“Mel” premiered in the ambit of a programme named “Aspects of Portuguese Contemporary Dance”, organized by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation’s Serviço ACARTE, which also promoted the first performing arts festival in Portugal, “Encontros ACARTE”, from the end of the 1980s and along the 1990s. The initiative became an advocate for the changes in artistic and social practices in Portugal and fomented the emergence of “Nova Dança Portuguesa”.
“Mel” is the first work that Andermatt choreographs, and, for the first time, does not interpret. It is a piece for seven dancers, where there are no distinctions of gender or differentiation between the characters. Resorting to symbols and metaphors, to the repetition of obsessive, sometimes violent gestures, “Mel” remits us to a collective imaginary where different forms of dependence are laid bare.
The absurd and the comical are subtly present throughout this depiction of the ambiguity of social interactions.
“There are no distinctions between characters or genders. Only Harlequin, a unique creature, my accomplice – a malicious being, unstable, undetermined, irresponsible, devoid of ideas, principles, character - exists. Harlequin lives in permanent tension and conflict, because he cannot reach a conclusion - neither good nor bad. Alone. After all, I think we are all innocent.”
Clara Andermatt (1991)
Special Mention of the Madalena de Azaredo Perdigão Prize (1991) - “Aspects of Portuguese Contemporary Dance”, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation’s - Serviço ACARTE