Body can you become hypothetical, a galaxy, in full gear acceleration, a liquid star monster, failing to die?
In DARKMATTER , Cherish Menzo and her onstage partner Camilo Mejía Cortés look for ways to detach their bodies from the way they are perceived and the daily reality in which they move. Among other things, they look up to the sky, at dark matter and at black holes that meet and collide to give birth to a new, (afro)futuristic and enigmatic body.
DARKMATTER wants to get rid of the biased way of looking at one’s own body, at that of the other, and at the stories we attribute to them. Together, they throw their bodies into a complex conversation that they want to both enter into and transcend – a duality that feeds the performance.
Having the desire to bring multiple voices to the audience, Menzo forms in every city the performance is shown a Distorted Rap Choir, inviting people from the African diaspora to record a rap anthem that becomes part of the performance. By layering the different local Distorted Rap Choir-recordings the choir grows in number of voices during the tour.
Just as in her previous project JEZEBEL, presented in Moving in November 2022, Menzo stretches her movement language further by applying the Chopped and Screwed method to her movement language – a remix technique from hip-hop music in which the tempo is sharply reduced. By stretching the notions of time, the register changes and the performing body manages to generate new readings.
DARKMATTER reshuffles our atoms, looking for a new form for – and a way of looking at – our body and the complex outside world to which it relates.
The performance is part of Moving in November festival 2-12.11.2023. As part of the festival, there will be an open discussion with Menzo and local host called Soup Talk on the 12th of November at noon in Caisa.
Venue: Stoa, Turunlinnantie 1, 00900 Helsinki
Date & Time: 11.11.2023 at 19.00 and 12.11.2023 at 19.00
Soup Talk 12.11. at 12:00
Buy Tickets 17,50 € / 33,50 €
Duration: 85 min
Please note: Stroboscope effects are used in this performance and there are 3 extensive black-outs. The music in this work can be perceived as intensive, earplugs are at your disposal. You will encounter nude bodies on stage.
Accessibility: Stoa is fully accessible.
For further information about accessibility please visit the Stoa website.
For any questions please contact the Stoa doormen: + 358 (0)40 160 3755
About the artists
Cherish Menzo is known for her commanding and precise physical presence, both as dancer and choreographer. She completed her studies in Urban Contemporary Dance at Amsterdam University of the Arts in 2013. Since then, she has collaborated with artists such as Eszter Salamon, Akram Khan, Leo Lerus, Hanzel Nezza, Olivier Dubois, Benjamin Kahn, Lisbeth Gruwez, Jan Martens, and Nicole Beutler. In addition to her career as a performer, Menzo has been creating her own works since 2016.
Menzo challenges societal norms and constructs alternative worlds where the black body takes center stage. Her first solo piece, JEZEBEL, was premiered in 2019 and received both the Amsterdam Fringe Award and the International Bursary Award. Cherish Menzo is one of the four artistic leaders of the dance organization GRIP, together with Femke Gyselinck, Jan Martens and Steve Michel.
Camilo Mejía Cortés grew up in Cali, Colombia, and moved to Spain at 14. He received dance education in Barcelona and then joined the Salzburg Experimental Academy of Dance. He participated in various productions including Sound of the Trap by the Bodhi Project and Cecilia Bengolea, and L’incoronazione di Poppea directed by Jan Lauwers, who later invited him to join Needcompany, where he performed in War and Turpentine, Isabella’s Room, All the good, and PIE (Probabilities of Independent Events). Since May 2022, Cortés has been touring internationally with D̶A̶R̶K̶MATTER.
Currently, Cortés is working on a personal project that explores the influence of salsa music on his artistic discourse. He delves into the artistic, socio-political, and spiritual aspects of this genre to contribute to the archive of the experiences of the African Diaspora.
