© Ivo Tavares Studio/Casa da Arquitectura / “Connecting…”, by Inês Freitas and Mor Yaron / Open House Porto 2023


FOCAR – Intensive Course in Choreography for Architecture is a program designed for creators in the field of dance, performance, architecture and other potential interested in exploring choreographic creation for informal, public, private and collective spaces. Althought the course’s headquarters will be at Instável – Choreographic Centre, classes and creation projects may take place outside and/or in collaboration with our partners, in their own locations, promoting the work outside the studio. Throughout the course, participants will approach fundamental subjects in dance, such as space, time and movement. However, the main focus shall be the impact and relevance of spatiality and architecture in choreographic creations.

© Joana Rodrigues / “As If”, created by Sacha Buskermolen and interpreted by FAÍCC and FOCAR 2021 / Percursos pela Arquitetura

Program and Tutors

The program follows a modular structure, being divided into three types of modules, which are:

Theory Modules, accompanied by architects, programmers and artists;
Practical Modules, conducted by different artists and tutors, who will share their own processes and methodologies;
Creative Development, which include research weeks for students’ creations with artistic counselling, and also the participation in creative processes of guest choreographers.

Each module shall be organised by the tutor in charge, regarding their own particularities, content and needs. Nevertheless, the course’s structure aims that the modules must be complementary and transversal, foreseeing the intersection between the contents of all the approached areas.

Each tutors will share their experiences, points of view, and singular creative processes in a constructive way. The vast number of tutors contributes to a broad pedagogic proposal, with the purpose of encouraging the research and experimenting with the creative identity of each participant.



In 2024, FOCAR will happen between April 29 and July 6, in Porto, for a total of 10 weeks.

Participants’ testemonies

Marcelle Gressier (FR)
“FOCAR provided me with great and important moments where it was possible for us to put to practice what we were learning and what the tutors were offering us. FOCAR inspired me to create for the public space and for the audience. It also made me want to create bridges between practice and theory.”

Joana Pinto (PT)
“Both FOCAR and FAÍCC seek to have tutors who are active at the moment – this, for me, is the best of both courses. These tutors allow the students to create a real and practical image of the current situation in Portugal. Also, the courses allow the participants to network, which, for me, is imperative.”

Giulia Romitelly (IT)
“I was fully satisfied with the investment I made to participate in FOCAR. I feel like it was the right step I needed to take in order to open to the exterior. It helped me in showing my ideas, communicating and sharing them, but it also gave me tools to receive and give feedback.”



In the first and only edition of FOCAR, the main partnerships were in collaboration with the Faculty of Architecture of the University of Porto and Casa da Arquitetura (Matosinhos), with the project “Percursos pela Arquitectura”, which translates into “Pathways Through Architecture” – a project of Instável that, since 1999 creates and presents work in informal spaces, made by invited artists that work form the characteristics of the presentation space (museums, gardens, technical areas of theatres, faculties, houses, and more).

Furthermore, the GDA Foundation has cooperated with Instável through the attribution of grants to Portuguese and foreign students whose legal address is in Portugal.
At last, these collaborations may differ from one edition of FOCAR to the next, since the partnerships and projects of Instável are fresh every year.

Previous editions

The 1st edition of FOCAR happened in 2021, being slightly affected by the governments restrictions due to the pandemic situation. In this sense, some modules of the course were adapted to fit the online format (mainly theory and practical-theory modules). On the other hand, some tutors chose to teach their modules outside.
Participants had the chance to create and present two different site-specific projects.

Course hours: 280 hours
Students: 9 students (1 Portuguese and 8 foreign)

Ana Figueira (PT) – Cultural Production (online) / Coaching
Ana Renata Polónia (PT) – Sharing
André Braga (PT) – Sharing
Bruno Costa e Daniel Vilar (PT) – Cultural Programming (online)
Catarina Campos (PT) – Sharing
Carla Barros (PT) – Cultural Programming (online)
Cláudia Figueiredo (PT) – Sharing
Cristina Grande (PT) – Cultural Programming
Daniela Cruz (PT) – Contemporary Dance/Coaching
João Mendes Ribeiro (PT) – Theory (online)
Joclécio Azevedo (PT) – Choreographic Composition / Coaching
Gabriela Vaz Pinheiro (PT) – Theory (online)
Gustavo Ciríaco (BRS) – Creative Process
Helder Seabra (PT) – Choreographic Composition
Henrique Pina (PT) – Theory (online)
Luís Mestre (PT) – Coaching (online)
Mafalda Mendonça (PT) – Theory (online)
Manolis Tsipos (GR) – Feedback Method (online)
Paulo Covas (PT) – Cultural Production (online)
Pedro Azevedo (PT) – Sharing (online)
Pedro Branco (PT) – Videodance
Pedro Prazeres (PT) – Sharing (online)
Rui Horta (PT) – Choreographic Composition
Sara Garcia (PT) – Sharing
Space Transcribers (PT) – Sharing
Vânia Rovisco (PT) – Creative Process

Collaborations with other institutions:
Municipal Theatre of Porto
Serralves Foundation (Porto)
Faculty of Architecture of the University of Porto
Casa das Artes (Porto)
Open House (Maia)

In this FAQ’s (frequently asked questions) tab you can find answers to questions you may have. For further clarifications send an email to: focar.program@gmail.com


I only intend to attend a certain period of FOCAR. Can I still sign up for it?
No, it is not possible to apply only to a part of the course. Even though the FOCAR has a modular structure, it was planned as one multidisciplinar and complete experience – one course and not a group of separated modules put together. Nevertheless, there are a couple of “open modules” – and, in those, there will be external students joining in.

