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The Anthropophagous Trilogy

This project was developed by Mari Paula, a Brazilian dancer who has been living in Spain for nearly a decade. In the last five years, the artist has been devoted to research on Cultural Anthropophagy in the field of contemporary dance, which has resulted in a trilogy consisting of the following works: Retrópica (2017, Funarte Award, National Arts Foundation, Brazil), Devórate (2019 - Spain and Brazil Coproduction for Iberescena) and Fronterizas (the premiere is planned for September 2022 at the Palace of Festivals of Cantabria (Spain).

Retrópica and Devórate have been presented in several countries such as Argentina, Germany, Brazil, France, Mozambique and Spain. However, they have never been performed in some European cities, a gap that is intended to be filled by scheduling, with your support, the three works accompanied by their research context.

The ongoing research carried out by Mari Paula puts the anthropophagy into practice through body art. The work updates the idea of “eating, digesting and cultural appropriation” by applying it to a contemporary dance creation, from a hybrid and ritualized perspective. A research work that opens paths for new creation procedures in dance and performance, remembering the past and living the present from a self-experimentation. All in all, these works share a strong interest in destabilizing the homogenized hierarchies that impoverish body experiences and limit creative skills, while at the same time challenging the definition of contemporary dance itself.

According to the proposal included here, it is intended to bring the ANTHROPOPHAGOUS TRILOGY to the same city for the first time; with the performance of the two works already released (Devórate and Retrópica) and the premiere of Fronterizas all in the same week.

Being aware of the positive impact of your work in the field of contemporary culture, the promotion of local and international culture; of your commitment to the history of art; and mainly of your responsibility in order to develop and approach public to the international creations, we present this proposal and we hope that it fits into your programming focuses.


About Mari Paula

Mariana de Paula Ferreira (Brazil, 1984), under the stage name of Mari Paula, is a dancer, choreographer and cultural manager based in Cantabria, Spain. She currently works in the field of dance, both in training and in producing and management.

She is director of LAS VIVAS - Plataforma Iberoamericana de Danza; president of Movimiento en Red (Association of Dance Professionals of Cantabria, Spain); vice president of FECED Federación compuesta por asociaciones de compañías profesionales de Danza of Spain and secretary of the Dance Sectoral Committee - Culture Council of Cantabria, Spain.


Since 2015 she is focused on dance and performance productions. In 2017, she received the Funarte Award (National Arts Foundation, Brazil), among other nominations and since then, her projects have been represented in important venues, fairs and festivals in Africa, South America and Europe.

She created more than 10 productions and, throughout her career, she received the support of institutions such as the Government of Cantabria, Santander Creativa Foundation, Santander City Council, Iberescena, Plataforma Iberoamericana de danza - PID, Botín Center of Art and Culture, Würth La Rioja Museum, Graner Center for Creation of Dance and Performing Arts, Canal Dance Center, Palace of Festivals of Cantabria, National Arts Foundation - FUNARTE, Carme Theater, Eima Creació, Paraná Secretary of Culture, Cultural Foundation of Curitiba, Ministry of Culture of Brazil, Casa Hoffmann, Residency Center NAVE in Chile and Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage of Chile.

As a dancer and author, she has been part of some of the main public contemporary dance companies in Brazil and was a member, for nine years, of the public dance company Balé Teatro Guaíra, where she worked with big names in contemporary dance. She has a Master's Degree in Latin American Studies: Culture and Management from the University of Granada (Spain), an Expert Diploma in Hybrid Art and Art Criticism from the Federal University of Technology of Paraná (Brazil), a Degree in Performing Arts from the Faculty of Arts of Paraná (Brazil) and she received training in Classical and Contemporary Dance by the Dance Conservatory of São Paulo (Brazil) and by the Paula Firetti Dance School (Royal Academy).



Retrópica is a performance and dance solo by the choreographer Mari Paula whereby she expresses the influence that may exist between two cultures in constant friction beyond time and borders. How to anthropophagize two cultures and their bodies, movements, colonialisms and decolonialisms all at once in a choreographic work?


The work was awarded with the Funarte National Dance Prize Klauss Vianna and, since the premiere (2017), it has been performed nearly 40 times in venues and festivals in South America, Africa and Europe. Nowadays, Retrópica is the main work introducing the artist's productions to European scene, such as in the 36th edition of the Madrid en Danza Festival.