Concept and choreography: Cherish Menzo
Creation and performance: Camilo Mejía Cortés & Cherish Menzo
Lighting design: Niels Runderkamp
Musical composition: Gagi Petrovic, Michael Nunes
Mastering: Gagi Petrovic
Music list: via www.grip.house or www.frascatitheater.nl
Scenography: Morgana Machado Marques
Costume design: JustTatty.com
Dramaturgy: Renée Copraij, Benjamin Kahn
Text: Cherish Menzo, Camilo Mejía Cortés, BOИSU, Shari Kok-Sey-Tjong
Vocal and delivery coaching: BOИSU, Shari Kok-Sey-Tjong
Artistic advice: Christian Yav, Nicole Geertruida
Voices distorted rap choir: via www.distortedrapchoir.com
Technicians: Niels Runderkamp, Amber Stallenberg/Nele Verreyken
Production: GRIP, Frascati Producties
International distribution: A Propic – Line Rousseau, Marion Gauvent, Lara van Lookeren
Premiere: 12-15 May 2022, Beursschouwburg/Kunstenfestivaldesarts Brussels
Coproduction: Kunstenfestivaldesarts (Brussels, BE), CCN-Ballet national de Marseille dans le cadre de
l’accueil studio / Ministère de la Culture (FR),actoral festival (Marseille, FR), STUK (Leuven, BE), La
Villette (Paris, FR),Festival d’Automne à Paris (FR), Beursschouwburg (Brussels, BE), De Coproducers(NL),
Residencies: STUK (Leuven, BE), La Villette (Paris, FR), Frascati (Amsterdam, NL), Beursschouwburg
(Brussels, BE), CCN-Ballet national de Marseille dans lecadre de l’accueil studio / Ministère de la Culture
(FR), Productiehuis TheaterRotterdam (NL)
In collaboration with: Trill (Leuven, BE), WijzijnDOX (Utrecht, NL)
With the financial support of: the Flemish Government, The Performing Arts Fund NL, Ammodo, Tax Shelter of the Belgian Federal Government, Cronos Invest
Thanks to: Eric Cyuzuzo, Jan Fedinger, Dries Douibi, Khadija El Kharraz Alami
Visit supported by: The Finnish Cultural Institute for the Benelux, the Flemish Government
Photo: Bas de Brouwer
Visit in collaboration: Stoa
This performance is part of the Flemish Focus within Moving in November
About the Distorted Rap Choir
In DARKMATTER, Cherish searches for what might be new strategies and ways to transform the body and bring physicality to matter. For this she researches dark matter, Afrofuturism and Posthumanism, and also looks at the frictions these notions bring along.
She uses the Chopped and Screwed-methodology to shape a movement language specific to the DARKMATTER universe. This remixing technique Chopped and Screwed originated in hip-hop music, slowing down the tempo considerably and creating rhythm changes. The song gets a new “chopped” and “screwed” version through scratch effects, pauses, repeats, remixes, and skipping beats.
Cherish applies these tools and electronic music to movement, voice, and the body. Well-recognised sounds, images, and movements are sampled and shaken up, slowed down, and alienated on stage.
Having the desire to bring multiple voices to the audience, Cherish works with the Distorted Rap Choir: a locally formed choir of participants (the workshop is open for professionals and amateurs).
During the labo-workshop you will get to know the chopped & screwed methodology and learn a rap anthem by Cherish Menzo and vocal coach Daniel Bonsu. At the end of two days the rap anthem will be audio recorded.
On the one hand, the audio recording will be integrated in the soundscape of the performance.
On the other hand, the recording and your picture will be part of the website www.distortedrapchoir.com, that is visible for the audience of the performance DARKMATTER through a QR code in the evening program.
In each city a new locally formed Distorted Rap Choir is formed. Each recording of the rap anthem by the Distorted Rap Choir joins the previous ones. By layering the different local Distorted Rap Choir-recordings the choir grows in number of voices during the tour.
Profile of the Distorted Rap Choir participants
As a part of the search of the project DARKMATTER, the team looks into opening an ongoing dialogue about representation of the Black body in the performing arts with the local participants of the Distorted Rap Choirs.
Therefor we invite a variety of people from the African diaspora with different backgrounds and ages (16+) who are interested in joining the search for other stories and embodiments of the (Black) human body. We highly also encourage for people without an artistic profession or background to join.
The labo-workshop takes place between November 8 – 12 in cultural center Stoa in Itäkeskus (registration now closed).
The participation in the labo-workshop is free of charge and includes the visit of the performance DARKMATTER.
For the recording of the rap anthem and the use of it in the performance and on the website you receive a fee of 60 EUR.
The common language will be English.
The workshop is organized by Moving in November within the frame of European Network Project Life Long Burning – Futures Lost and Found, funded by Creative Europe 2023-2026.