Tânia Carvalho

18 February 2020

Tânia Carvalho

Interview

Choreographer

The title of your latest work, Onironauta [Oneironaut], comes from the Greek oneiros (dream) and nautes (seafarer), referring us to the world of dreams and the invisible. How do you reconcile an ethereal universe with a language so firmly based on form and precision?

Oneironaut is someone who has lucid dreams, and who in a way is able to control them. When we dream, we create everything that exists within that dream. It is a lonely process, but on the other hand, it is a place without rules where we can let imagination run wild. Staging plays is not unlike being an oneironaut. We direct what we want to happen from inside out. There are those who collaborate with us and bring matters with them, there’s chance and plenty of things we do not control, but it all starts from here (from this place that I don’t know where it is and that I call “me”).

In the credits, the name Tânia Carvalho appears countless times, in such distinct fields as choreography, music, costumes and production. What is it like to cross disciplines, which is also a feature of your work?

I like to understand how things emerge through me in various fields. I learn a lot from each one. Not only with regard to the field in which I find myself working at the moment, but also from one to another. I feel more comfortable knowing I can create no matter the field and acquiring tools according to what the ideas require from me. Like a spider weaving a web of doings.

What is the working process of a choreographer fascinated by geometric design and with a mathematical, schematic thinking like?

Schemes provide me with a kind of liberation feeling. As if through them I was able to sense the infinite. Working processes are different in every piece. There is no right process I always follow. It feels like every piece calls for what to do and how to do it.

You have been working for 20 years. How has your work evolved—including language, addressed topics and working processes? How have you been building this mysterious, puzzling universe that characterises you?

When I look back at the work I’ve accomplished, I feel joy. As I see it, the outcome is very positive. I feel like it wasn’t me creating the pieces, but rather them making me. I don’t feel like I’m responsible for that evolution, but rather that they are through me (and the other participants). I feel calm, but also very curious to know how the next chapters, which are always lurking, unfold.


Interview conducted on October 18, 2019, by Leonor Tudela, in charge of contents and promotion at TMP’s communication office.
Photography © Rui Palma
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