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Dr. Vânia Gala

Lecturer in Dance


Vania Gala


Dr. Vânia Gala is choreographer and researcher. She is currently a lecturer in Dance on the MA/MFA in Choreography programme at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. She supervises MA/MFA dissertation students and teaches Examining Practice in the MA/MFA Choreography. Prior to Trinity Laban Conservatoire for Music and Dance she taught release-based technique, composition and choreography at Northampton and Kingston Universities. She holds a BA in Dance from EDDC-ArtEZ (Hogeshool voor Kunst Arnhem, Netherlands) and a Master of Arts in Choreography with Distinction (Trinity Laban). She received her PhD from Kingston University funded by a university scholarship.

She works at the intersection of critical dance studies, performance philosophy and experimental practices in dance, theatre and visual arts performance.

Her interests lie in experimental practices with an emphasis on notions of refusal, choreo-thinking, fugitivity, improvisation(s), black (non)performances, negotiation, dissensus, hospitality and value.

Gala’s choreographies and conversational performances explore (non)performance(s) and opacity. Latest performative interventions include Table for Upside Down Practices at Calouste Gulbenkian Museum (Lisbon, Portugal). Collaborations as performer involved Les Ballets C.de La B., Constanza Macras, Dina13 and B. Valiente Kompani. She collaborated as choreographer with artists Sonia Boyce, Harold Offeh and Griot theatre-company. Commissions include Cooling-Down Signs a Pan-European creation performed at DanceWeek Festival (Croatia), D.I.D (Austria), Front@Festival (SIovenia), Bakelit (Hungary).

In 2019 she was awarded Best Choreography by Theatre Guide (Portugal). In 2005 she was awarded Best Female Performance at Dublin Fringe, was part of Aerowaves (London) and of Triennial of Luanda. Her choreographies were performed in Angola, Portugal, Norway, Germany, Ireland, UK, Russian-Federation and Austria. In 2021 she was invited to be a member of the of DgArtes – Portuguese Ministry of Culture Arts Funding Board. She is a member of TaPRA (Theatre and Performance Association), Performance Philosophy and a board founding member of UNA – União Negra das Artes (Black Artists Union, Portugal).

Qualifications And Background

2021 PhD in Dance and Performance Studies, Kingston School of Arts, Kingston University, London, United Kingdom

2011 – 2012 MA in Choreography (Masters in Choreography with Distinction), Trinity Laban – Conservatoire of Music and Dance, United Kingdom. Degree Granting Institution: City University, United Kingdom

1996-1999 Bachelor degree (baccalaureus). Degree Granting Institution : European Dance Development School – Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Arnhem. Faculteit Theater,Netherlands

1989-1993 Economics at University of Coimbra, Faculdade de Economia da Universidade de Coimbra

Research Interests | Specialized Areas of Interest

  • Critical Dance and Performance Studies
  • Choreography, Dance and Performance(s)
  • Performance Philosophy
  • Opacity (Glissant)
  • Black (non)performances (Performances of refusal, Moten, Hartman)
  • Philosophy of Science (Haraway and Latour) and performance(s)
  • Differentiality in philosophy and performance(s)
  •  Performance Theory
  • Improvisations (Sampling, Black improvisations, games, Judson Church)


Awards Received

  • 2019 Best Choreography Award by Theatre Guides Awards Portugal
  • 2015 PASS PhD studentship award (Kingston University)
  • 2005 Best Performance Dublin Fringe Festival, Republic of Ireland




