Happy Island

Show/ Dance Look more closely. See beyond the historiography of the daily gestures that have already gained the status of art, in a movement of permanent rupture that suggests an implication of that gaze, and of the listening, to go beyond the falling, the walking, the stumbling, the sitting, the running, the embracing… Look more […]

Show/ Dance

Look more closely. See beyond the historiography of the daily gestures that have already gained the status of art, in a movement of permanent rupture that suggests an implication of that gaze, and of the listening, to go beyond the falling, the walking, the stumbling, the sitting, the running, the embracing… Look more closely. Let your gaze truly rest on that rebel gesture that speaks of the impossibility of being tamed. This is how Henrique Amoedo has been conceiving the company Dançando com a Diferença. Without concessions or easy solutions. Because of this, artistic thought led him to dare La Ribot to meet the group.

It is in this encounter, act of communion in demanded freedom, that we perceive this Happy Island that La Ribot created with the dancers from Dançando com a Diferença, a film by Raquel Freire with choreographic assistance by Telmo Ferreira. They say this is an inclusive dance company, with a majority of dancers with Down Syndrome, but… Look more closely. This is a meeting between specific people and places, formulating a new kind of site-people-specific, continuing but deepening a line of research that we recognize in La Ribot, where the deeply human challenges the deeply artistic, touching each other in an astounding intimacy of the profoundly delirious.

In Happy Island there are people who are places and places that are people, and in the meeting, or tension, between the two, fiction is created, myth, legend. And we never leave reality. We never abandon people, in laughter or in tears. We never leave Fanal, the vertiginous highest point in Funchal forest, where the sky seems to touch the earth’s entrails – this is also what we see in the film by Raquel Freire, as well as the wider community of the whole dance company in a celebration of expression of sensual feeling. We enter the tunnel, through these roads breached from nature, to confuse the senses. Real-imaginary-specific. It is also in this temporal paradox of imagery that the live happening and the projected film move, where animal and human intersect in the body and in the act, which has as much of sexual, orgiastic, as it simply… is… or is simply willing to be in the smallest movement of personal expression. Personal Specific.

Look more closely. To Maria João Pereira, taking the form of living art, on stage, has the expanded and trembling duration of pulling her hair into a ponytail, leaving the wheelchair and going to the ground. And then rest, lying on her side, trembling. How many contemporary dance pieces explore the disturbing intensities of the trembling body, which unmakes and remakes itself continuously? Here, a person is a 'site specific', and the site that is thus composed is strongly subjective and made up from fable. In the delirious encounter between all these specificities and La Ribot, a new gesture is generated, which in truth is only evidence of something that already existed in her work, and of something that already pulsated in those bodies – of Bárbara Matos, Joana Caetano, Sofia Marote, Pedro Alexandre Silva, Maria João Pereira. Therefore, again the readymade. The real-imaginary-personal-specific-readymade. And Duchamp, again.

Reality rendered art and art that, in the sensitive cleansing of the meeting with the other, reveals reality that previously went unnoticed. Look more closely. Deeply human, deeply conceptual, deeply organic, deeply geometric, deeply narrative and fictional, deeply abstract and purified. Kitsch, mythological, sexual, cabaretic and geometric. The island is the place of fantasy, but fantasy is the place of free expression of each individual, and each individual is that island that seems to be a hand painted landscape, of a forest immersed in mist, which greets the audience in the beginning of the show only for us to discover later that its isolation integrates multiple internal contents and is deeply relational. Island and person blend together. And so do all the fables that inhabit them. And thus fantasy and reality come closer to a lived and dreamt dream. What exists and what is shown in Happy Island is a testimony of life and art. Specific. Look more closely.   

Claudia Galhós, writer and critic



Direction and choregraphy: La Ribot

Performers: Bárbara Matos, Joana Caetano, Maria João Pereira, Sofia Marote and Pedro Alexandre Silva

Choreography assistant: Telmo Ferreira

Director of the film: Raquel Freire

Light design and technical direction: Cristóvão Cunha

Costume: La Ribot

Artistic collaboration and direction of interviews: Josep-María Martín

Interview participants: Emília Monteiro, Maria João Pereira, Bárbara Matos, José Figueira, Joana Caetano and Pedro Alexandre Silva

Music: Francesco Tristano, Jeff Mills, Archie Shepp, Oliver Mental Grouve, Atom tm, Raw C + Pharmakustik

Assistant director of the film: Valérie Mitteaux

Editing: Raquel Freire

Camera: Raquel Freire and Valérie Mitteaux

Costume making: Laurence Durieux / Teresa Neves

Performers of the Company Dançando com a Diferenca of the film: Aléxis Fernandes; Bárbara Matos; Bernardo Graça; Cristina Baptista; Diogo Freitas; Filipa Vieira; Isabel Teixeira; Joana Caetano; José Figueira; Lígia Rosa; Maria João Pereira; Natércia Kuprian; Nuno Borba; Pedro Alexandre Silva; Rui João Costa; Sara Rebolo; Sofia Pires; Sofia Marote; Telmo Ferreira; Teresa Martins; Vittória Vianna

Executive producers: Henrique Amoedo Diogo Gonçalves and Paz Santa Cecilia

HAPPY ISLAND is an invitation from Henrique-Amoedo-Dançando com a Diferença to La Ribot. It is a coproduction by Dançando com a Diferença-Madeira and La Ribot–Genève.

In coproduction with Le Grütli-Centre de Production & de Diffusion des Arts Vivants- Festival La Bâtie-Genève and CN D, Centre national de la danse –Paris and « Celebrations of the 600th year of the discovery of Madeira and Porto Santo » - Portugal

With the support of: La Fondation Ernst Göhner, AC/E (Acción Cultural Española), NAVE (Chile).


Our thanks: to Mateo Jobin for the title of «Happy Island», to Lidia Rodrigues for the feather cap, to Eric Weiss for the black T-shirt and to Marco de Barros and Nuno Borba for their constant support.


Dançando com a Diferença

Dançando com a Diferença it is a structure financed by República Portuguesa / Direção Geral da Artes; Governo da Madeira / Secretaria Regional de Educação and Secretaria Regional do Turismo e Cultura

Chairman: Telmo Ferreira

Direction: Henrique Amoedo

Executive production & Comunication: Diogo Gonçalves

Support for artistic production: Nuno Borba, Natércia Kuprian, Mariana Valente and Sara Valente.


La Ribot Cie:

La Ribot- Genève is supported by the Ville de Genève, République et Canton de Genève and Pro Helvetia Fondation Suisse for Culture. La Ribot is an associated artist at CN D, Centre national de la Danse, Paris, 2018-2019

Direction: La Ribot

Executive production: Paz Santa Cecília

Production & Comunication: Sara Cenzual

Administration: Gonzague Bochud

Technical Direction: Marie Prédour

©Cie. La Ribot                        ©Dançando com a Diferença