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with Maria Ramos

School year 2023/2024

Wednesday | 19h30-21h30

We work on the relationship of the body with space.
We read our favorite authors to think better about composition, landscape, geography, and architecture.
We invent rules, activate invisible structures, and discover ‘events’. Sometimes we map movement, sometimes movement goes off the map.
We make performances in which we are all, simultaneously, audience, authors, and performers.

Regular dance creation and experimentation classes, organized in quarterly cycles, with informal sharing every three months throughout the school year.
Based on the improvisation-composition practices and methodologies that I have been developing in the context of my choreographic and pedagogical work, we will first create ‘bodies’ (individual and collective bodies) and then create performative events addressing the body’s relationship with space, sound, objects, images and texts (in a gradual, plural and four-dimensional movement).
Our object of study will be to analyze the ‘rules’ of the ‘game’ (improvisation structure, composition, map, score) so that we can then transgress the ‘rules’ and discover performative proposals in which we are all, simultaneously, ‘builders’ and interpreters.
Throughout the school year, we also have occasional guests (choreographers/dancers) who will develop a work proposal with the group for a certain period of time.


References & research territories
Goat Island Performance Group; Deborah Hay; Angus Balbernie; Antony Gormley; Alberto Carneiro; Barry Lopez; Meg Stuart; Samuel Beckett; Nick Cave & Warren Ellis; Robert Ellis Dunn (improvisation and choreography classes); Mary Fulkerson; Mary Overlie (The Six Viewpoints)


Guests from previous years
Joana Pupo (actress/creator), Jaime Mears (actress/creator, AU-PT), Ana Mira (dancer/teacher), Sara Anjo (dancer/creator), Teresa Silva (dancer/creator), Angus Balbernie (choreographer/director, UK), Christy Funsch (dancer/creator, USA), Inês Zinho Pinheiro (dancer/creator), Albert Dean (musician), Miguel Sobral Curado (musician).


Organization of the Choreographic Laboratory for 2023/24
Commitment and personal dedication are essential for the progression of individual and collective work. Participants can commit to one, two or three work cycles, with each cycle corresponding to approximately thirteen classes (10 classes in the case of Cycle 1).


  • Cycle 1 – October to December, informal sharing with invited audience – December 13, 2023
  • Cycle 2 – January-March, informal sharing with invited audience – March 27, 2024
  • Cycle 3 – April-June, informal sharing with invited audience – June 26, 2024

*Dates subject to change.


Target audience
Classes open to anyone interested in developing and deepening their knowledge in the area of contemporary dance (physicality, movement exploration, performance work, improvisation-composition).
We have had heterogeneous groups whose professional areas range from the sciences, social sciences, sports, dancers/creators and artists from other areas such as cinema, visual arts, plastic arts, music and theater, which has generated a very stimulating and enriching multiplicity of perspectives.


Clothes / Material
Practical and comfortable clothes so that we can move freely and that also protect the body for when we do floor work (long-sleeved pants and t-shirt). Some work proposals will extend beyond the studio, in which case it’s good to bring a coat and comfortable shoes. Bottle of water, notebook and pen.


Maria Ramos
Between 1996 and 2009, she lived in the Netherlands, where she studied and developed her professional career as a dancer, working with various independent choreographers in the Netherlands, Germany, England and the USA. Highlights include her work with choreographer/director Angus Balbernie (UK), choreographers Olga Pona (UK), Katja F. M. Wolf (DE) and Janis Claxton (UK-AU). She trained in Dance at the Hogeschool voor de kunsten/ArtEZ (1996-2000) and obtained a Master’s degree in Choreography, ArtEZ Master of Choreography (Moc, 2006-2008), at the ArtEZ Institute of the Arts in Arnhem.

On her return to Portugal, she completed the Research and Creation course at Forum Dança, in Lisbon, in the context of which she began to create her first solo work, 7pm/Rumour, a piece that begins the cycle of works entitled Um Certo Grau de Imobilidade (A Certain Degree of Immobility), supported by DGArtes and the Gulbenkian Foundation. This cycle also includes the pieces Nerves and Something Still Uncaptured, presented in the Netherlands, Portugal and Argentina. He later choreographed the piece Árida, a project supported by DGArtes.

She currently collaborates with actress and creator Joana Pupo (in the project O Corpo Inominável) and with choreographer Madalena Victorino (in various choreographic projects), as a dancer/creator or as a creative assistant. At the same time, she has been teaching at the Escola Superior de Dança (since 2017), at the Escola Superior de Artes e Design das Caldas da Rainha (since 2016) and at Forum Dança (since 2012).


“When people ask me what dance technique I teach and who I studied improvisation, composition and choreography with, I always end up having to talk about my dance background and practices. In my classes, I take my own approach which includes contemporary dance techniques based on the Release technique (learned from Amélia Bentes and Sofia Neuparth and, later, during the course at EDDC/ArtEZ with teachers Eva Karczag, Mary O’Donnell Fulkerson, Gill Clarke and João da Silva); contact-improvisation (Karen Nelson, Steve Paxton); floor work; partner work (David Zambrano, Iñaki Azpillaga/Ultima Vez); fall and recovery; vertical movement and movement through space; improvisation and composition. Developed throughout my dance career with teachers and choreographers from the so-called New Portuguese Dance, such as Sofia Neuparth, Amélia Bentes, Peter Michael Dietz, Clara Andermatt and Francisco Camacho, especially in the context of the five-month Research and Choreographic Creation Course at Forum Dança, as well as in the Netherlands and England, with creators and teachers such as Steve Paxton, Deborah Hay, Yvonne Rainer (from whom I learned the iconic solo “Trio A”) and Karen Nelson/Lisa Nelson, and with dancers and teachers from the companies Trisha Brown and Siobhan Davies, Eva Karczag (who passed on to me notions of ‘full-body movement and the practice of being in the moment’ and with whom I also practiced the martial art T’ai Chi Ch’uan, which Karczag in turn learned from the teacher Gerda Geddes), Lisa Kraus and Gill Clarke.

Also important for me in terms of the performer’s work, composition and improvisation was the work I did as a dancer with choreographer/director Angus Balbernie between 2000-2009, and the workshops with the Goat Island Performance Group, Matthew Goulish and Lin Hixson, Deborah Hay, Peter Pleyer and Jonathan Burrows.”


More info: Choreographic work | Laboratory Notebook | Aulas e Práticas de Dança, Hoje

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