Maria João Costa Espinho were born in Espinho, Portugal, in 1979. They are a dancer, performer, choreographer and transdisciplinary artist and Scientist particularly interested in establishing relations between art science and philosophy.
They develop their work between Paris and Porto. They began their dance studies with Conchita Ramirez with the teaching program of the Royal Academy of Dance in 1984, and later joined the Research and Choreographic Creation Course of the Forum Dança 2003/2004.
At the same time, Maria João Costa Espinho carried out scientific studies, completed by a master's degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Porto – Erasmus Student in Paris Descartes University/ Sorbonne Paris Cité.
As a dancer, performer or choreographer, they collaborated with many choreographers, visual artists, theatre directors and film directors including Né Barros, Isabel Barros, Nigel Charnock, Joclécio Azevedo, Alberto Magno, Ana Figueira, Pedro Carvalho, Mathilde Monnier, Rui Horta, Javier de Frutus, Jamie Watton, Jaro Vinarsky, Peter Bebjack , Juraj Korec, Vera Mantero, Ana Borges,Tiago Rodrigues, Rogério Nuno Costa, Joana Antunes, Bruno Listopad, Yves Noel Genod, Mariana Tengner Barros, Abraham Hurtado, Davis Freeman, Meg Stuart, Benoît Lachambre, Victor Hugo Pontes, Teresa Prima, Catherine Bay, Célia Gondol, Regina Guimarães/ Saguenail, Tiago Veloso Dias, Pedro Ludgero, Ernesto de Melo e Castro, Lygia Pape and John Malkovich among others.
The beginning of their choreographic work dates back to 1997 with the choreography "Vivências" for Companhia de Dança de Aveiro, and later in 1999, with "7 dias e uma semana …" at the Teatro Municipal do Porto-Rivoli.
They participated as a guest choreographer at the Capitals-Encounters Acarte 2003 of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, where they presented the piece "Meeting Room".
Subsequently, are part of their creations: "Lilly 03" (2003); "EUS" (2004); "Peter 05" (2005); "Jo and Jo" (2007) and "Simon 06.07.08.09" (2009), presented at the Shorttheater Festival in Rome; "Anticorpo" (2009), solo created to the Culturgest Foundation, "Esboço" (2011) and "Monte" (2012), creation with the Community in the context of Guimarães 2012-European Capital of Culture part of the project "Fio Terra" by Joana Antunes.
Represented Portugal in the area of dance at the Biennial of Young Creators of Europe and the Mediterranean – Puglia 2008 and in Répèrages Danse à Lille in 2010 with the piece "Anticorpo".
Their most recent creations include "La Vie" (2014), "Je t'aime" (2016), duet presented at La Maison du Portugal – André de Gouveia in Paris, as well as "rEvolution" (2016).
Their work have been presented internationally, in addition to Portugal and France, in England, Turkey, Belgium, Brazil, Kosovo, Spain, Slovakia, Italy, Germany, Luxembourg and United States of America.
They received the prizes “Independent production” – 2005 from NEC – Núcleo de Experimentação Coreográfica of the city of Porto and the selection to “Jovens Criadores 2006” with the piece "Swap", creation in collaboration with the digital artists Rudolfo Quintas and Tiago Díonisio.
After an initial classical formation, Maria soon became interested in replacing dance in the field of experimentation and the Human, in addition to any formal consideration.
Permeable to the unexpected, to the present context, their choreographies are moments of sharing, within a community whose contours vary, from the dancers involved, but also the spectators, the space in a shared vibration. Their projects are built with input from the participants. Some take a definitive form, others continue to evolve in each presentation.
This permeability is found in the field of Maria João's current artistic interests; Their work is transdisciplinary, in relation to dance, image, drawing, voice and text. Influenced by science, as a tool to think the relation of the human being to the world and the cosmos. Their notion of "molecular dance" and the performative practice developed accurately reflects this continuum shared between the bodies of the dancers, their viewers, and the context.
This notion allowed Maria João to gradually invest in drawing, photography and poetic documentary film as other artistic mediums although in resonance with dance.
On another level, this sharing is found on the platform of meetings initiated by João/Maria João with their salabrancalab Porto/Paris whose "AREJAR", "Lepetitfestival- art, meeting, discourse and tenderness", "Danço Festival", "Lupa", "Collectionnoir", or "LUSO - Plataforma de Arte, Cultura e Língua Portuguesa" organized intermittently since 2003, allows artists of all disciplines to present, reflect and experiment their creations, with or without public, in different contexts. They develop a research and a book about the Violence and abuse of power in the European Dance field and the practices of curators and artistic directors in the dance field.
They also have been researching Cancer as an independent transdisciplinary Scientist after their studies at the university of Porto and Paris Descartes / Sorbonne Paris Cité