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AMAZONA or a dance of resistances

Studio + research program with Andressa Cantergiani

Januar - December 2022

Organized by: neue häute e.V.
Frame & support: Fellowship Weltoffenes Berlin 2022 / Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und Europa
Hosted at: Ana Conda am Ufer Café/Resto/Bar/Collective research space (Uferstr.23, c/o Uferstudios. 13357 Berlin)
In cooperation with: insurgencias.net Berlin-based platform for socially engaged artistic practices & activistic positions from the South.
Project coordinator: Paz Ponce 
Project mentors: Paz Ponce & Sheena McGrandles

Photo credits: “Amazona”. Oil and oily stick on magazine/paperBy Luisa Ritter Zimmer, Berlin 2022

Introduction to the research topic
{pdf here}

The term Amazona has one of the most controversial etymologies in Greek mythology; there are numerous theories regarding its origin. From the Iranian gentile *ha-mazan-, which would originally mean “warriors”. Another theory says that the term means “without breast” in Greek, since, according to some versions of the myth, the Amazons cut off one of their breasts to better handle their bows. Amazōn is the Ionian form for the word ha-mazan of Iranian origin, whose meaning is “fighting together”. The common root of the ancient word Ama has the meaning of Mother in the strictest sense and in the figurative sense denotes matriarchal culture, still existing in China. In the village of Moso, it means “Mother”, and the same root in North Africa where matriarchy also existed, who called themselves Amazigue.

Amazonas is also the name of the great Brazilian river that crosses the state also of the same name. Due to the numerous Icamiabas mujeres guerreras que dominaban el arco y las flechas, who attacked the Spanish invader Francisco de Orellana in the 16th century. In this Eurocentric vision of the indigenous peoples, the women warriors of the native peoples of Brazil were reminiscent of the Amazons of Greek mythology. From this imaginary projection, the river was baptised, an act that can lead us to reflect on the forms of colonisation and cultural extractivism.

It is from the contradiction that unites its hybrid meanings and the existence of women warriors around the world beyond myths that emerges the desire to extrapolate and desecrate Western myths to create a project where the struggle becomes a practice of self-care through self-defense. AMAZONA is a reverse appropriation, it is the theft of a colonising term to resignify and create other grammars of struggles. “A”, also means no. One way of negating colonial violence is to put it back, to usurp the term in a counter-cultural way, and to tear it up, but, do we still have to tear out our own breasts to be able to fight? What parts of ourselves are we sacrificing to perform better? As women, as daughters, as sisters, as mothers, as artists, as citizens?

Objectives & Methods

AMAZONA or the dance of resistance is a year long research project by Andressa Cantergiani. It has two main objectives: one of them is to create a community that carries out social, educational and community practices around the theme of combating gender violence (#AMAZONA Community). The other is to carry out performative research on diverse women warriors and self-defense practices for women and self-care to create a new performance piece and choreographed film in collaboration with other movement researchers (#A-Zone Cyborg) . Struggle and self-defense will be the base material for the creation of a re-signified body grammar and movement system for this new choreographic and video performance. The performance will be performed by 8 bodies that were selected during the research project in order to form a dance of resistance.

The project and its participatory dimension are articulated on the basis of an intersectional feminist approach*, to not exclude any struggle in addressing the fight against gender discrimination, necessarily taking into account issues of race and social class and respecting always the place of speech. The collaborators of the project are agents active on #intersectional feminism in Latin America in & outside the arts. This topic will be contextualised seeking analogous local groups to engage with the project and the Latin-American perspective of this work.

Participatory public program:

#AMAZONA Community


  • Online & offline community meetings with Andressa Cantergiani
  • Practical performative exercises in order to create an intimacy with one’s own body and with the group
  • Safe-space to talk and exchange self experiences
  • Exchange of theoretical, conceptual and historical references of the project
  • A program of talks with guests working with #intersectional feminism in Latin America & South Europe
  • Workshop of self-defense practices  with guests who work on martial arts techniques and methodologies aimed at self-defense for women and LGBT+ people

Who can join?

Local women/immigrant women, lgtbqia
With an interest in sharing vulnerabilities and work some healing forms in a collective. People with a perception of how this violence transverses their bodies and has a desire to share vulnerability together and learn how could we use the self-defense like a self-care political practice, inside and outside the arts


@ Ana Conda am Ufer, c/o Uferstudios, Uferstr.23, 13357 Berlin

How to participate?

Send us an email to AMAZONA@neuehaeute.org

Events  & Collaborators

#1 Community Meeting [09.02.22, 18h-19.30h]  “Intersectional feminism in Latin America”
Live online talk with guest Brazilian artists/activists Manoela Cavalinho, Cristina Ribas, Érica Saraiva from MARÉ - Artist collective & FREPLA/RS - Frente Pela Legalizaçao do Aborto RS. Digital space supported by Atelier Livre Xico Stockinger/ BR @alivrepoa/ 

_ Cristina T. Ribas: Artist and researcher. She works with archives, feminisms, situated, academic and theatrical research. She participates in the study group Epistemologias Afetivas Feministas (EAF), the Red Indomesticables and the Frente por la Legalización del Aborto Frepla-RS (Rio Grande do Sul/Brazil). Co-organises the Arquivos táticos https://midiatatica.desarquivo.org/ https://frentelegalizacaoaborto.wordpress.com/

_ Manoela Cavalinho (Porto Alegre, 1981). During my master's degree (Estudos da Subjetividade Contemporânea- PUC/SP), I attended some live model classes at EAV- Parque Lage. These classes triggered memories of childhood, when I accompanied the printmaker Karin Meneghetti to Atelier Livre in Porto Alegre.

Since then, between courses, practices and improvisations, I've been getting back in touch with visual arts. I even graduated in Visual Arts, in 2017. In this period I worked for some time as an art-educator with psychotic and bipolar patients and also worked with cultural production (Radio of UFRGS), mainly in front of a literature program (Folhetim). Nowadays besides my atelier practice I study butoh dance. 

_ Érica Cristiane Saraiva PhD candidate (2018) in History, Theory and Criticism at the Institute of Arts at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (PPGAV-UFRGS). Master (2017) in Art and Visual Culture by the Faculty of Visual Arts by the Postgraduate Program in Art and Visual Culture at the Federal University of Goiás (UFG). Graduated in Technology in Graphic Design by FACULDADE DE TECNOLOGIA SENAC (2010). She is a member of the extension group Feminist historiography: trends and impasses (UFRGS/RS), coordinated by Prof. Dr. Daniela Kern and the research group Feminist Epistemologies, Narratives and Affective Politics CNPq/PUCRS coordinated by Prof. Dr. Caroline Marim.

#2 Community Meeting [17.05.22, 19h-21h]  
“Physical feminism”
Group reading session & Live online talk with guest Margarita Pita from MOVEMENT LAB ATHENS / FIGHT BACK CLUB.

_ Margarita Pita is a freelance lawyer/mediator and a social artist based in Athens. She is a creative multi-hyphenate woman with a strong knowledge backbone in the legal field, a creative brain flourishing in the arts sector and a life-long commitment to physical theatre and martial arts. She is an unrepentant humanist and she believes deeply in the power of dialogue to change the world.

_ Movement Lab Athens _ is an independent space for physical theatre laboratory experiments, self-defence against gender-based violence, Akban Ninjutsu martial art training and embodied activism research and engagement. (5 Antilochou st, Athens) @movement.lab.athens 

... more soon!

Special thanks to AMAZONA
funders & supporters