Selected Peer Reviewed Conference Presentations

  • 2019 “Opacity as generative withholding in Performance” What will be conference FBAUL – Lisbon (Portugal) https://whatwillbeconference.weebly.com/programme.html
  • 2019 “Other Possible choreographies: The Potential of the Missing Performer” TaPRA (Theatre Performance Association) conference, Exeter University (United Kingdom) https://tapra2019.sched.com/speaker/vania_gala.76xv020
  • 2019 “Gramáticas de Opacidade”. Corpos Dissidentes | Cidades Rebeldes – Arte(s), Antropologias e Activismo(s). Centro em Rede de Investigação em Antropologia (CRIA), Lisbon
  • 2017 “Critical Possibilities| Critical Absences: devices, machines and other hybrid associations”. Trans-in-corporados: Construindo Redes para a Internacionalização da pesquisa Universidade Federal Rio de Janeiro (Brasil) https://labcritica.com.br/trans-in-corporados2017/
  • 2017 “Upside Down” Dialogues in Dance, Philosophy, and Performance in the Contemporary Neoliberal Moment Conference Coventry University (United Kingdom)
  • 2017 “Upside Down: Choreography beyond the object subject divide”. FASS Conference Kingston University (United Kingdom)
  • 2017 “Upside Down: choreography beyond the subject-object divide” [performative roundtable] Beyond Application: Immanent Encounters Between Philosophy & the Arts Centre for Performance Philosophy, University of Surrey, Guildford (United Kingdom)
  • 2017 “Maliciously Missing: The Potential of the Missing Performer in Choreography (study II)” [performance lecture]. How to things with Practice Research Symposium, University of Surrey (United Kingdom)
  • 2016 “One Thousand Things” Teater als Kritik conference, Universidade Justus-Leibig Giessen (Germany) https://www.ds.uzh.ch/_files/uploads/agenda/629.pdf
  • 2016 “Gone Missing: the potential of absence in choreography”
  • (In)visible Cultures Conference. Culture, Media and Creative Industries (CMCI) Department of King’s College London (United Kingdom)
  • 2016 “Gone Missing: the potential of absence in choreography” Liminaridades, Género, Tradução e Performance. CEHUM Universidade do Minho | Braga (Portugal)
  • 2015 “Maliciously missing: the potential of the missing performer”. ACRU Symposium, Kingston University (United Kingdom)
  • 2015 “No Time for Ambition” lecture performance. Institutions, Politics and Performance Conference. Athens (Greece)
  • 2015 “Things go unnoticed” lecture performance. Panel performance and resistance. The Practice of (in)visibility: 4th International Critical Studies Research Group Conference. University of Brighton (United Kingdom)
  • 2013 “(un)occupy the Body: session 3 on Things and the non-human. Lecture-performance. CRAL-EHESS Recherche dans Les Arts: Presentations des travaux en cours, Paris (France)
  • 2013 “(un)occupy the Body”, Performance/Paper presentation at Inventing Futures Conference, ARTEZ Hogeschool voor Kunst, Arnhem (Netherlands)


Artistic Creation Choreography | Collaborations (Selected)

2020 a 27 Fev. 2022 “Joy Inside Our Tears” Harold Hofeh (Wellcome Collection, London)

Link: https://wellcomecollection.org/exhibitions/YLi_BhAAACEAebzp


2019 “Mesa para práticas de pernas para o ar ou de cabeça para baixo” Museu de arte Moderna Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian

Link: https://gulbenkian.pt/agenda/encontros-internacionais-where-i-we-stand/

Link: http://vaniagala.blogspot.com/2020/01/mesa-para-praticas-de-cabeca-para-baixo.html



2018 “Que Ainda Alguém nos Invente”, GRIOT, Rivoli Teatro Nacional (Porto, Portugal) e Teatro do Bairro (Lisbon)

Link: https://www.teatromunicipaldoporto.pt/pt/programa/teatro-griot-que-ainda-alguem-nos-invente-estreia-coproducao/


2013 -2014 “Cooling Down Signs” International tour. Co-production with Beyond Front@: Bridging New Territories Croatian Institute for Movement and Dance (Croatia), Flota (Slovenia), Progressione (Hungary), D.I.D. (Austria), Dance Week Festival Zagreb (Hungary), Front@ Festival (Slovenia), Bakelite (Hungary) with the support of EU Culture Programme of EU

Link: http://beyondfronta.eu/

Link: http://vaniagala.blogspot.com/search/label/Cooling Down Signs?m=0

Link:  http://www.plesnascena.hr/index.php?p=article&id=1580


2015  “Tiger Paper Soap Whisky Theatre” Sonia Boyce Villa Arson, (France)

Link: https://sonia-boyce.villa-arson.org/en/content-2/


2008 – 2009 “MiamiLuanda” Teatro Académico Gil Vicente, Plataforma Portuguesa de Artes Performativas, Espaço o Tempo


2009 – 2010 “8º10‘30″ ” Teatro Académico Gil Vicente (Coimbra), Centro Cultural de Belém (Lisbon), (Portugal)


2003 -2007 “Automatic Id (AID)”, Coreographer and Performer. Coproduction: Gala-me Ass., USF Bergen, Fabrik Potsdam with the support of Instituto das Artes – Portugal Arts Council (Portugal) and Norksulturäd – Norway Arts Council(Norway) International tour: United Kingdom, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Russia, Germany,  Angola, Norway Automatic Id (AID).  Balhaus Berlin, BIT Theater Garasjnen – proveroomet (Bergen), U.S.F. Kulturhuset (Bergen), Breadmatters- Museu da Água (Lisbon), Festival Dança de Almada (Lisbon), Centro Cultural de Belém (Lisbon), Oeiras Festival Lugar a Dança (Oeiras), Coimbra Dança (Coimbra), Hamburger Sprechwerk (Hamburgo), Fabrik Potsdam (Germany), Project Space (Dublin), The Place Theatre (London) – Aerowaves Festival. “Best Female Performance” awardee Dublin Fringe Festival 2005.

Link: http://vaniagala.blogspot.com/search/label/PRESS FOR %28AID%29?updated-max=2016-09-05T15:23:00-07:00&max-results=20&start=4&by-date=false

Link: http://dancekiosk-hamburg.de/uploads/PDF-Files/ArchivPDF/Press-Mappe-DanceKiosk 2006-ENG.pdf