Portal Shades by Contact Dance Company Photos Emma Tranter (3).jpg

Photo by: Emma Tranter


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Photo by: Jean-Paul Caruana

“There are things we know, and there are things unknown and in between, there are doors” – A. Huxley. Portal Shades takes its inspiration from doorways and portals, that sparked concept and choreography director Francesca Abela Tranter’s imagination. This, coupled with Dante’s narrative tells the story of a journey from hell to paradise in search of the afterlife and Charles Paul Azzopardi’s photography on Maltese Doors. Four sections have been created in collaboration with four dancers and composer Christopher Benstead’s original score for this film. In ancient Egyptian architecture, a false door was considered a wall decoration that looked like a window; it was common in tombs and represented a gate to the afterlife. Dante’s journey in search of the afterlife 700 years later continues to be our human need in search for justice, power, peace and temperance. As the performer's journey outside these doors and portals, they explore what lies behind them.

Artistic Collaborators

Contact Dance Company

Francesca Abela Tranter

Christopher Benstead (UK)

Emma Megan Tranter

Jean Paul Caruana

9 November 2021




In Collaboration with


Francesca Abela Tranter is a researcher, choreographer, practitioner and interdisciplinary dance artist, trained in Malta and UK. She has been teaching dance extensively since 1981, in various dance academies and institutions locally and internationally.  In 2012 she graduated with a Master’s degree in Performance Dance Studies from the University of Malta.  In 1998 she founded Contact Dance Company as a springboard for her own choreographic research.  Her work has been presented in high profile theatres and platform festivals across the globe. In 2001 she founded Dance Hybrid Malta, an annual intensive programme for professional dance exploration. In 2011 she established Dance on the Move, master classes that host celebrated international teachers sharing work.  Francesca’s current research investigates the Legacy of Contemporary Dance in Malta, a chronological study of the events that impacted and influenced changes towards contemporary dance in Malta. She is currently assistant lecturer at the dance studies department (since 2010) University of Malta, artistic programmer Malta International Arts Festival platform (since 2014 ). Francesca is also preparing and heading the formation for a new dance festival in Malta that will be launched in 2021.


Videographer Jean Paul Caruana is an avid Content Creator driven by his passion for creativity. At an early age, he developed a passion for photography. this was sustained and developed through the numerous trips around the world with his father, a former tour leader. Jean started investing in his equipment refining his style which lead him to start experimenting in videography. He spent many summers shooting events which helped him develop his work. Every new opportunity pushes him to keep on growing in the field and producing more and more innovative content that stands out that recognises his work within this industry.


Emma Tranter graduated with a BSc (Hons) Business and Information Technology from the University of Malta. Her interests in the field of IT led her to specialise, graduating with an MSc in Cyber Security at the University of Birmingham. Emma’s interests in nature, dance and event photography gave her the opportunity to become versatile in her approaches with an artistic eye in capturing the essence of live performance. She was picked up by world-famous DJ duo, NERVO and later Sigala and Jamie Jones and Lucky Luciano, leading to her travelling around the globe documenting their journey and events. Apart from photography, she delved into the tour management side which gave her great insight into the music industry. Emma’s love for the performing arts encourages her to continue pursuing collaborative project opportunities in working in film direction and imagery, expanding her reach through the lens.


Composer Christopher Benstead has worked intensively in the world of dance and theatre for over thirty years, composing more than one hundred and fifty scores in a wide range of styles from full orchestral to chamber, choral and electronic. He has been commissioned to compose for, among others, Rambert Dance Company, English National Ballet, London Contemporary Dance Theatre, Cambridge Theatre Company, Royal Danish Ballet, Gothenburg Ballet, Nevada Dance Theatre, Freiburger Tanzteater, Ballet du Nord, Scottish Ballet, Amici Dance Theatre, Scottish Dance Theatre, Red Ladder Theatre Company, Gyori Ballet, Stopgap Dance Company, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Ballett Krefeld and BBC Radio and Television. He has created musical scores for large and small-scale dance and theatre companies, youth and community groups, radio, television, and film throughout the UK, in Europe, the Americas, the Far East and Africa. His work as composer for community projects has focused mainly on work with disadvantaged children across the globe, particularly in Cambodia with EPIC Arts, South Africa with the Austrian-based s2arch charity and in Mexico for the British Council. Most recently, he has been collaborating with theatre director Alan Lyddiard and The Performance Ensemble, creating work for people over the age of 60 in Leeds, UK. Christopher has produced and recorded a series of albums for dance teachers and is one of the UK’s most distinguished and experienced dance class accompanists. He is currently a part-time lecturer in music for dance at the London School of Contemporary Dance and the Rambert School and is working on a new orchestral score for a ballet company in Germany.