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decided to do the piece about my life; I don’t know how to lose. 

In the script: a Tudanca cow with a pink tutu dances Billie Jean across the stage.

I also employed an alter-ego in case everything went wrong. 

For choreographic material, I asked my mother to send me videos of me dancing from my family’s VHS tapes. Only she and I know how hard it is to have been born in the ‘50s and to have to use wetransfer. I inherited not knowing how to lose from my mother.

The piece isn’t modern; I hate everything defined as modern.

Yes. This is the show of my life and whoever may think I’ve just begun is wrong. ​



“There is no better way to battle dominant colonial thinking than with movement. Mari Paula is just as cannibal on stage. Without a doubt, I won’t miss any of her future performances: she’s fascinating.” José Vicente Peiró Barco (Académico de las Artes Escénicas de España and president of the Crítica Literaria Valenciana (review)

“Mari Paula, with her dancing powered by dance, has not only left her own physical body but has also got us to leave ours.” Carolina López (SusyQ)

“In Fronterizas they’ve done the maths right and the piece has ended up with the rare quality of seeming to possess nothing in excess.” Marcos Díez (El Diario Montañes)

“Fronterizas is full of surprising moments; of intimist discussions that manage to integrate the public in a show loaded with symbolism and reflection.” Felisa Palacio (El Faradio)



Fronterizas (Borders) is the third piece to come out of Mari Paula’s anthropophagy research. The latest in a trilogy – Retrópica in 2017, Devórate in 2019 and Fronterizas in 2022 – that deals with the body as an experiment of anthropophagy and migration.

Fronterizas is also an interdisciplinary action that connects Mari Paula’s vital experience with dance, with Carlos Molina’s lighting technology and Jaime Peña’s sound technology.

An autofictional piece, addressing themes such as struggle, tiredness and acceptance of failure. With a non-linear narrative structure, Fronterizas envisions a future born from the broken pieces of the past. It is circular. The dramaturgic construction breaks free from the outer shell, language and body of the performer. A decolonial piece, not because of its discourse but because it brings to stage a transmundane body that intends to destabilise the logic of production and do whatever the fuck you want.


(Text with Portuguese follows)



I tried to create an easy, programmable and digital piece. Completely choreographic, without drama or carnival.

I bought an acrylic circle and on it, I wrote about my experience of migration.

I put on live music and there was a moment that I spoke through a microphone, as any good artist of performance art would do.

I managed to get a nice, fluorescent outfit without spending a dime on the production. I took photos of the ceilings of trains in my town but I later discovered that a friend had done the same in the ‘90s. I also tried to work with a Chilean artist, via Zoom, but I find words tiring. 

I did everything that I’d always criticised and understood, in the flesh, because I used to criticise it.



I transformed the whole of Take 1 into a 30-minute video that I’m still embarrassed about to this day.



I turned everything into a street performance. Awful. The street belongs to those who work on the street, who research the street. Whoever decided that the same show could have a street version and an on-stage version? Awful.



I decided to do the piece about my life; I don’t know how to lose.      Yes. The show of my life and the last, of my life.

The theatre in my city promised me a super-production but they got cold feet. Even so, I put all my savings into it in order to employ the best team. Not precarious – it’s a law.

I decided to do the impossible. The show I’d always dreamed of. In the script: a Tudanca cow with a pink tutu dances Billie Jean across the stage.

I also employed an alter-ego in case everything went wrong.

For choreographic material, I asked my mother to send me videos of me dancing from my family’s VHS tapes. Only she and I know how hard it is to have been born in the ‘50s and to have to use wetransfer.

I inherited not knowing how to lose from my mother.

During rehearsals I danced all the dances of my life, from Kaoma to Stravinsky. I died while I was Madonna, Julieta and Giselle. I also came to terms with the grand plié and with the girl who resigned me via email.

The other day a friend told me I should make a vital artistic decision. She also told me that what’s alive isn’t out of fashion.

The piece isn’t modern; I hate everything defined as modern.

Yesterday a friend told me that I shouldn’t do the dance that makes me happy, given no-one is really going to see dancing; I’m not going to change the world with this piece.

What I did discover was that my dancing is especially sincere.

I still samba. I still like Tropicalismo and my hero still continues to be Caetano Veloso.

After the show’s release I’m going to get pregnant. No, it’s not the end.

Yes. This is the show of my life and whoever may think I’ve just begun is wrong. 



Performer and director: Mari Paula

Performer and sound technician: Jaime Peña - JPEGr

Performer and lighting technician: Carlos Molina - LumiereScene


Dramaturgic collaboration: Luz Arcas, Aitana Cordero, Gustavo Bitencourt

External view: Lívia Delgado

Stage space: Luis Crespo

Video: Ricardo Kenji

Visual identity: Evandro Prado

Video: Anjana Photography

Photo: Aureo Gómez

Communication: Marta Romero 

Distribution and national management: Iñaki Díez

Distribution in Brazil: Igor Augustho

Other perspectives: Flavia Mayans, Alexandra Mabes, Rebeca García Celdrán and Patricia Manrique

Collaboration: Carme Teatre, Palacio de Festivales de Cantabria and Danza en Breve, Teatro Leal.

Research support: Cultura del Gobierno de Cantabria, Casa Hoffmann, Centro Nave, PID - Plataforma Iberoamericana de Danza and Funarte, Fundação Nacional de Artes

Creation support: Graner, Espacio La Caverna, Ábrego Teatro, Sala Exlímite and Teatro Pradillo

Producers: Mari Paula - Dance & Performance and LAS VIVAS - Plataforma Iberoamericana de Danza



The project began at the residency promoted by Centro NAVE – Chile, Plataforma Iberoamericana de Danza (PID), Ministerio de Cultura de Chile and Fundação Nacional das Artes - FUNARTE (BR). Research was supported by Cultura Gobierno de Cantabria (ES) and Fundación Cultural de Curitiba (BR).

