Pioneers of Dance in Portugal
Dance is probably the liveliest of all the arts and, assuredly, the most ephemeral. It is therefore vital that we do not let its protagonists and, if possible, also the evanescent works that end every time the curtain closes on the ecstatic eyes of the spectator fade from collective memory.
And not only those that, on floorboards, with their tuned bodies transmit a halo of lightness and freedom to movements or with turmoil and feeling portray the darkest side of human nature, but all that contribute to the vigour and creativity of dance. Also those that in the shadows pass down knowledge, from one generation to the next, and those that, giving flight to fantasy, sign the various components of the creations that others give visibility to. Due to the fragile nature of their work and the reduced exposure that they have accustomed us to, many are idolised for their performance but, oftentimes, forgotten beyond the stage and the roar of the applause. Because almost all the works that they have created and (or) danced are irremediably lost, this philatelic series arises from the imperative to provide the general public – not only to those of dance or to niches of collectors, scholars or students – with a brief journey through Portuguese Dance of the 20th century, whose artists were chosen based on an as rigorous and objective criterion as possible. Although the selection is quite tight, the name of Margarida de Abreu – the centenary of whose birth is celebrated in 2015 – is an indispensable reference. However, inevitably, many were left out of this restricted gallery of illustrious individuals. That shall certainly be a natural challenge extended to future initiatives.
What is certain is that all of them inscribed their name in gold in the short history of our dance, marking with a pioneer spirit, dedication and talent a path that many have been down but on which few have shined so brightly.