Resources > Alkantara
08 Sep 2010


Alkantara is a Lisbon-based arts association. They believe that the singular visions and explorations of artists can contribute to our shared reflections and to the development of more open, just, and attentive societies.

They encourage the porosity between artistic experimentation and contemporary debates. The projects they develop take dance, theatre, and live performance as their starting point, but they often draw from other artistic practices and areas of knowledge in order to bring different discourses and contexts into dialogue.

The Alkantara Association carries forth the legacy of Danças na Cidade, founded by dancer Mónica Lapa (1965-2001) in 1993. Danças na Cidade began as a dance platform. Its mission was to promote the work of the first generation of contemporary dance artists in Portugal, but the platform quickly evolved to become a dance festival of an international scale. In 2005, Danças na Cidade became Alkantara, formally embracing other disciplines in the performing arts and strengthening collaborations with the main performing arts venues in Lisbon. Alkantara, from the Arabic word meaning 'the bridge', repositions itself as a bridge-builder between artists, audiences, cultures, and artistic disciplines.

In addition to the Danças na Cidade festival (1993-2002) and Alkantara Festival (2006-), the association has developed significant international partnerships and projects. Many of these projects created contexts for artists to meet and exchange practices, as well as to create new work in collaboration. Alkantara has coproduced and presented performances on several continents. 

In 2007, the municipality of Lisbon granted Alkantara the use of the heritage building at 99 Calçada Marquês de Abrantes. Espaço Alkantara is the centre of the association's operations, with a year-round programme of arts residencies, informal showings, and training and research activities.