Interview with… Marco da Silva Ferreira - Northern School of Contemporary Dance

First thing’s first, how are you?

Very happy to perform ​for the ​second time in ​the ​UK with HU(R)MANO in a moment where the piece is quite solid and has been performed already many times. At the moment I am starting to publicise my new work BROTHER which we have just started touring.

When did you first become interested in Contemporary Dance?

I started dancing in 2004 but contemporary dance just came to me after​,​ around 2008.

My interest is not specifically in Contemporary Dance because it is also hard to define what contemporary dance is nowadays. I’ve been in contact with many styles, techniques and areas (artistic and not artistic) which are related to dance, and that made me realise that I love to work with body movement. With the experience and knowledge I developed over these years I also started to be more specific in the vocabulary and aesthetics​, and​ I felt more connected.

I believe ​that what attracted me to do “contemporary dance” was the open boundaries of self expression and the possibility to create material that is detached from analytical and technical methods, maybe more authorial works.

How would you describe your work in general?

My work refle​cts my body experience. I was a professional swimmer, I studied Physiotherapy and I started dancing urban dances because I enjoyed the social connection.

I like to work with choreographic elements like repetition, rhythm, space and with a body vocabulary related to urban dances. I look for a body language which can’t be recognisable straight away, but that suggests many elements of this contemporary moment which we are​ part of​. Artistic​al​ly I look for an expression where abstraction meets sensibility and where the body’s mute energy is as important as ​the ​body’s rationalisation.

Can you tell us a bit about your inspiration for Hu(r)mano?

Hu(r)mano is a work from 2013​. In that time I was very interested to​ work choreographically with the body ​and with urban dance as my main experience. So I chose dancer​s​ from urban dance backgrounds with academic knowledge too (like ballet, floor work, contact improvisation, modern dance, etc). We started developing a body language based on choreographic elements like (rhythm, spacing, composition). And we detached the body from the symbolic elements of urban dances (like sound, clothes, styles). At the end we got a very particular physicality that suggested many images that we could recognise from urban dances but at the same time stands for something more abstract and more related to humanity than to society.

Do you have any pre-performance rituals?

We just hug and kiss each other, giving love and energy

In Hu(r)mano you are both performer and choreographer. How do you feel about inhabiting both roles?

I don’t do both roles at the same time. I start always as choreographer and when the structure is done and the piece is kind of created I jump in to perform it.

In HU(R)MANO, during 10 weeks of creation I was outside understanding the work for 7 weeks. Of course, during this period outside, I still move with the dancers and I know the material, but I am working as viewer and thinker most of the time. Also tasks I propose are related to things that I realise in my body or that I am curious about choreographically.

How does contemporary dance in Portugal compare to dance in the UK?

I would say that in Portugal we don’t have many technical schools or companies that work in a technical or repertory way (we just have Companhia nacional de Bailado). Contemporary dance in Portugal is more related to the person that is creating, so you have many collectives that develop specific interests and languages. In Portugal the works are on a smaller scale. There are almost no works with more than 7 dancers. But I think that is also changing on both sides, so I believe we are getting closer to each other (Portugal and UK).