Troubling the stage
: openness, impurity and intensity. The politicality of Marlene Monteiro Freitas’ choreographic work

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


The present study wishes to elaborate on the politicality of Cape Verdean Marlene Monteiro Freitas’ choreographic work through the constellations of Openness, Impurity, and Intensity, the three common lines that, according to the choreographer, cross all her work. For choreographer and dancer Marlene Monteiro Freitas, who was awarded in 2018 the Silver Lion by Venice Biennale and in 2021 the Chanel Next Prize, dance happens in that third space of radical openness in-between the stage and the audience, where forces propelled by the performance encounter those released with and through each singular spectator, opening the sensory to the unforeseen, and having transformational impact on the intensity of co-being. Summoning overdetermined, hybrid and animistic figures that evoke queer and multispecies entanglements, and through figural transgression, transformation and intensity as choreographic tools, her work concurs to the construction of an imaginary, a radically unbounded fictional world where the unexpected finds a potential ground for existence. Articulating Openness, Impurity and Intensity as choreographic strategies of displacement and transformation, we propose that Marlene's work displaces some of Western modern Grand Divides (subject-object, human-non-human, modern-primitive animality, among others), proposing a space of negotiation beyond identity politics, and gender and racial binaries. Hers is, therefore, a decolonial and intersectional choreographic practice in the context of contemporary dance in Western Europe.
Date of Award5 May 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Universidade Católica Portuguesa
SupervisorIsabel Capeloa Gil (Supervisor)


  • Marlene Monteiro Freitas
  • Choreography
  • Contemporary dance
  • Hybridity
  • Gender
  • Decolonial
  • Intersectionality
  • Cape Verde
  • Theatricality
  • Political


  • Doutoramento em Estudos de Cultura

Cite this