© Jorge Gonçalves

VERA MANTERO – one mysterious Thing, said e.e.cummings*

Centro Cultural de Lagos
Sat 21 OCT, 21h30

Dance / 1996 / 20' / M12 / 7€ / 5€

The solo one mysterious Thing, said e.e.cummings* was created in January 1996 for the “Homage to Josephine Baker”, an event organized by the theatre Culturgest in Lisbon.
In her vision of the life and the work of the black dancer and singer of the first half of the 20th century, Vera Mantero chose an approach that goes beyond the face of Josephine Baker.

In the program she wrote: It is one thing that I would like to find or create: a vast territory in which richness of spirit prevails. (…) This spirit I’m talking about has no wish to abolish the body, has no shame of its desire and of its sex, what this spirit wishes is to eradicate coarseness, the frightful foolishness, the deep ignorance, the poverty of horizons, the materialism, etc., etc. (unfortunately, this seems to be a long list…).

© Park Sang Yun

An impossibility, a bad way of living, a sadness, an absence, a sorrow, an inability, atrocious” are some of the words that are repeated, with an insistence growing, throughout the spectacle “where Vera Mantero precariously balances herself on goat feet and budging to the rhythm of difficulty that the words enunciate without arriving to pull out the feet of the condemnation to which they remain. Exasperating corporisation of an uncomfortableness that, as one knows, always begins by being a not knowing what to do with the body” describes Alexandre Melo in Expresso. And he concludes: “Two hypotheses to describe this generic, general, civilizational situation: there is something that lacks. Or, maybe better, there is something that is not.
Text in the press-release of the festival Danças na Cidade 1996

*that’s why e.e.cummings wrote about her “one mysterious Thing, neither primitive nor civilized, or beyond time, in the sense that emotion is beyond arythmetics”

Concept and performance: Vera Mantero
Make-up: Alda Salavisa (original drawing by Carlota Lagido)
Props: Teresa Montalvão
Original light design: João Paulo Xavier
Light adaptation and operation: Hugo Coelho
Executive Production: Forum Dança
Tour Manager: O Rumo do Fumo
Supports: Casa da Juventude de Almada, Re.Al / Amascultura
Production: Culturgest, Lisbon, 1996 – Homage to Josephine Baker


Vera Mantero studied classical dance with Anna Mascolo and was part of Ballet Gulbenkian between 1984 and 1989. She became one of the central figures of the Nova Dança Portuguesa and began her career as a choreographer in 1987.
Her work has been seen throughout Europe and in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, South Korea, the USA and Singapore. Since 2000 she has also dedicated herself to voice work, singing the repertoire of various songwriters and creating, with others, experimental music projects. In 1999 Culturgest organised a retrospective of her work to date, entitled Mês de Março, Mês de Vera.
She represented Portugal at the 26th S.Paulo Biennial, in 2004, with Comer o Coração – Eating your heart out, created in partnership with Rui Chafes. In 2002 she was awarded the Portuguese Ministry of Culture’s Almada Prize, and in 2009 the Gulbenkian Art Prize for her career as creator and performer.