Do I need to present a health certificate to participate?
We take your health very seriously and it is very important to know you are physically well and prepared for this intensive course. Besides your written confirmation (in the contract you will sign in the first day of classes), we highly request an official declaration of your doctor, saying you are (physically) able and healthy to join the program.
When the declaration and/or the results somehow show injuries or health issues that could really danger your health, we will strongly advise you not to participate in this edition. Note: We will not kick you out when you decide to stay and join the program despite our advice, but in that case we might let you sign a document, declaring you attend our program on your own responsibility.

Can I attend only a few modules of the course?
The course is one program, designed to be experienced as an all program. But, of course, you are free to skip classes. Please, keep in mind that, if you miss more than 50% of a module/subject, it won’t be referred in your diploma. During the course, there are a couple of “open modules” and for those (and only those) external students can apply.

How many presentations will we have throughout the course?
The amount of presentations is not fixed, it depends on each edition’s specific program and partnerships. In any case, the course always has a strong creation/ presentation dynamics, so the student can expect:
Up to 3 informal presentations (of their own creations done during research weeks);
At least 2 presentation of “Percursos”, a site-specific project connecting dance and architecture;
Up to 2 presentations/ creation process with a invited choreographer;
One final presentation of co-creations in a theatre (small stage)

Do students have any kind of assessment throughout the course?
The students will receive weekly feedback from the tutors. For us, positive, specific and individual feedback is the most important kind of assessment: the tutors are incentivized to use direct feedback as much as possible and also, after each module, to write a qualitative assessment. We also develop the feedback in between the work group, creating an interesting environment based on trust, respect and positiveness.
Students don’t receive quantitative feedback because we dont believe in a numerical bidimensional assessment.

Does the course provide accommodation and food?
No, but we can share with you information and contacts to help you with your search for accommodation and also give you some tips about the living cost in the city, including food expenses.

Does the course offer a certificate at the end?
Yes, each student can require a final certificate with all the completed modules. However, so that each module is included in the certificate, you must attend, at least, 50% of the module.

Can I apply for any scholarship?
Yes, if there is any available. In the past 6 years, Fundação GDA has been supporting Portuguese or students based in Portugal. Please contact us about this, if you are portuguese or resident in Portugal.
Also, if you intend to apply on your own for a scholarship (from your country, for example) we are happy to help you with it and we are available to send you any document you might need from the Company.

Can I use the course facilities for other activities?
Yes. After the classes, you can use the studios for rehearsals and research (but it has to be previously booked, so it is your responsibility to schedule the time you want with the person in charge).
Also, there are a few activities taking place at our facilities that you can attend, including regular dance classes twice a week.

How are the facilities of Instável and how can I have access to the studios?
Besides the office, there are two studios, a dressing room, a terrace and a common area. It is possible to have access to the studios and other facilities from 9am to 11pm, every day.

Where can I eat?
There are a few restaurants and supermarkets around Companhia Instável and also two student’s cafeterias a few minutes walking – at Architecture Faculty and at Planetário.
If you would prefer, you also have the option of bringing your own food and warm it up in our microwaves and you have space at Companhia Instável to eat.

What does a weekly schedule look like?
The regular schedule is from 9.30am until 3pm, from Monday to Friday.
Occasionally, there will be some weeks with a schedule until 6pm and, for presentation projects, there might be necessary to work/rehearse during the evening or at weekends.

Will there be online classes?
Depending on the pandemic situation, there may be. Besides that, the first two weeks are usually online, which will allow you to travel later to Porto.

What kind of professional experiences can I expect?
It depends on each edition’s specificities and partnerships, as well as the projects that are going on at Companhia Instável during your course. It also depends on the students availability, interest and, of course, if their profile fits what we are looking for projects we have in hand.
As the course was designed towards experimentation and professionalization, and the students can be invited to do small internships in some projects (both from Companhia Instável and from our partners), and some of them may be paid. Also, being daily at our studios where many residencies are taking place and having classes with very active creators/tutors, gives you the chance to get to know the “artistic tissue” of the city and it has happened that some students were directly invited to some projects with them.

Can I work as I am enrolled in FOCAR?
Yes, many students from FOCAR did that in the past editions.
We have to warn you, though, that it can be difficult for you to do night shifts and, in the modules with different schedules, it can be more challenging to conciliate. Also, keep in mind that, besides the actual classes, you will have time to research and work on your creations.

How do the facilities look like and when can I have access?
Lugar instável is the headquarters of Companhia Instável, that works as Choreographic – with many residencies, workshops and projects take place there.
Besides the team’s office, there are 2 studios, one collective dressing room (without shower), a rooftop, and a common area. It is possible to have access to the facilities daily from 9 am to 11 pm but, after the “office schedule” you need a permission to use it and to book a working schedule.

Where can I get more information about the program?
The Instável team is always available to answer any questions you might still have about the program and you can contact us through social media, email or phone calls.
However, we believe that the alumni, the ex-students of our training courses, are actually the ones that can give you the best information! We can provide some contacts and we often put candidates in contact with people that were in a similar situation.

What is the inscription fee?
The inscription fee covers administrative costs as well as the accident insurance. It gives us the information that you are actually planning to do the course – only after you proceed with the inscription payment, your vacancy in the program is guaranteed. If you are not sure you plan to do it, please, we suggest you to not proceed to this payment immediately, since this fee is not refundable.