekula, Dina Mimi, and Radouan Mriziga find life stories, family archives, dreams, and mythologies to fill in the blanks.
When we expect dancers to be silent, Eszter Salamon (in collaboration with Vânia Doutel Vaz) and João dos Santos Martins find ways for them to speak.
When language or culture holds back parts of who we are, Dana Michel, Sorour Darabi, and Nadia Beugré show us what we are missing, with bodies, movement, and presence.
When faced with the unknown, Cláudia Dias is unafraid to speculate about the future. Flora Détraz finds a voice from deep within to communicate with it. Sónia Baptista prescribes a way to face it, with anger and optimism. Cão Solteiro & André Godinho unapologetically make it up as they go along.
Finally, the Terra Batida network enlists artists, researchers, lawyers, and activists to answer ecological violence with practices of resistance and care. Their programme of talks and performances by Marta Lança, Joana Levi, Sílvia das Fadas, Ana Rita Teodoro, Maria Lúcia Cruz Correia, Vera Mantero, and Rita Natálio runs through this year’s festival and beyond.
We began this introductory note by sharing a vision of a robust arts community situated within larger social, political, and cultural movements. We need look no further than ourselves, our staff, and our programming to see that we are falling short of the larger change we wish to see. We cannot wish to see Black futures, trans futures, accessible futures, futures for women, or futures for the environment on stage without bringing those visions to bear in our own organisation, where we are best positioned to make change. To the question of what we are doing to create a more just future, we are formulating an overdue answer. It starts with accepting responsibility (more on that to come) and putting our money where our mouth is (and on that, too).
Not all of the answers are clear yet, but this is what we want to offer today: a way of looking at the programme we are so pleased to finally share. We invite you to recognise the questions, understand how they connect to larger conversations, and hold us all accountable for the answers we provide in November. That is how we are robust. That is how we elevate ideas. That is how we bring about the future.
Carla Nobre Sousa and David Cabecinha, 13 October 2020
Sónia Baptista (Lisbon, 1973) studied contemporary dance at Forum Dança (Lisbon) and holds a Master’s degree in Choreography and Performance from the University of Roehampton (London). As a performer and co-creater she has collaborated with Laurent Goldring, Patrícia Portela, Aldara Bizarro, Vera Mantero, Thomas Lehmann, Arco Renz, Teatro Cão Solteiro, AADK, Ligia Soares, Silvia Real, and Clara Amaral. In her work, she explores and experiments with dance, music, literature, theatre, and video. Her first solo work, Haikus, was awarded the Revelation in Dance prize...