Cristina Planas Leitão
[she / her]
Choreographer, educator, curator and currently co-ARTISTIC DIRECTOR of Teatro Municipal do Porto, DDD - Festival Dias da Dança & CAMPUS Paulo Cunha e Silva
Porto (PT), 1983
BA in Contemporary Dance at ArtEZ
Arnhem (NL), 2006
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© Nelson Guerreiro / Público
Cristina approaches her choreographic work as an act of resistance and affect, researching themes connected with social and political movements and their relationship with the performative body in the intimate and relational space of the theatre.
Affect, insistency, presence and contamination are key words.
Cristina created The very delicious piece and The Very Boring Piece, in co-creation with Jasmina Krizaj, the solo bear me, FM [featuring mortuum], UM [unimal] — the latter highlighted by the newspapers Expresso and JN in the top-10 of 2018's theatre works and [O SISTEMA] which is currently touring. Her work is documented in the series Portugal que Dança / RTP2 (Ep. 02).
As a performing arts curator, she highlights her collaboration with Teatro Municipal do Porto since 2019, when she became part of the programming team for the regular seasons as of 2019-2020, DDD - Festival Dias da Dança) (since the 2020 edition) and CAMPUS Paulo Cunha e Silva generating the artistic concept of residency center and program development since its opening in 2021.
After a 7-month period as Interim Artistic Director (Jul 22-Jan 23), from February 2023 onwards she became co-ARTISTIC DIRECTOR of Teatro Municipal do Porto, DDD - Festival Dias da Dança and CAMPUS Paulo Cunha e Silva, together with Drew Klein.
As a teacher, she has had continued education with David Zambrano, being part of the only certified group to teach and develop the Flying Low and Passing Through dance techniques (2010, Costa Rica), which she has taught internationally at Universities and studios with a somatic and unconventional approach. She is a mentor and regular teacher at ArtEZ HK, Arnhem (NL).
Besides the techniques, she facilitates workshops around her artistic practice and the content of her choreographic pieces entitled RADICAL SOFTNESS as well as classes on Somatic Yoga Practice. She has also followed multiple projects as a dramaturg and strategy consultant.
As a performer she worked with Gabriella Maiorino, Isabelle Schad, Flávio Rodrigues, Vloeistof, Catarina Miranda, Marco da Silva Ferreira and as a rehearsal director for Hofesh Shechter and Gregory Maqoma, both at Companhia Instável.
Cristina studies Hatha Yoga (CYT 200) and Vedic Astrology.
After one year spent at Medicine University, enrolls in the BA in Dance Performance at ArtEZ – Hogeschool voor de Kunsten in Arnhem (NL), graduating in 2006. As part of her education in dance and performance, she highlights the DanceWEB Scholarship Program, Vienna (AT), mentored by Philipp Gehmacher and Christine de Smedt in 2009. Cristina has lived in The Netherlands from 2002-2011 and moved back to Porto, Portugal in 2012.
Cristina approaches her choreographic work as an act of resistance and affect, researching themes connected with social and political movements and their relationship with the performative body in the intimate and relational space of the theatre. Affect, insistency, presence and contamination are key words.
Her choreographic practice started to develop in collaboration with Jasmina Krizaj with THE VERY DELICIOUS PIECE (2012) – a piece produced in the frame of the network Modul Dance (EDN) with more than 30 international performances. This piece as been nominated for the Gibanica prize, in Slovenia. In 2014, they collaborated once more for THE VERY BORING PIECE. Afterwards, in 2014, engaging on her own authorship, Cristina premiered the solo BEAR ME, presented at GUIdance Festival 2015 (PT) and lately in New York in 2017, which was acclaimed by the critic. In 2016, she creates the piece FM [FEATURING MORTUUM] with an extensive national tour, receiving support from the Ministry of Culture and several other foundations. In the same year, with an XL version of THE VERY DELICIOUS PIECE, was finalist, together with Jasmina Krizaj and a cast of 8 performers at Danse Élargie 2016 – Théâtre de la Ville, Paris. In 2018, created A SONG FOR THE END for the BA Modern Theaterdans of Amsterdam University for the Arts and deepened her work practice with the piece UM [UNIMAL] — premiered in April 2018 in coproduction with Culturgest, Lisbon (PT), Teatro Municipal do Porto (PT) and Teatro Aveirense (PT), the piece has been listed by national newspapers Expresso and Jornal de Notícias as one of the most impressive works of 2018, having a wide national tour. In March 2023 premiered [O SISTEMA] in coproduction with 23 Milhas, Teatro Municipal de Faro and TAGV, Coimbra.
