Open studio: FoFo, Ana Rita Teodoro

March 10, 3.30 pm
Espaço Alkantara
Free entry

Ana Rita Teodoro will be in residence at Espaço Alkantara for three weeks with FoFo, her newest work. A few days before packing up her set to go to Paris, where FoFo will open, she invites the public to an informal showing.

“The starting point for FoFo is kawaii, a way of life rooted in Japanese culture. Semantically, kawaii can refer to vulnerability and fragility, to adorable people, images or objects. Cute in English, mi-mi in French, or fofo in Portuguese – we can find it codified everywhere. Related to the world of the child and, often, the feminine, kawaii is characterised by colourfulness, round and calming shapes, as well as passivity, malleability, and the disproportional facial features of its mascots (large eyes, small mouth, etc.).

Intrigued by the ambivalence contained in this way of relating to the world, I analyse some of the physical and political questions raised by the aesthetics of cuteness. Should we see cuteness as a symbol of regressive consumerism and a strategic for calming critical thought? Or is it an ode to fragility, to things of little action, a gesture of protest against things that are hard and pre-established? Without dismissing the first possibility, I concentrate mostly on the second. I try to see the rebellious and emancipatory potential of cuteness. In making a “cute” dance piece, I hope to free this concept from these preconceived ideas, offering other interpretations.

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I am interested in the adolescent body as an extension and counterpoint to cuteness, a walking metamorphosis (quoting Raul Seixas), at the frontier between the world of the child and the world of the adult, between the soft world and the concrete world. I began by following Haruka Kurebayashi, Lin Lin Doll, and others on social media. With their assumedly kawaii lifestyles, they reimagine the destinies that would otherwise be determined by Japanese (or general) society. These boys and girls are free, in a certain sense, from social norms. They dress non-normatively, eat non-normatively, and stand for their convictions. Next, I looked to the adolescent bodies in the films of Larry Clark and Korine Harmony The kids and teenagers in their movies make the most of the environments in which they find themselves, while struggling to survive. If in the case of kawaii the temporal movement is one of regression (infantalisation), Clark and Harmony’s teenagers live in an extreme present, where the future never manifests.

Adolescence is defined by the pressure to choose a future. I find these “pressures” extremely violent and castrating. This obsession with the future creates problems. It encourages quick, safe decisions and thinking like everyone else, rather than thinking for oneself. The negation of a future also creates problems, of course. FoFo is suspended in this limbo, between the need to create a present without recreating toxic futures, and the passage of time that demands concreteness, food to eat.

FoFo does not reproduce the aesthetics of cuteness, but it does attempt to transcribe some of its processes. Because FoFo is a dance piece, it is can be defined as a group of dances without future, concreteness on the loose, changes in plans, processes of “monstrification” and senxual (sensual and sexual) observations. This all takes place in the tantalising space of an extreme present, inhabited by bodies that are untoned, soft, malleable, resistant to violence, tasty, and enthusiastic.”

Ana Rita T

Credits

Choreographic concept Ana Rita Teodoro
With  Marcela Santander Corvalàn, João dos Santos Martins, Kazuki Fujita, Ana Rita Teodoro
Scenography Salahdyn Khatir
Light design Eduardo Abdala
Sound design Jérèmie Sananes
Production and touring Associação Parasita/Sinara Suzin
Photograph José Carlos Duarte
Funding provided by Fundação d’entreprise Hermès/New Settings
Co-produced by Centre National de la Danse (Pantin), CCN Caen en Normandie (residence-studio), Materiais Diversos
Supported by Fundação GDA, Alkantara

Ana Rita Teodoro is associate artist at Centre National de la Danse, CND (Pantin).

Artist Bio

Ana Rita Teodoro.  Barreiro 1982. Holds a Master from the CNDC in Angers and from the University Paris 8, where she started working on her project Delirious Anatomy, drawing on her scientific and philosophical studies. She recently receives a grant to study with Yoshito Ohno from the Foundation Calouste Gulbenkian and was a recipient of the Aide à la recherche et au Patrimoine en Danse from the CN D, to continue her research into the butoh. She has choreographed the works: MelTe, Orifice Paradis, Gut’s Dream, Plateau, Pavilion and Shade. Ana Rita Teodoro is an associated artist at the CN D (Centre National de Danse, Pantin, France).