Claudio Bernardo was born in Fortaleza in Brazil. At the age of 15 he started studying dance in Sao Paulo, then in Rio de Janeiro. In 1986 he entered the Mudra school, directed by Maurice Béjart. The same year he presented in Brussels, Cannes, Kinshasa and Castiglioncello his first choreography: Vita Nostra. The next year he danced with Maurice Béjart’s company based in Lausanne, while continuing his own creative work. During this time he won the Philip Morris Jury prize in a competition for young choreographers for his second creation, Cain.
Returning to Belgium in 1989, he danced for Frédéric Flamand, and began a residence at Théâtre les Tanneurs (Atelier Sainte Anne) with choreographers Nicole Mossoux, Patrick Bonté, José Besprosvany and Jacopo Godani, during which time he concentrated on creating choreography. Within the context of the Festival Bruxelles Central, Usdum, received the SACD prize, while Raptus, created in 1992 won the main prize at the Festival Expérimental in Cairo.
At this point he started to work on a triptych inspired by the relation between woman and absent love, and began to introduce text into his choreographies. The first part of the triptych – Dilatatio – questions ecstasy and hysteria through the character of Saint Teresa d’Avila. The second part – La Voix Humaine – was inspired by the piece by Jean Cocteau. The third part, Systole, is a portrait of Frida Kahlo breaking limits between the abstract and figurative and exposing the victorious or devastated body on forefront.
It was in 1995 that Claudio Bernardo founded his company, As Palavras. A retrospective, with Usdum, Vas and Histoire de Sel was held at Théâtre les Tanneurs, where he also presented Géométrie de l’Abîme.
In June 1997, he infiltrated the green houses and the two main halls of Botanique in Brussels, within the context of “La Fiesta” and created Le Jardin des Graves and des Aigus, with Ingrid Von Wantoch Rebowski.
In September 1997, As Palavras benefitted from its first structural subsidy and another residency in Mons. Two years later La Machine à Eau was proposed to him as a place of residency in Mons. At this time he created Systole, the last part of his triptych. This was followed by a series of creations: La Jeune Fille et la Mort, In-qui-es-tude, Incandescência.
While being an associated artist at the Centre Culturel Transfrontalier, La Manège-Mons, he offered, along with his creations, many outreach workshops in contemporary dance.
He also organized, in 1999, a symposium about dance and more specifically the manner in which to teach it, think of it, write about it and see it evolve. It was out of this context that the first edition of the Festival Le Mouvement-Mons came into being.
From 2001 to 2008 he presented successively: Le Sacre-O Sacrificio inspired by Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, Sketches For (My Sacred Heart the Drunk), Paixao, Off Key, The Waves, Scary Faces, The Library E.M.D.P, Identificazione Di una Donna and A Hora da Estrela.
His creation L’Assaut des Cieux (2009) is a parable about the human condition, for six performers and a lyrical singer, mixes circus-arts, dance and theatre and has been a resounding success, earning the critic’s prize for best performance of the season 2009-2010.
In 2011, he made No Coração da Tempestade, a piece inspired by Shakespeare’s The Tempest, created in Brazil with the 27 dancers of Balé Teatro Castro Alves (Salvador). This piece has been presented within the context of The Europalia Festival Brazil, in Mons, Brussels and Liege in November and December. It has been a big hit with audiences.
In 2012 the duo Usdum was initially programed in the Bienal Internacional de Dança “De Par em Par” in Ceará (Brazil), then in Théâtre de la Place in Liège. The solo Identificazione Di Una Donna (2009) was also programmed in the Festival Panorama SESI de Dança in Sao Paulo. Master classes in choreographic composition and repertory for professional dancers were given at the Vila das Artes (Fortaleza, Brazil) and served as ground for exploration of Só20, a solo that examines the creative process and more generally memory.
En 2013, he creates for the Paracuru Cia de Dança in Brasil Parabach, a choreographic creation for six dancers which has been presented in Fortaleza in June at Teatro Dragão do Mar and in October at the Bienal Internacional de Dança do Ceará. Usdum is danced again in October in the festival TorinoDanza in Torino (Italy) and at Théâtre Varia (Bruxelles), for six presentations. Straight after, Claudio Bernardo has been awarded for the “entirety of his work” by the Divine Académie Française des Arts, Lettres et Culture. In November, Só20 is created in Belgium during the Biennale Internationale of Charleroi-Danses, in Belgium.
In 2014, Usdum has been presented in January at the Centre Culturel of Dilbeek (Belgium), Só20 in February during the Festival Pays de Danse at the centre culturel d’Engis. From 13-14 September, Faust has been presented at the Bicentenaire2014, in the area of Neuchâtel (Switzerland). From 2-11 October, Só20 and L’assaut des cieux have been programmed together in a composed evening at Théâtre Varia. From 25-29 November, Só20 was at Théâtre de Liège and in February 2015 at Festival « On y danse » in Paris, at the Centre Wallonie-Bruxelles. Faust was at Centre Culturel des Riches-Claires in Brussels in February.
In 2015 the publication “Ecrire le Geste – Writing the Gesture” has been published by the Editions Alternatives Théâtrales. This exceptional project draws the history of the company with several pictures, texts, images, notes and correspondences by the choreographer himself. The movie Mãos has been presented at the Breaking8 film Festival in Sardinia (Italy), the ScreenDance Festival in Stockholm (Sweden) and the Moving Images Film Festival in Nicosia (Cyprus). Só20 has been dansed at the Festival FIND – Festival Internazionale de Nuova Danza in Italy.
In 2016, Só20 has been presented during the Festival d’Avignon at the CDC les Hivernales. In November 2016, the latest creation of the Company, Giovanni’s Club, has premiered at Théâtre Varia and has then been presented at Théâtre de Liège in December 2016. It is a creation for seven performers approaching the topics of modern masculinity and virility.
The new creation, Apoxyomenos, will be presented in the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb in October 2017 and in Festival Pays de Danses (Liège) in February 2018, and is a collaboration between Claudio Bernardo, the dancers of the Ballet of the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb and Théâtre de Liège.