What do you learn by opening your eyes? Where does our attention wander in curiosity about the world?

From what is seen, what becomes knowledge, vertigo, mystery?

From the eyes to the mouth, from the mouth to the word, from the word to the ear and again to the eyes,

the world is processed and through it all of us as thinking, affective, sensitive matters.
Immersed in the present, we cast anchors for the future.

Two landmarking educating strategies inspire this project, both merging to one common basis: learning as a practice for freedom.  On one side, the German theorist Friedrich Froebel, inventor of the kindergarten and its use of play as a fundamental learning tool. On the other, the renowned Brazilian educator and philosopher, Paulo Freire, advocate of a critical pedagogy, where the learner is considered as a co-creator of knowledge.

The kindergarten was an educational initiative emerged in Germany in 1837 which defended the education of young infants through creative, imaginative, and spontaneous play. Through doing things and playing games, the children´s environment and dynamics were introduced into the learning process. When emphasizing doing rather than the verbal communication of things, Froebel defended that mind grows through self-revelation, made possible with playful learning games as building blocks, yarn balls, divided cube, which he called Giftsand learning activities he called Occupations, as weaving, drawing, folding paper, word carving, among others. The Gifts would lead to discover, thus to insights, the Occupations to invention, thus to power.

For Paulo Freire, the education serves men and women to gain critical access to the world they live in, adopting and using the students´ own references and contexts as the basis of the alphabetizing process. Engaged with the alphabetization of impoverished grown-ups as a way of promoting human dignity for otherwise oppressed people, Freire defended the consciousness of reading a word, as reading the world. Freire´s revolutionary method became world-wide famous yet banned by the Brazilian 1964-1982 dictatorship.

This project aims to interconnect both pedagogical universes, using dance as a knowledge instance in order to investigate, perform and explore the possibilities inherent to the educational principles that have founded both pedagogies. I am interested in researching local practical expertise, present in daily life, with the aim of devising performative movement techniques for non-dancers and parallelly invite dancers and amateurs to experiment what would be a translation between these two realms and to explore the materiality at play in Froebel´s Gifts and Occupations.

In the process of creation 3 paths are followed: open research workshops for dancers, amateurs and teenagers in dialogue with  Fröbel’s learning games;  the study, discussion and experimentation of the theoretical and practical intertwining of the two pedagogical practices, by Fröbel and Freire, along with their possible translation into dance protocols; the third, the creation of a series of short performances for the public space  (schools, museums and theaters) as sensible sharing and knowledge generation platforms. 

Rehearsal footages 


Work with brooms 1

Work with brooms 2

Flags 1 

Flags 2

Flags 3

Work with cloth 1

Artistic direction and choreography Gustavo Ciríaco

Collaborations – Performance Filipe Caldeira, Lewis Seivwright, Joana Levi, Mariana Costa, Sara Zita Correia and Tiago Barbosa
Collaborations – Set design and objects Ali Talaat
Administration and financial management Missanga Antunes
Residencies  Vaga – Espaço de Arte e Conhecimento, Materiais Diversos
Funding Fundação Gulbenkian
Photos Mariana Lopes