The performance is the result of cooperation and collaboration between Brazilian and Spanish artists, who carried out an artistic dialogue of creation, experimenting with the concept of anthropophagy during the creative process.

ABOUT DEVÓRATE (devour yourself)

The dance performance Devórate questions, through a female body, the unstoppable consumption of plastic material as well as the technological development versus the simple existence of the human being.


With a self-referential and anthropophagous language, an intensive research work was carried out during different artistic and technical residences in choreographic centers and theaters in Spain and Brazil such as: Casa Hoffmann Movement Studies Center (Curitiba), Canal Dance Center and Nigredo Espacio (Madrid), Eima Creació (Mallorca), Graner Center for Creation of Dance and Performing Arts (Barcelona), Carme Theater (Valencia) and Palace of Festivals (Santander).


The project was supported by the Iberescena Program (Spain and Brazil) and the Curitiba Patronage Program (Brazil). The premiere took place in September 2019 in the city of Santander (Spain) and it was then performed in the cities of Buenos Aires, Madrid, Mallorca, Valencia, Logroño, Vitoria, Sevilla, Curitiba and Recife.


FRONTERIZAS is a performance in progress that will be premiered in September 2022 at the Palace of Festivals of Cantabria, Spain, and is the third and final work included in the ANTHROPOPHAGOUS TRILOGY.


It addresses an artistic and interdisciplinary praxis that relates migrant body with light and sound technologies, with the aim of taking a look at invisible and racialized bodies and their backgrounds. Bodies bordering each other, without the need to belong anywhere; bodies that withstand, adapt and devour foreign culture, anthropophagizing it and turning it into somewhat fresh and frontier. FRONTERIZAS is also a decolonial work, to the extent that it removes the open wound of our history and, from love and empowerment, it enables reconciliation with everyone who denied us the opportunity to have dreams.


The performance is choreographed by Mari Paula, who makes her own Portuguese-Hispanic-Brazilian migrant body available as canvas for cross-border experimentation. The musician JPEGr (Jaime Peña) and the visual artist LumiereScene (Carlos Molina) are sharing the stage with Mari Paula, forming up an anthropophagous trio. Both aforementioned artists collaborate with Mari Paula since 2019.



FRONTERIZAS is my third research work on anthropophagy, that is to say, the last staging of a trilogy that treats the body as an experimentation from a decolonial perspective.


The motivation behind the project is based on two different and complementary principles:


- On the one hand, there is a desire to understand the border as a non-place, as an intermediate place, as a crossroads between cultures, as a zone of contamination, as well as of segregation and death. Fronterizas intends to research, not only the geographical displacement, but also the question of identity. My first desire is to translate this logic of thought into an interdisciplinary performance, where body, light and sound merge, erasing the bordering logic. 


- On the other hand, I want to add the finishing touch to my anthropophagous trilogy, whereby I have linked my migrant body to my stage productions since 2017. In 2016 I arrived in Spain and came across all the realities of the migrant body. In 2017, after completing a Master's Degree in Latin American Studies: Culture and Management, I created Retrópica, a work where the influence between two cultures in constant friction beyond time and borders is reflected through the body. In 2019, with the support of the Iberescena program, I worked with Brazilian and Spanish artists in a coproduction. At that point in the research, the greatest desire was to devour bodies and, from these feelings, the work Devórate came to light. In 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic appears in our live and the borders are closed, but not only the national borders but also the perimeter ones, those of our own buildings, those of our friends and family relationships. We have found ourselves in a situation of blockage and paralysis, at least with regard to our daily choreographies. Pina says: “I'm not interested in how people move, but what moves them”. Now, I also think: how to deal with what prevents us from moving? We have experienced the feeling of not being able to enter, of not being welcomed. Now we are the virulent bodies, the ones who carry the disease. However, we have to rely on everything that has breath and our lungs would keep filling and emptying to break, not only with territorial borders, but also with those of resignation and to continue dancing.


In FRONTERIZAS we dance to unblock, to undermine territorialism and the prejudices inherited from exclusion systems. We will not be on one side or the other, we will be IN and we are IN. We are like a turtle; wherever we go we carry home on our backs.

design: @sonhoscreaciones

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