The research extract was presented at Cine Corps, Mostra Solar at Casa Hoffmann, Bienal de Danza de Ceará, Santander Escénica, Café de Las Artes Teatro, Festival La Espiral Contemporánea, La Caverna, Danza en Breve, Teatro Leal - La Laguna and Graner – Barcelona.

The proposal has residencies at Palacio de Festivales de Cantabria (Santander), Danza en Breve - Teatro Leal (La Laguna, Tenerife), Teatro Pradillo (Madrid), Sala Carme Teatre (Valencia), La Caverna (Málaga), Graner (Barcelona) and Abrego Teatro (Cantabria).

NATIONAL PREMIERE: Palacio de Festivales de Cantabria


decalogue of a border dance​

  1. You will accept failure

  2. You will hate acrobatics and all the spirals

  3. You will not use beige

  4. You will understand that the revolution does not exist

  5. You will assume that everything has already been invented

  6. You will make a vital artistic decision

  7. You will sanctify the monster within you

  8. You will not forget that politics and aesthetics are first cousins

  9. You will live on the border from any discipline

  10. You will dance death itself


Ladies and gentlemen, the show is about to begin. We kindly ask you to turn off all devices and mobile phones or to put them on airplane mode.

We would like to inform you that taking photos of any kind, with or without flash, and recording videos, without previous permission from the producers, is strictly forbidden.

We recommend you sit comfortably in your seats and not to be alarmed in the face of any kind of exoticism on stage. Where others perform their inoffensive shows, I simply wish to perform my autofiction.

The show will begin soon and you still have time to abandon the theatre, given that this will not be your show of a lifetime, nor will it be mine. But I guarantee that official norms of starker classical Spanish theatre shall not be adhered to, nor of avant-garde neo-futurist Brazilian theatre. 

I would like to confess that you are not going to see a performance about borders, colonialism, historical reparation, rape, feminism or social inclusion. Nor will there be any kind of sign stating ‘the artist is present’, or calling for the protection of the Amazon Rainforest, or a placard condemning Bolsonaro, Trump, Putin, slut or duck.

I would also like to inform you that there will not be a band. There will be no samba, or carnival. 

I would like to warn you in advance that I will not accept objections regarding the title of this performance. Failure to understand this is a failure to understand metaphysical ideas, and afterwards please do not say that the title seems limiting. Everything that exists in the world comes with its own border.  

Let us talk about aesthetics, because aesthetics and politics are first cousins:

As far as the costumes are concerned, the contemporary elegant style shall be avoided, such as white, grey, beige and pale or dark skin colour – rather we shall delve into the Latin suburbs and their anthropophagus guts, not because of a fetishist and superstitious reverence toward ancestry, but because it is absolutely evident that certain millennial costumes, used in a ritualistic way, preserve a telling beauty and appearance.

Regarding the musical instruments, they will be treated as objects and as part of the scenery. Furthermore, sensitivity will be directly and deeply performed upon through electronic gadgetry, which invite the pursuit of completely new qualities and vibrations, capable of reaching a new octave diapason, producing unbearable, animal-like and lancinating sounds and noises.  

In terms of lighting, considering the lighting fixtures that are used in theatres today are inadequate, it will be necessary to investigate the particular effect of light on one’s spirit, the effects of light vibrations, together with new methods of light expansion. It will also be necessary to review, from beginning to end, the colour range of the current devices in order to achieve the qualities of specific tones, and to bring an element of tenacity, density and opacity to the lighting, subsequently portraying warmth, cold, anger, fear, etc.  

Regarding the choreography, there shall be no choreography.

And you are all a thousandfold in your right to consider contemporary dance a subsidiary and lower art form.

As long as what is presented in theatres continues to be, even on the mood of the most liberated of directors, a simple means of representation, an accessory means of expressing movement and gesture, a kind of spectacular intermediary without its own meaning, we shall continue to be apathetic, without a public and without perspective.

As long as creation is born, not for the purpose of manifesting creative desire, but of convincing the curatorial elite – including everything pejorative, accessory and exterior the term embodies - we shall all be lost.  

Dance, dance. But dance so as not to die.


On the other hand, in order to stay alive, it is necessary to do much more than dance. As well as organising a representation with palpable material means, gestures, rhythmic repetitions, use of words, pauses, acrobatics and an indisputable interpretation of the avant-garde; the staging contains gestures on the part of the director, the interpreter, the choreographer, the tailor, the producer, the distributor, the Excel manager, the tick-tocker, the press manager, the van driver, the continual sending of emails never to be answered by the performing arts programmers and mainly the job of staying friends with the leading artists in fashion in the area.

Here, in this performance, no-one dies for being Giselle, Odete, Ofelia, Julieta or Nijinski’s chosen one. No-one dies for crossing a geographical border, because of war, or thirst. Here we die of exhaustion and loss of hope. 

So, although the purpose of this performance is not to present White People Problems, or to overwhelm the public with cosmic transcendental troubles or to present the profound keys to thinking or action that allow for an understanding of the show as a whole, this space will be used not only to dance in its dimensions and its volume, but also, if I may say, to assume one’s own death, and with it, attempt to recover all the old and tried pleasures of achieving dance in its most primary form.

The lights go out. 


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