Skip to main content
This research explores the potential of disappearance as a fundamental idea for choreographic performance. I will frame questions related to the potential of withdrawal, opacity and disappearance as fundamental ideas for choreographic performance in the present time. I will start by proposing to unsettle the deeply rooted presentism in choreography in line with the Aristotelian ideal of metaphysics of presence that privileges presence over absence. In doing so I am calling for choreography to consider presence as a mediated, non-stable condition and be opened to the possibilities this can provoke.
By approaching performance from this perspective I aim at filling in gaps resulting from the exploitative caesura between "Nature" and " Society" (Moore, 2015) created by capitalism. For performance to focus on this caesura, on the empty interval between "Nature" and "Society" produced by exploitative capitalism is to open up performance to other alternative performances, knowledges and even concepts often "reduced" (Glissant, 1997) or ignored. Moreover, such an approach can prove productive in revealing performance's generative capacity under a time characterized by hyper presence and a compulsion to perform. As performance becomes a core feature of hyper-capitalism could a refusal to perform or a withdrawal of the performer provide alternatives or critical stance on the way we live today? What other presences, existences, knowledges have been ignored by performance because of the ineherited division of "Nature" and "Society"? How can choreography move away from the aesthetic burden object/subject divide inherited from modernism? Finally, I ask in what ways are we not as performance artists presently endeavouring in visible resistance but accomplices in the present form of capitalism?
Vânia Gala is a choreographer and researcher based in London. She holds a BA in Dance from EDDC (European Dance Development Center, Arnhem) and Master of Arts in Choreography with Distinction (Trinity Laban). She is a PhD candidate at Kingston University and a PASS studentship awardee. Gala's choreographies and "conversational performances" explore the critical potential of disappearance, opacity and withdrawal in choreography in the present time. Collaborations as performer have involved Les Ballets C. de La B., Constanza Macras and Sonia Boyce. Recent creations include "Cooling Down Signs" a Pan- European commission by Beyond Front@ performed at Dance Week Festival (HR), D.I.D (AT), Front@ Festival (SI), Bakelit (HU). In 2019 she was awarded the Theatre Guide Awards (Portugal) for Best Choreography for "Que ainda alguém nos invente". In 2005 she was awarded with "Best Female Performance" at the Dublin Fringe Festival, was part of Aerowaves Festival at the Place, London and of the 1st Triennial of Luanda (Angola). In 2007 she performed at the 1st African Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. Her choreographic work has been performed in Angola, Portugal, Norway, Germany, Ireland, UK, Russian Federation and Austria.
Gala, V. (2012) Invited Guests In Emergency INDEX, Volume 2: 2012, UDK Press, ed. Editor: Yelena Gluzman and Sophia Cleary, 1 - 600. ISBN: 978-1-937027-12-4. United States of America: UDP Ugly Duck Press
Gala, V. (2015) Staying (A)live. Angolan Pavilion catalogue. Angola: Ministério da Cultura Angola
Gala, V. (2017) Critical Possibilities| Critical Absences: devices, machines and other hybrid associations. Trans-incorporados: Construindo Redes para a Internacionalização da Pesquisa em dança, Rio de Janeiro. Available from: <https://proceedings.science/trans-in-corporados-2017/papers/critical-possibilities--critical-absences--devices--machines-and-other-hybrid-associations?lang=en>. [Acessed: 20th April 2019]
Gala, V. (2018) How to Disappear. Critical dialogues, 10, pp.38-39 [online] Available from: https://issuu.com/criticalpath/docs/criticaldialogues_10_accessible [Accessed 20th March 2019]
2013. "(un)occupy the Body", Performance/Paper presentation at Inventing Futures Conference, ARTEZ, Arnhem (The Netherlands).
2015 "(un)occupy the Body: session 3 on Things and the non-human. Lecture- performance. CRAL-EHESS Recherche dans Les Arts: Presentations des travaux en cours, Paris (France)
2015 "Things go unnoticed" lecture performance. Panel performance and resistance. The Practice of (in)visibility: 4th International Critical Studies Research Group Conference. University of Brighton (United Kingdom)
2015 "No Time for Ambition" lecture performance. Institutions, Politics and Performance Conference. Athens (Greece)
2016 "Maliciously missing: the potential of the missing performer". ACRU Symposium, Kingston University (United Kingdom)
2016 "Gone Missing: the potential of absence in choreography" Liminaridades, Género, Tradução e Performance. CEHUM Univerisdade do Minho | Braga (Portugal)
2016 "Gone Missing: the potential of absence in choreography" (In)visible Cultures Conference. Culture, Media and Creative Industries (CMCI) Department of King's College London (United Kingdom)
2017 "Maliciously Missing: The Potential of the Missing Performer in Choreography (study II)" [performance lecture]. How to things with Practice Research Symposium, Surrey University (United Kingdom)
2017 "Upside Down: choreography beyond the subject-object divide" [performative round-table] Beyond Application: Immanent Encounters Between Philosophy & the Arts Centre for Performance Philosophy, University of Surrey, Guildford (United Kingdom)
2017 "Upside Down: Upside Down: Choreography beyond the object subject divide". FASS Conference Kingston University (United Kingdom)
2017 Dialogues on Dance, Philosophy, and Performance in the Contemporary Neoliberal Moment Conference Coventry University (United Kingdom)
2017 "Critical Possibilities| Critical Absences: devices, machines and other hybrid associations". Transincorporados: Building Networks for International Dance Research Conference Rio de Janeiro Federal University (Brazil) (Published)