13 Dias da Dança (Dance Days), 27 narrative revolutions and endless creative freedom

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It's not just about celebrating revolutions, the aim is to feature them, so Porto, Vila Nova de Gaia and Matosinhos are presenting 27 shows and endless creative freedom in yet another edition of Festival Dias da Dança (DDD). Dance and freedom come alive between 23 April and 5 May, with the spotlight on nine absolute premieres and 13 national premieres, many of them co-productions or co-performances.

'DDD presents new, unprecedented and, therefore, revolutionary formats, being an important moment for thought and reflection and a platform for artists who consolidate and make themselves visible to the various professionals who will attend', the Mayor of Porto stressed during the presentation of the programme for the eighth edition of the festival, on Thursday morning, at Teatro Rivoli.

Rui Moreira believes the three municipalities have managed, 'with a nonetheless modest budget compared to other festivals of this nature, throughout Europe, to be at the forefront of European dance festivals'.

'Synergy' will be the key word. 'We've always had this idea that the areas the Atlantic Front should focus on were less traditional sports, such as sailing and surfing, and the arts, because this is where synergies are created', the Mayor said, pleased with the project's continuity.

In addition to Vila Nova de Gaia and Matosinhos, the secret to the festival's strength lies also in partners such as the Clube de Fenianos Portuenses, the Serralves Foundation, Teatro do Bolhão and Coliseu Porto Ageas, some of the venues of the DDD. In the words of Rui Moreira, 'the dynamic that this creates, strictly speaking, isn't just dance'.

Atlantic Front as a creative community

For her part, Paula Carvalhal, Vila Nova de Gaia City Council's Councillor for Culture and Cultural Programming, emphasised how DDD 'represents our creative capacity as a community' and is 'a sharing of knowledge' and a 'mission to make new ways of being and creating culture known'.

The steps are also synchronised with Matosinhos, with the Councillor for Culture, Fernando Rocha, recalling how 'about ten years ago, when we thought about organising a dance festival, we had no doubt that it would be an interesting and important project for our cities, but I don't think that anyone present at the time had any idea that DDD would become a brand and an ambassador of this territory'.

As of this year and with a visible result in 2025, DDD is part of European networks and projects: the Big Pulse Dance Alliance, the Visiting Artists Programme, IMPACT, and Grand Luxe.

Revolutionising formats and dancing to new ideas

Dias da Dança kicks off with what the Performing Arts co-artistic director of the municipal company Ágora considers one of the festival's highlights: 'Remachine', by Jefta van Dinther, 'which is a punch in the gut of humanity'.

Cristina Planas Leitão also mentions the World Dance Day show, 'Voice Noise', a much more intimate and refined piece than Jan Martens usually brings us', the presence of La Chachi with 'a radical flamenco show', and the premiere of Catarina Miranda, 'which is being highly anticipated, also internationally'.

Regarding a festival that reinvents and revolutionises itself, the artistic director believes that 'there really is something to be broken and we realised that the novelty of the different formats was what made DDD revolutionary this year'.

'We realised that artists were starting to want to break away from the conventional attitude of going to a theatre, sitting down and watching for an hour. Most formats have two parts, they merge, there's a hybrid nature. There's a show that's a game, one that becomes a party, one that's a performance', Cristina Plantas Leitão advances.

This year's DDD dances come from Morocco, New Zealand, the United States, Brazil, Mexico and Chile, although 50% of the artists are Portuguese. The idea, the artistic director says, 'is not to focus on the more academic dance that we are used to seeing on stage, but to bring to the stage those dances that were elsewhere'.

In the future, more freedoms: 'keeping it fresh'. But also 'always looking at what's happening at that moment and not just what we know works. Being in permanent dialogue'. 'It's very important every year, because the themes are always different', she emphasises.