The Caldeirão Highlanders
„The whole piece is peopled by voices that come from afar… “ — Vera Mantero
The title of The Caldeirão Highlanders – Exercises in Fictional Anthropology already alludes to the name of this lonely region in the south of Portugal – the Caldeirão Highlands. More and more people have started to leave this region. A quiet unfolds in places where people used to talk, sing and work. A quiet Vera Mantero confronts in her lecture performance with her own video material as well as with recordings by music ethnologist Michel Giacommetti and texts by authors such as Antonin Artaud. However, from which sources have these materials been extracted that might help to shed light on traditional provincial practices and realities? Mantero also addresses these issues with vigour and a touch of irony. She dedicates her singing and dancing not only to the audience in front of her but also to the few remaining inhabitants of Serra do Caldeirão. Mantero’s work is a vibrant, poetic homage to lost knowledge that once ran through body and soul, daily life and the arts – knowledge we need to regain.
studied classical dance and was part of Ballet Gulbenkian in Lisbon for five years. Her breakthrough performances, drawing on female icons like Manet’s Olympia or Josephine Baker, received international critical acclaim in the 1990s. She has choreographed many ensemble and solo pieces for theatres and festivals in Europe, South America, Canada, Singapore, South Korea and the United States since then. In recent years, her work has mainly dealt with issues concerning ecology and sustainability.
She teaches composition and improvisation on a regular basis at institutions in Portugal and abroad. She has starred in performances and improvisational pieces by artists such as Meg Stuart, Steve Paxton or Mark Tompkins. She was also invited to take part in Boris Charmatz’s 20 Dancers for the 20th Century. Vera Mantero and sculptor Ruis Chafes also represented Portugal at the 26. Sao Paulo Biennale (2004) with Eating your heart out. In 2009, Lisbon’s Culturgest dedicated a retrospective to her work. Her artistic works have received many awards: the Portuegese cultural ministry’s Prémio Almada in 2002, and the lifetime achievement award Prémio Gulbenkian Arte in 2009.
O Rumo do Fumo is supported by República Portuguesa – Cultura, DGArtes – Direcção Geral das Artes
The performance will be followed by an Artist Talk with Vera Mantero and Rio Rutzinger.
Vera Mantero on The Caldeirão Highlanders
The Thinking Body