‘one mysterious Thing, said e.e. cummings*’,
‘What Can Be Said about Pierre’, ‘Olympia’
Vera Mantero & O Rumo do Fumo , Portugal

‘one mysterious Thing, said e.e. cummings*’
Concept and performance: Vera Mantero
Make-up: Alda Salavisa (original drawing by Carlota Lagido)
Props: Teresa Montalvão
Original light design: João Paulo Xavier
Light adaptation and operation: Bruno Gaspar
Executive production: Culturgest 1996, ‘Homenage to Josephine Baker’
Supports: Casa da Juventude de Almada; Forum Dança; / Amascultura

Duration: 20 minutes

‘one mysterious Thing, said e.e. cummings*’

The solo ‘one mysterious Thing, said e.e.cummings*’ was created in January 1996 for the ‘Homage to Josephine Baker’, an event organized by the theatre Culturgest in Lisbon. In her vision of the life and the work of the black dancer and singer of the first half of the 20th century, Vera Mantero chose an approach that goes beyond the face of Josephine Baker. In the program she wrote: ‘It is one thing that I would like to find or create: a vast territory in which richness of spirit prevails. [...] This spirit I’m talking about has no wish to abolish the body, has no shame of its desire and of its sex, what this spirit wishes is to eradicate coarseness, the frightful foolishness, the deep ignorance, the poverty of horizons, the materialism, etc., etc. (unfortunately, this seems to be a long list...)’

* What he really said about Josephine:
‘one mysterious Thing, neither primitive nor civilised, or beyond time, in the sense that
emotion is beyond arithmetics’


Vera Mantero studied classical dance with Anna Mascolo and worked in Ballet Gulbenkian in Lisbon between 1984 and 1989. She started creating her own choreography in 1987 and since 1991 she has been showing her work all over Europe, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Singapore, South Korea and USA.
From her choreographic work she points out her solos ‘Perhaps she could dance first and think afterwards’ (1991), ‘Olympia’ (1993) and ‘one mysterious Thing, said e.e.cummings*’ (1996), as also her group pieces ‘Under’ (1993), ‘For Boring and Profound Sadnesses’ (1994), ‘Poetry and Savagery’ (1998), ‘Until the moment when God is destroyed by the extreme exercise of beauty’ (2006) and her latest piece ‘We are going to miss everything we don’t need’ (2009).
Since the year 2000 Vera Mantero is dedicating herself also to vocal work by singing the repertoire of several authors and co-creating experimental music projects.
In 1999 the Theatre Culturgest in Lisbon organized during one month a retrospective of her work created until then, which was entitled ‘Month of March, Month of Vera’.
‘Eating your heart out’, a work created in collaboration with the sculptor Rui Chafes, represented Portugal at the 26thBiennial of São Paulo 2004.
In 2002 Vera Mantero was awarded the Almada Prize (IPAE/Ministry of Culture) and in 2009 the prestigious Gulbenkian Art Prize for her career as a performer and choreographer.