work and research                                                  Access to full CV in Academia

I am associate researcher at IHA in Nova University of Lisbon.

I initiated my education in dance in my early teens after I met Geraldine Zwanikken, a dutch dancer who moved to the Alentejo, and I followed music and humanities in high school. In 1990 I enrolled for the BA in Choreography and Performance in Lisbon, which grounded my professional practice. In 2003 I post-graduated in London with a Master of Arts and I started writing about the arts professionally. In 2016 I have been awarded a PhD in Arts and Humanities.

My work and research since 25 years ago has focused in performance, mostly related to dance, in Portugal and abroad, as choreographer, manager, dancer, teacher and writer. After achieving my PhD in London in 2016, I directed the arts council (DGARTES), that runs the public funding in Portugal for the independent professional sector, until may 2018.

This site was built to report the PhD research route that I undertook with Middlesex University School of Media and Performing Arts, in 2008. Its purpose was to account for the progress of my research about “dance performance in cyberspace” and a thesis on “transfer and transformation”. You can find here a record about theme, inquiry, process, case studies, conferences and articles related to this research, as well as a link to the full thesis manuscript.

My writings about dance, performance, culture and society, published in articles, books or journals and venue programs are also archived here. I provide a collection of my dance reviews for Jornal Público from 2004 to 2016, which cover a wide range of international and Portuguese choreographers.

I have worked and learned in Lisboa, Alentejo, Brussels, London and Venice. Currently I am based in Portugal.


Paula Varanda has developed a professional career in the field of dance and art, working in different areas such as choreography, performance, teaching, production and writing. She has collaborated with several organizations on the management of public events and publications in the performing arts sector, researching cultural policies, as well as developing international networking and local community projects.

Her last assignment, until 2018, was a two-year position as director general of the arts council in Portugal – Direção-Geral das Artes, from the Ministry Of Culture.

She has an MA on Choreography and Performing Arts from Middlesex University (London, 2003) and graduated from Escola Superior de Dança (Upper School of Dance, Lisbon, 1994). During the academic year of 2010/2011 she was associate teacher at this same school for the Master’s degree in contemporary choreography, lecturing at the new technologies workshop. In 2008 she enrolled again in Middlesex University as a research student for PhD (awarded in January 2016), funded by the Portuguese branch of Gulbenkian Foundation (2008/2010) and by the Foundation for Science and Technology in Portugal from 2011.

For the Portuguese newspaper Público she wrote dance reviews between 2004 and 2016. In February 2012 Editora Caleidoscópio published Dançar é Crescer a book about the work of choreographer Aldara Bizarro and Project Respira. She has also published occasionally with other editors (European Festivals Association 2015, Companhia Paulo Ribeiro 2015, Alkantara 2010, Daniel Tércio 2009, Obscena 2008 and 2010, Animated 2004).

During 2004-07 she has worked at the Institute for the Arts of the Portuguese Ministry of Culture as a dance consultant. Between 2008 and 2014, she directed Dansul – a network dance project in the southeast of Portugal, offering classes, workshops, performances and choreographic research to the local population.


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