Ms Vânia Gala

Research project: Choreographies of Disappearance: Fugitive Choreographies and Other (Non)performances in a Time of Hyper-performativity


This research explores disappearance in performance(s) in the present time. This doctoral project frames questions around the potential of withdrawal, opacity (Glissant, 1997), and (non)performance as fundamental ideas for performance(s). By taking a distinct approach to performance(s) that regards performance(s) as negation, I examine the meanings of this negation to show how specific (non)performances reconceptualize aspects of choreography and performance. My intention is to dispute presence as a constitutive category of emancipation and transgression in performance. The core question this study asks is what if this apparent professed agent of emancipation called performance – which relies on visibility and presence as pure homogeneous transgressive essences – supports a whole repertoire of devices and methods of suppression, control and reductionism that corresponds with non-emancipatory dispositions, trends or impulses of present- time hypercapitalist culture? By analysing the work of several artists and my practice-research, I seek to examine the potential of these (non)performances (refusals of calls to perform) in a time when performance collides with hypercapitalism and has become one of its core features. In the works considered here, performance(s) can be understood as refusal to comply with particular expected performances of reductionism (Glissant, 1997), operationality and productivity. I lay out the distinct pattern and forms of intervention of these (non)performances in an epoch of particular anxieties and challenges: the compulsion to perform, coloniality, social justice and our increasingly intimate, complex relation with technology. By approaching performance(s) from the perspective of disappearance – a refusal to perform – I aim to fill gaps resulting from the exploitative caesura capitalism creates between "Nature" and "Society" (Moore, 2015a). For performance to focus on this caesura, the empty interval between "Nature" and "Society", is to open up performance(s) to other alternative performances, knowledges and concepts often "reduced" (Glissant, 1997) or ignored

  • Research degree: Practice-based PhD
  • Title of project: Choreographies of Disappearance: Fugitive Choreographies and Other (Non)performances in a Time of Hyper-performativity
  • Research supervisor: Professor John Ó Maoilearca
  • Other research supervisor: Dr Daniela Perazzo


Vânia Gala is a choreographer and researcher. Gala's choreographies and conversational performances explore the critical potential of (non)performance(s) and opacity. Her interests lie in experimental practices across performance dance and theatre with an emphasis on notions of refusal, choreo-thinking, fugitivity, improvisation(s), negotiation, dissensus, hospitality and value. Latest performative interventions include Give&Take at Tate Modern and Table for Upside Down Practices at Calouste Gulbenkian Museum. Collaborations as performer involved Les Ballets C.deLaB., Constanza Macras, Dina13 and B.Valiente Kompani. She collaborated as choreographer with visual artists Sonia Boyce, Harold Offeh and Griot theatre-company. Commissions include Cooling-Down Signs a Pan-European creation performed at DanceWeek Festival (HR), D.I.D (AT), Front@Festival (SI), Bakelit (HU). She has been awarded the Best Choreography Theatre Guide Awards - Portugal (2019) and Best Female Performance - Dublin Fringe (2005). Her choreographies were performed in Angola, Portugal, Norway, Germany, Ireland, UK, Russian-Federation and Austria. Prior to Trinity Laban Conservatoire for Music and Dance where she is a lecturer in the MA Choreography she taught undergraduates at Northampton and Kingston Universities. She holds a BA in Dance from EDDC-ArtEZ and Master of Arts in Choreography with Distinction (Trinity Laban). She is a PhD candidate and university studentship awardee

Areas of research interest

  • Choreography
  • Opacity
  • (Non)performance
  • Performance studies
  • Theatre studies
  • Critical Studies
  • Improvisation(s)
  • Glissant
  • Performance Philosophy
  • Dance and Politics


  • Masters in Choreography Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance
  • BA Dance European dance Development Centre Hoggeschool voor Arnhem (Netherlands)
  • BA Economics Faculty of Economy University of Coimbra

Funding or awards received

  • 2019 Best Choreography Award by Theatre Guides Awards Portugal
  • 2005 Best Performance Dublin Fringe Festival
  • PASS PhD studentship award (Kingston University)


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: <>. [Acessed: 20th April  2019]

Gala, V. (2018) How to Disappear. Critical dialogues, 10, pp.38-39 [online] Available from: [Accessed 20th March 2019]

Conference papers

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)