Madalena Victorino, André Duarte and guests • Dance, music, video and spoken word • Portugal
We have arrived to the Orient in Alentejo. These words are the entrance carpet which offers glimpses of India, Nepal, Bangladesh and other Asian cultures that inhabit the streets of São Teotónio. BOWING is a gift in the shape of a performance, which we offer you in order to practice an economy we believe in, receiving the audience with dance, music, words and images. Here, we map the journey through the continents of Hospitality, Gravity and Incomprehension, crossed by our feet, where we will try to host a true encounter. Welcome to the Orient that breathes along these streets.
Meet, a 15-year-old Indian boy who lives with his sister Maitri in Almograve, both from Gujrat, explains that there are three essential ingredients for meditation: focus, practice and peace. These instructions fill our bodies in work, in dance, and in the collective meditation that is marked by the seven strokes of the church bell in São Teotónio. The gestures invoke Indian mudras, Portuguese prayers and all the mysterious symbols in between, that both separate us and bring us closer. We echo the words of the philosopher João Maria André, which also float around this town, asking the gods for the encounter to go well, in a place where “we are all foreigners, symbols of one another, belonging to everyone and to no one”.
Mandeep is a woman of the Sikh religion, who departed from Punjab and arrived to Boavista dos Pinheiros. Sathyia, from the South of India, lives with her daughter and husband in Odemira and cooks dishes of her region every Wednesday, in São Luís do Alentejo. In this Curry Kingdom, Sathyia and Mandeep share their cultures through food, where passageways are opened across walls, by flavors and dances, to a place where “the world hasn’t been broken into pieces”, as told by the Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore.
Rajendra speaks Hindi, Nepalese, English and Portuguese, bridging the cultures in São Teotónio through translation, an act of hospitality. When he translates, Rajendra captivates the astonished gazes with his magnetism. Here, in Hindi, he offers his voice to the truth that 13000 migrants in this region experience every day, claiming the right to other forms of coexistence.
I have important things to tell you.
This is our new history.
Atithi Devo Bhava.
A collection of portraits where the new families of Alentejo welcome us in their fields, rewriting the story of these plains, these trees and hill tops. Many arrive alone from the East, but the families we see here were successful in staying together while crossing the world. Everyone leaves for a reason, everyone arrives with a purpose, a dream for the future.
Max works in a flower-plantation company in Boavista dos Pinheiros, and on the wall of his kitchen there are paper cuttings that awaken one’s curiosity of the world. It is Max who introduces, in Nepalese, the words and dance that follow:
Here is a map where East and West come together. This is a very old story. You might not understand the words, but you will understand the dance.
Laxmi, a Nepalese girl from Uralabari and a student in Odemira, writes in a poem that “we are all under the same sky”. We join her words to those of Richard Kearny, an Irish philosopher of Hospitality, and draw an enormous flower on the floor of a square, somewhere between a western compass and an oriental mandala, which will give us instructions to cross foreign lands: the home of gods, monsters and strangers who also inhabit us.
The gods are cooking dinner, the gods drink on the streets, the gods are wearing gloves and pulling out wild weeds, the gods prepare the earth, the gods are growing flowers, the gods walk down plantations and sleep in metal houses. The gods are looking for their place, the gods want to get the vaccine, the gods had never seen the ocean, the gods are finding allies, the gods all have a health number, the gods are filling forms, the gods have aching backs and money waiting to be sent home.
An entrance door in the shape of a dance. A solo that is crossed by the East and the West in the body of a dancer. Movement is born on top of an altar that was used as the well from where the town’s water emerged. The sound announces a fluid gateway to another space, Elsa’s garden. Elsa was a girl from São Teotónio who escaped life and left a forest behind with her name, which we also named the Forest of Incomprehension.
Masters in the bodies of children will fill the ears and hands of the audience with the incomprehensible languages of their countries. Through cinema, these distant territories lie down on picnic tables and we visit the landscapes and atmospheres in the cities of the East. When the images penetrate the skin, dancing bodies emerge and offer us the beauty of incomprehension. In this forest there are dark crossings, clearings made of music and feminine spaces of shadow, with dances that curl around the pine trees like wild snakes. Asia settles on the earth walls that form our new temple, surrounded by the dreams of nameless princesses and by the dance of two sisters that move on top of their memories.
On the field of São Teotónio where animals are shown in order to be sold, we enter the final part of BOWING, an area of gravity and acceleration. We call to our bodies the essence of work, game, exhaustion and of the movements that inscribe this town in the map of great global changes. São Teotónio is part of the world as it transforms with it. Migrations, greenhouses, strangers. Work that kills, work that saves, joy, despair, children’s play, magnetic dances between men and women that prevail around the world, in all the bodies, through the repetition of infinite tasks which carry both salvation and death.
A very special acknowledgment to all the artists, writers and philosophers who accompany us in BOWING and feed us with their art, their thoughts. We used citation as the mechanism to include and visit excerpts of already created and presented works that are present in this performance, so that we feel less alone. We are accompanied by the thoughts and works of other people, making them our own as well. That, for us, is a way towards community.
Thank you to the Irish philosopher Richard Kearney, Indian painter Nainsukh, French philosopher Jacques Derrida, Portuguese philosopher João Maria André, Portuguese writer and journalist Alexandra Lucas Coelho, Indian author Viasa, Israeli choreographer Hofesh Schechtner, Indian painter Manaku of Guler, American video artist Bill Viola, Spanish poet Juan Vicente Piqueras, Indian filmmaker Amit Dutta, French filmmaker Henri Cartier-Bresson, English poet Kate Tempest, French philosopher Simone Weill, Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore, American choreographer Steve Paxton and Indian film director Satyajit Ray.
Matilde Real word, Inês Melo dance and Pavel Tavares videoNuclear BOWING team
Natalia Lis, Thais Julia dance, Marc Plannels, Márcio Pinto, Pedro Salvador, Pramin Ghatani, Rajendra Shiwakoti, Rémi Gallet, Vitória Faria music, Elka Victorino choreographic assistance, Bárbara Sousa e Francisca Poças, Andreia Coelho, Catarina Bertrand, João Parreira, Manuel Ruiz special participation and Joaquim Madaíl light design and technical direction Guest Artists
BOWING refers to the verb to bow. In oriental cultures, when greeting each other, people unite their hands in front of the chest and bow before the other as a sign of welcome and respect. In the rural world, the one who works the earth also bows over it, sometimes over a lifetime, in order to touch and fertilize the ground. In dance, it is this curve that Doris Humphrey refers to when describing the arc between a jump and a fall, our response to gravity. The combination of these movements of dance, work and mutual respect forms the ground of this artistic project.
São Teotónio - Odemira Quintalão (in front of the church) 12 · 13 · 14 NOV (fri to sun) – 7:00PM