© Rui Palma

The creative work of Tânia Carvalho moves between choreography and music, between dance and drawing.

Born 1976 in Viana do Castelo, Portugal, Tânia Carvalho began her dance studies in her hometown. In the 90s she pursued Artistic Studies at the Escola Superior de Arte e Design (Caldas da Rainha), at the Escola Superior de Dança de Lisboa and at Fórum Dança (Lisbon).


At the turn of the century, Tânia Carvalho began to present her first creations in the realm of choreography. Co-founder of the Bomba Suicida collective, in 1997, remaining there until its dissolution, in 2014. Between 2015 and 2020 Tânia Carvalho created, on an individual basis, her production company and in 2021 joined Agência 25, where she remains.


An artistic career marked by the rhythm of versatility and mystery has followed: Tânia Carvalho moves frequently from the field of choreography to that of musical composition. She is the author of several original soundtracks for her own pieces, such as "Como Se Pudesse Ficar Ali Para Sempre" (2005) and "Síncopa"  (2013). In 2023, Tânia also released her first album “Music for Versa-Vice”.


In addition, Tânia Carvalho also created musical works as “Madmud” (2007), “Idiolecto” (2013) and “duploc barulin” (2019). She also co-created, under the name Papillons d’éternité (a duo formed with Matthieu Ehrlacher) “Pieris Napi” (2021), “Greta Oto” (2021) and “Lyropteryx Appollonia” (2022) and, in 2023, they delved into the world of soundtracks once more, this time crafting the musical tapestry for a piece by Julián Pacomio “Toda a luz do meio-dia”.


In this way, Tânia Carvalho affirms herself as an artist whose will to expression is not exhausted in one single language. And this will to say of the author contains in itself a symbolic universe of its own: her creations wander through the shadows ("Olhos Caídos", 2010), the vivification of painting ("Xylography", 2016), expressionism and the memory of cinema (you willl find The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and The Seventh Seal in “27 Bones”), bodies that become things other than bodies, and finally the idea of the liquefaction of something solid (“The recoil of Words” from 2013, ”Explodir em Silêncio Nunca Chega A Ser Perturbador" from 2005, and "Orquéstica" from 2006).


Hence the artist constructs her mysterious cosmogony, a set of codes that transcend the very art of movement - whether this should take place in the linguistic and semantic carefulness that she inscribes in the titles of her work (“Icosahedron”, but one could equally mention “Orquéstica” or “Weaving Chaos”), or in the frequent passing through territories more distanced from that of choreography, like drawing: "Toledo", a series of drawings exhibited at the CAA (Guimarães) at BoCA (Lisboa) or KLAP Maison pour la Danse (Marseille), or "Glimpse – 5 Room Puzzle", a hybrid in-between drawing and dance.


In 2018, a Programme Cycle dedicated to her work had place in several theatres in Lisboa, where Tânia Carvalho premiered “S”, a new piece for the National Ballet Company of Portugal, and “A Bag and a Stone - dance piece for screen”, her first film. Tânia was also invited by director Henrique Pina to create a choreography for his film “Body-Buildings” (2021) and by RTP (Portuguese public television) to create a choreography for a series named “Danças na Cidade” about the emblematic architectural heritage of the city of Lisbon, in the context of World Dance Day, for which she conceived "Sucessão inevitável de acontecimentos" (2022).


Throughout 2022, the Théâtre de la Ville (Paris) dedicated, within the Portugal-France Cross Season, a special focus to Tânia Carvalho’s career, presenting some of her most emblematic works in several theaters in the French capital. In the March of 2023, Tânia premiered her new creation “Versa-vice” within the scope of the 22nd edition of the Val-de-Marne Dance Biennale, at Théâtre Jacques Carat (Cachan, France).

This density and versatility in Tânia Carvalho’s work have led her to a plethora of spaces and collaborations, from the institutional to the alternative, from the formal to the informal, diving in her own creations but also working by invitation from other companies. Over more than two decades, Tânia Carvalho has been paving her way: thoughtfully and each time more multidisciplinary; cultivating a refined slowness, generating obscure universes – and for all of those reasons deeply fascinating.

In 2023, Tânia Carvalho was decorated by the French Ministry of Culture with the insignia "Chevalier de L'ordre des Arts et des Lettres", for her significant contribution to the enrichment of the French cultural inheritance.


Edited from a text by Eduardo Brito