Cristina’s work has been presented internationally in venues such as Hellerau – Europäisches Zentrum der Künsten, Dresden (DE), The Place, London (UK); Théâtre de la Ville (FR); Triskelion Arts NY (USA); I like to watch Too, Julidans Festival Amsterdam (NL); Malta Festival, Poznan (POL); Plesni Teater Ljubljana (SI); Stara Mestna Elektrarna, Ljubljana (SI); Maribor 2012 European Capital of Culture (SI); No_Body Festival (CY); Teatro Municipal do Porto – Rivoli. Campo Alegre (PT); GUIdance Festival, Guimarães (PT); BoxNova Centro Cultural de Belém, Lisboa (PT); Festival Cumplicidades, Lisboa (PT); Centro de Arte de Ovar; Cine-Teatro Louletanto, Loulé (PT); Teatro Municipal de Faro (PT), FITEI (PT), 23 Milhas (PT), among many others, and has been supported by Foundations like Calouste Gulbenkian, GDA Direitos dos Artistas and by the Ministry of Culture/ DGArtes (PT). She has been an Artist in Residency at Hellerau – Europäisches Zentrum der Künste (DE); Plesna Izba Maribor (SI); Dansateliers Rotterdam (NL); Dance Ireland (IR); GrandStudio Brussels (BE); MD Kollektiv (DE); Centro Danza Canal (ES); Bora Bora (DK); NAVE (CI); O Espaço do Tempo (PT); Teatro Municipal do Porto (PT); 23 Milhas / Ílhavo (PT); Devir-Capa, Faro (PT); Teatro Nacional S. João (PT) and Companhia Instável (PT).
In 2015, as founded her own cultural association under the name of bactéria.
Her work is documented in the national television series Portugal que Dança / RTP2 (Ep. 02) – where each episode portraits a national choreographer.
As a performing arts curator, she highlights her collaboration with TEATRO MUNICIPAL DO PORTO, under Artistic Direction of TIAGO GUEDES, since 2018, when she became part of the programming team for the regular seasons (starting in 2019-2020), for the FESTIVAL DDD since the 2020 edition and for CAMPUS Paulo Cunha e Silva developing the artistic program since 2021, being part of the curatorial team for the residency selection and programming the daily training.
From July 2022 - January 2023 she became INTERIM ARTISTIC DIRECTOR and from February 2023 onwards co-ARTISTIC DIRECTOR of Teatro Municipal do Porto, DDD - Festival Dias da Dança and CAMPUS Paulo Cunha e Silva, together with Drew Klein.
In 2011, in Porto, was one of the initiators of encontros desNORTE (2011-2017), which culminated in the summer of 2013 in an open Platform for the artists of the city to show their work and to collaborate in an open discourse space, supported by Teatro Nacional de São João, Porto and continuing until its end in 2017. In 2014, created and coordinated the research project conquering the studio: a time for research inviting Jared Gradinger (DE/USA), Lee Meir (IL/DE), Robert Clark (UK) and Mala Kline (SI/BE). This project has had two further editions, in collaboration with Companhia Instável, Porto. In 2021, she joined the programming consultancy group for Braga’27 Capital of Culture and in 22-23 she was a jury member of PT23, selecting the most outstanding performative works of the past season.
Her aggregating practice is focused on the development of sustainable creation formats and relations of care within the field.
