bear me (2014)

by Cristina Planas Leitão 

“(…) Then, there are new names worth to be discovered: Cristina Planas Leitão and Mara Andrade, for example. In different ways, with different approaches in terms of creation, each one created a kind of a character. In her “Bear Me” Cristina composed a double personality character through a delicious ferocity of questioning the relation with the audience – which both do. She is at the same time tender and defiant. In a confrontational position she creates as much mistrust and tension as she breaks that tension when she wants, conquers trust, and leaves the audience rendered to an innocent fragility that briefly recalls the book and movie “Where the Wild Things Are” (2009). In all shows mentioned here, the title and the nature of this film is the essence of this dance: spaces inhabited by wild things – bodies, temperaments, behaviours, histories – but so disarming, appealing and touching at the same time. They may seem strange but they make us surrender ourselves so easily to their poetry, made from a persistent naming of each gesture shared. Even when mute, they create meaning in the mind of the beholder. It is not just a coincidence that “Bear Me” starts with Cristina dressed in a simple t-shirt, facing the public at the front of the stage, and speaking to the audience through a microphone, saying: “This is about you and me.” She ends with the same sentence, “this is about you and me,” followed by another one: “I think we need a break.””  – by Claudia Galhós in                                                                                                                                                       

It’s so lonely out here. So-lo-ne-ly. So alone for so long. It´s so lovely to be here. It’s a so-lo.

This thing between me and you… and you… and you… It’s complicated…

Can you bear the distance between us?

Can you bear if I leave you?

Can you bear this silence?

Can you bear it again?

Can you bear me?

1 + 1 = 1

The ultimate formula of love.


“bear me” explores the concept of relationships: the relationship between Me and You, between the Performer and the Audience, between Men and Society. A metaphorical journey of vulnerability and exposure is created on different levels, from which a distorted and incomplete body emerges. Also created is the necessary space which enables the audience to enter the private and secluded place of the performer where parallels are drawn between intimate and interpersonal relationships in an ambiguous way, allowing the action to unfold in double meanings. The space “between” intensifies the feeling of limbo that exists between the two characters, as well as the loneliness and intimacy that belongs to the third hybrid body.


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© André Mendes, Filipe Moreira, Paulo Pacheco


by & with Cristina Planas Leitão | Soundscape Cristina Planas Leitão & Pedro Neves (with Cliff Ramirez, Nine Inch Nails, This will destroy you) | coaching Mala Kline (BE/SI) within the frame of the research project Conquering the studio: a time for research and Vânia Rovisco within the residency program of Companhia Instável) | outside eyes and collaboration in the research Catarina Miranda, Joana von Mayer Trindade, Marco da Silva Ferreira e Mara Andrade | Light design Cristina Planas Leitão in collaboration with João Teixeira/ Diogo Barbedo | Technical direction Cárin Geada | Length aprox. 1h | photos André Mendes | Video registration Eva Ângelo

This piece is developed with the support to the creation/residency by Lugar Instável, Porto (PT) within the frame of Associated Artist of Companhia Instável and in collaboration with BCN – ballet contemporâneo do norte in the frame of Research Project 2014 – Conquering the studio: a time for research with Mala Kline (SI/ BE).

The internationalization of the piece in 2017 to New York City is funded by Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Portugal. / Apoio à Internacionalização 2017 pela Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian

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  • 24 & 25 April  2014| Premiere bear me,  Sala-Estúdio, Teatro do Campo Alegre, Porto – Ciclo Palcos Instáveis
  • 20 June 2014| bear me – Mostra desNORTE-Preview MAP/P at Mosteiro de São Bento da Vitória, Porto (PT)
  • 13 February 2015 | GUIdance Festival, Guimarães (PT) – Pequeno Auditório do CCVF
  • 20 February 2015| Narodni Dom, Mali oder, Maribor (SI)
  • 5 November 2016 | FIDANC, Teatro Garcia de Resende, Évora (PT)
  • 3 June 2017 | Triskelion Arts, Muriel Schulman Theater, Brooklyn (USA) – Guest Curated Series: Stefanie Nelson “How high is the ceiling in my glass castle? (and other perceived limitations)”



  • 1 – 14 February 2014| Residency at  Lugar Instável, Porto (PT)
  • 17-23 February 2014 | Coaching with Mala Kline, ballet contemporâneo do norte, Santa Maria da Feira (PT)
  • 31 March – 23 April 2014 | Residency at Lugar Instável (PT)
  • 11 April 2014 | 17:00 – Informal showing in process – Studio of  Companhia Instável, Porto (PT)


Initially bear me started to be a 1 hour a solo unfolded in two that explores the concept of relation(ship). The relation between Me & You, between Performer & Audience, between Man & Society, as well as between the first and second parts of the piece and in what way all can correspond to the formula of love: 1+1=1, where two parts create a whole that influences each other and vice-versa. The piece establishes a parallel between intimate and interpersonal relations in an ambiguous way, potentiating diverse unfoldings and double meanings. It is a vulnerable and exposed metaphor, created by the juxtaposition of different layers, therefore allowing the appearance of a distorted, unmatched and incomplete body which gives the space for the viewer to create their own meaning, story, readings or mirror their own feelings.

How can I perform a question instead of an answer? How can I make the audience question themselves about what they might mean to me instead of what I mean to them right there and then? As a choreographer, how can I play with expectation? How can I be general and personal simultaneously? How can I work with the existence of different reading filters and in what way do those same filters alter the meaning of the whole piece?

bear me can be performed in a shorter version of 40 minutes or in the original version of 1h. The necessity to create a shorter version of the piece into 40 minutes, originated another solo, with the same key elements of the original work. Compromising the repetition of the two parts, but instead including it already in the work itself. It’s a more compact and effective version. The piece, often described as sad and deeply nostalgic, allows the audience to enter a lonely and intimate place of the performer and establishes a parallelism between intimate and interpersonal relations in an ambiguous way, potentiating diverse unfoldings and double meanings. The space between, originated by the existence of the two parallel characters, intensifies this emerging hybrid body that materializes in the word itself – bear / to bare.