Investing in a
new dance generation
in Europe
Credits: Joshua
Culture Program of the European Comission

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication [communication] reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.
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ARTIST PROFILE: Interview with Sofia Dias & Vitor Roriz (by Rita Natalio)

RITA NATÁLIO: What was the starting point of the project “A gesture that is nothing but a threat” which recently was awarded the prize Jardin d’Europe?

SOFIA DIAS& VÍTOR RORIZ: It was really by chance. At the end of the process of one of our previous pieces “Unfolding”, we started to play with words during one of our improvisation sessions, and we decided to keep this idea to a future work. Later on, when we begun this new work, we started from there, from the repetition of words. But we mean the use of words beyond their semantical field,  the potential of words as sound and form. The way all words can be connected phonetically, even from different languages.

RITA NATALIO: Your piece has two different parts – one where you present a big and evolving chain of words and a second one where you dance a big and evolving chain of movement. I connect this second part, the work on segmented movement, with your previous piece “Unfolding”....

SOFIA DIAS & VÍTOR RORIZ: All of our works came from a common ground of research, so yes, indeed  all of them share something. Each piece is a step in our research, they don’t aim to close anything. In “Unfolding” there was something about the exploration of time, which is one of the themes that was interesting us. Movement in “Unfolding” appears as fragmentation of  time.  This is also present in this last work “A gesture..”, because movement is fragmented and recreates a time frame. It was not necessarily a decision, but a consequence of our continuous research.

RITA NATÁLIO: When I saw “A gesture that is nothing but a threat” I thought immediately about the video work of Martin Arnold “Piece Touchée”, an experimental film work that takes a 18-second shot from a Hollywood movie starring  Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney into a 16-minutes edit, repeating endlessly characters’ microscopic movements. They are both on the verge of something that never seems to materialize.

See the video here:

SOFIA DIAS & VITOR RORIZ : We guess nowaydays we are very much influenced by technology because we are confronted with all these extra-human possibilities in a daily basis. And this extra-human possibilities can become human if we appropriate them. But at the same time, we must say that in our creative processes we totally trust what we carry as persons, and our desires, our intentions in each project can vary a lot. We never did a research on technology. It doesn’t interest us specifically. The movement research on this work, was very much based on the exploration of time. So, yes, the connection is there.

RITA NATÁLIO What do you think about the label  “young artist in Europe”?

SOFIA DIAS & VITOR RORIZ: It’s a category, we need to be placed somewhere! But sometimes, it can be important. We just don’t know how long can one be a young artist? (laughes). Does it have to do with age or with the work? We guess it’s something practical, something to justify projects and supports....But off course it also influences the way someone sees a show. It places the way the audience perceives the work...

RITA NATALIO: Do you think this label enables ou disables possibilities?

SOFIA DIAS & VITOR RORIZ: In our case, it’s permitting a lot of things. Jardin d’Europe for instance, it’s a prize for young emerging artists. But, of course, we also know this discussion is very much linked with the market. There is a need for initiatives and categories because they enable certain entrances of money and support. 

RITA NATALIO: For me it’s also very interesting to learn, that there is always a time in our lives that we answer this type of questions with the word “realism”. And that is normally near the thirties! (laughes). But to finish, I would love you to talk about the new work that you are now developing for 2012.

SOFIA DIAS & VITOR RORIZ: We want to keep our freedom in generating materials. Also in terms of composition. It may sound a very basic answer, but for us it’s essential. And then we also want to invest in our fascination for simultaneity and multiplicity, a rhizomatic thought through which everything is associated. But this is a general questioning.
We need to understand the context where we are at the moment. In terms of form but also in terms of economic and politic reality. The tensions that everyone is perceiving right now, for instance. But this doesn’t mean we are going to translate this into a concrete form. It’s more a drive, something that is there every time we enter the studio.
And finally, we also want to challenge our  ways of working. We will produce ruptures and continuities with our own experiences of past creations. But this is common sense. We guess right now, we can only share common sense with you! (laughes)