As a teacher, she has had continued education with David Zambrano since 2005, and is part of the only group certified to teach and develop the Flying Low and Passing Through dance techniques (2010, Costa Rica), which since then has taught internationally at Universities and studios with a somatic and unconventional approach at ArtEZ, Arnhem (NL); Codarts Rotterdam (NL); Tanzquartier Wien (AT); K3/ Kampnagel Hamburg (DE); Henny Jurriens Stichting, Amsterdam (NL); Fórum Dança, Lisbon (PT); Balleteatro (PT); Ginasiano Escola de Dança (NL); ACE (PT), Dance Italia, Lucca (IT), Mark Morris Dance Center (NY), Dansateliers Rotterdam (NL); Dance Ireland (IR); Folkwang University – Essen (DE); among many other Universities and studios across Europe.
Cristina is a mentor and regular teacher at ArtEZ HK, Arnhem (NL). Besides the techniques, she facilitates workshops around her artistic practice and the content of her choreographic pieces entitled RADICAL SOFTNESS as well as classes on SOMATIC Yoga PRACTICE. She has also followed multiple projects as a dramaturg and strategy consultant.
As a performer, from 2007 to 2012 collaborated with Italian – Dutch based choreographer Gabriella Maiorino and Dansmakers Amsterdam (NL) participating in all her pieces during this period as a performer or rehearsal director. In 2013 Cristina, performed in the revival of Experience #1, a piece by Isabelle Schad (DE), at Serralves Contemporary Art Museum, Porto and in NIL-CITY by Flávio Rodrigues/ Ballet Contemporâneo do Norte (PT). In 2015, she is one of the selected artists to participate in The Porto Sessions – a project drawn and developed by Meg Stuart/ Damaged Goods and Mezzannine. As rehearsal director she has worked for Hofesh Shechter (2012-2014) and Gregory Maqoma (2015) for Companhia Instável. She has performed in REIPOSTO REIMORTO by Catarina Miranda and has been in the original cast and touring in Marco da Silva Ferreira’s piece Brother since it’s premiere at Teatro Rivoli in 2017 with an extensive European tour in venues such as Théâtre des Abbesses, Charleroi Danses, Dansens Hus Oslo, Festival Interplay Torino, Athens Hellenic Festival Athens, Bienalle de Lyon, São Luiz Teatro Municipal, among many others.
She studies Hatha Yoga (YTT 200), Vedanta and Vedic Astrology.
Awards, Scholarships & Grants
National Arts Directorate Support/ DGArtes for the creation of [O SISTEMA] with bactéria
Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation [internationalization] for touring FM [featuring mortuum] in Italy
National Arts Directorate Support/ DGArtes for the creation of UM [unimal] with bactéria
Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation [internationalization] international residencies of UM [unimal] with bactéria
Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation [internationalization] of bear me in New York
Finalist at Danse Élargie 2016 at Théâtre de la Ville, Paris (co-organized by Musée de la Danse, Rennes) with The Very Delicious Piece XL. Financially Supported by the Municipality of Porto
Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation
Program for Dance Creation for FM [featuring mortuum]
National Arts Directorate Support/ DGArtes for the Creation of FM [featuring mortuum] with bactéria
GDA Direitos dos Artistas for touring the piece FM [featuring mortuum] with bactéria
Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation
Program for Dance Internationalization of The Very Boring Piece
Nominated with The Very Delicious Piece for Gibanica (Moving Cake)
Slovene Dance Award for best Slovene dance piece of 2011-13
Scholarship recipient of Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian (PT) for David Zambrano’s project (internationalization)
Scholarship recipient of DanceWEB 5-week residency scholarship Program within the frame of Impulstanz Festival 09, Vienna (AT) mentored by Philipp Gehmacher and Christine de Smedt. Grant holder from Nederlandse Fonds voor de Podium Kunsten (NL), Van denEnde Foundation (NL), Fundação Engenheiro António de Almeida (PT) to participate in the program
3rd Prize in the competition c.o.n.t.est08 in Estonia with the solo SKINNED (choreography and performance). Prize given by Wim Vandekeybus and Teet Kaask