E Dançaram para Sempre (And They Danced Forever)

Teatro Nacional de São Carlos, the National Opera House, invited Clara Andermatt to create a piece, which came to be called “E Dançaram para Sempre”, based on the story and the music of Claude Debussy's "La Boîte à Joujoux".

To create this choreography, Clara Andermatt invited five professional interpreters, with diverse backgrounds and skills, as well as two young students from the Ballet School of Lisbon’s Conservatoire. The differences between the interpreters and their personalities - a trademark of the choreographer’s work - gave Andermatt the means to portray reality.

The visual artist Joana Vasconcelos, responsible for the set and the costumes, drew inspiration from the aesthetics and the imaginary of her well-known pieces, the “Valquírias” (Valkyries), one of which is called “Joujoux” (2007), to create the visuals for the piece’s plot. The original score is played live by the pianist António Rosado.

The piece has four vectors - music, plot, set and interpreters - that converge to create the imaginary world of children and reflect the ambiguous intimacy of adults, and, ultimately, to recreate the world within a toy box or to think about the toy box that is the world we live in.


“The story unfolds inside a toy box. Toy boxes are, in fact, like cities where toys live like real people. Or maybe the cities are no more than toy boxes where people live like toys. The dolls dance: a Soldier sees one of them dancing and falls in love; but the Doll had already given her heart to a lazy, frivolous, and quarrelsome Punchinello. This leads to a great war between Soldiers and Punchinellos where the poor little wooden Soldier is badly hurt. Abandoned by the vile Punchinello, the Doll takes care of him and falls in love. They marry, have many children, and live happily ever after. The frivolous Punchinello becomes a forest guard. And life goes on inside the toy box.”

Clara Andermatt (2007)


Artistic direction and choreography: Clara Andermatt | Set and costume designer: Joana Vasconcelos | Lighting designer and technical director: Carlos Ramos | Piano: António Rosado | Music: “La Boîte à Joujoux” by Claude Debussy | Performers: Joana Bergano, Marta Cerqueira, Avelino Chantre, David Almeida, Pedro Mendes, Carlota Carreira and Marcelino Sambé (students of the Ballet School of Lisbon’s Conservatoire) | Executive production: ACCCA Clara Andermatt Company | Comissioned by Teatro Nacional de São Carlos (Lisbon)

Photos by Alfredo Rocha

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