Happy Island

by La Ribot



by La Ribot (2018) with Dançando com a Diferença



Look more closely. See beyond the historiography of the daily gestures that have already gained the status of art, in a movement of permanent rupture that suggests an implication of that gaze, and of the listening, to go beyond the falling, the walking, the stumbling, the sitting, the running, the embracing… Look more closely. Let your gaze truly rest on that rebel gesture that speaks of the impossibility of being tamed. This is how Henrique Amoedo has been conceiving the company Dançando com a Diferença. Without concessions or easy solutions. Because of this, artistic thought led him to dare La Ribot to meet the group.


It is in this encounter, act of communion in demanded freedom, that we perceive this HAPPY ISLAND that La Ribot created with the dancers from Dançando com a Diferença, a film by Raquel Freire with choreographic assistance by Telmo Ferreira. They say this is an inclusive dance company, with a majority of dancers with Down Syndrome, but... Look more closely. This is a meeting between specific people and places, formulating a new kind of site-people-specific, continuing but deepening a line of research that we recognize in La Ribot, where the deeply human challenges the deeply artistic, touching each other in an astounding intimacy of the profoundly delirious.


In HAPPY ISLAND there are people who are places and places that are people, and in the meeting, or tension, between the two, fiction is created, myth, legend. And we never leave reality. We never abandon people, in laughter or in tears. We never leave Fanal, the vertiginous highest point in Funchal forest, where the sky seems to touch the earth’s entrails – this is also what we see in the film by Raquel Freire, as well as the wider community of the whole dance company in a celebration of expression of sensual feeling. We enter the tunnel, through these roads breached from nature, to confuse the senses. Real-imaginary-specific.


It is also in this temporal paradox of imagery that the live happening and the projected film move, where animal and human intersect in the body and in the act, which has as much of sexual, orgiastic, as it simply… is… or is simply willing to be in the smallest movement of personal expression. Personal Specific.


Look more closely. To Maria João Pereira, taking the form of living art, on stage, has the expanded and trembling duration of pulling her hair into a ponytail, leaving the wheelchair and going to the ground. And then rest, lying on her side, trembling. How many contemporary dance pieces explore the disturbing intensities of the trembling body, which unmakes and remakes itself continuously? Here, a person is a 'site specific', and the site that is thus composed is strongly subjective and made up from fable.


In the delirious encounter between all these specificities and La Ribot, a new gesture is generated, which in truth is only evidence of something that already existed in her work, and of something that already pulsated in those bodies – of Bárbara Matos, Joana Caetano, Sofia Marote, Pedro Alexandre Silva, Maria João Pereira. Therefore, again the readymade. The real-imaginary-personal-specific-readymade. And Duchamp, again. Reality rendered art and art that, in the sensitive cleansing of the meeting with the other, reveals reality that previously went unnoticed. Look more closely. Deeply human, deeply conceptual, deeply organic, deeply geometric, deeply narrative and fictional, deeply abstract and purified. Kitsch, mythological, sexual, cabaretic and geometric.


The island is the place of fantasy, but fantasy is the place of free expression of each individual, and each individual is that island that seems to be a hand painted landscape, of a forest immersed in mist, which greets the audience in the beginning of the show only for us to discover later that its isolation integrates multiple internal contents and is deeply relational. Island and person blend together. And so do all the fables that inhabit them. And thus fantasy and reality come closer to a lived and dreamt dream. What exists and what is shown in HAPPY ISLAND is a testimony of life and art. Specific. Look more closely.   

(Claudia Galhós about HAPPY ISLAND)




Artistic File

Direction and choreography: La Ribot

Dancer: Bárbara Matos, Joana Caetano, Maria João Pereira, Sofia Marote and Telmo Ferreira

Choreographic assitant: Telmo Ferreira


Lighting and technical direction: Cristóvão Cunha

Costume: La Ribot

Dressmaker: Laurence Durieux and Teresa Neves

Music: Francesco Tristano, Jeff Mills, Archie Shepp, Oliver Mental Grouve , Atom tm and Raw C + Pharmakustik

Artistic colaboration and interview direction: Josep-María Martín

Interview participant: Emília Monteiro, Maria João Pereira, Bárbara Matos and José Figueira


Film direction: Raquel Freire

Assistant of the film direction: Valérie Mitteaux

Montage: Raquel Freire

Camera: Raquel Freire and Valérie Mitteaux

Dancer of Dançando com a Diferença in the filmAléxis Fernandes, Bárbara Matos, Bernardo Graça, Cristina Baptista, Diogo Freitas, Filipa Vieira, Isabel Teixeira, Joana Caetano, José Figueira, Lígia Rosa, Maria João Pereira, Natércia Kuprian, Nuno Borba, Pedro Alexandre Silva, Rui João Costa, Sara Rebolo, Sofia Pires, Sofia Marote, Telmo  Ferreira, Teresa Martins and Vittória Vianna


Executive production: Henrique Amoedo, Diogo Gonçalves and Paz Santa Cecilia


HAPPY ISLAND is born from an invitation of Henrique Amoedo - Dançando com a Diferença to La Ribot

Is a co-production of Dançando com a Diferença - Madeira and La Ribot Cie - Genéve

In co-production with Le Grütli - Centre de Production & de Diffusion des Arts Vivants - Festival La Bâtie-Genève, CN D, Centre National de la Danse – Paris and "Celebration of the 600 years of the discovery of Madeira and Porto Santo" - Portugal

With the support of: La Fondation Ernst Göhner, AC/E (Acción Cultural Española) and NAVE (Chile)


Our thanks to: Mateo Jobin for the title «Happy Island», to Lidia Rodrigues for the feather hat, to Eric Weiss for the black shirt and Marco de Barros and Nuno Borba for their continuous support


Dançando com a Diferença

Artistic direction: Henrique Amoedo

President of the board: Telmo Ferreira

Executive production and comunication: Diogo Gonçalves

Assistant of artistic production: Nuno Borba, Natércia Kuprian, Mariana Valente and Sara Valente

Dançando com a Diferença it is a structure financed by Portuguese Republic / General Directorate of Arts; Government of Madeira / Regional Secretariat of Education and Regional Secretariat of Tourism and Culture


La Ribot Cie:

La Ribot is an associated artist at CN D, Centre National de la Danse, Paris (2018-2019)

Artistic direction: La Ribot

Executive production: Paz Santa Cecília

Production and comunication: Sara Cenzual

Administration: Gonzague Bochud

Technical direction: Marie Prédour

La Ribot - Genève is subventioned by the Ville de Genève, République et Canton de Genève and Pro Helvetia Fondation Suisse for Culture.



©Cie. La Ribot   ©Dançando com a Diferença

Happy Island by La Ribot

Happy Island by La Ribot

Published at 20 June, 2018