D̶A̶R̶K̶MATTER (2022)

Cherish Menzo & GRIP & Frascati Producties

Body can you become hypothetical, a galaxy, in full gear acceleration, a liquid star monster, failing to die?

In her new creation, 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.

Just as in her previous project, JEZEBEL, Menzo stretches her movement language further by applying the 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.

Parallel to the performance there will be Distorted Rap Choirtrajectory. At each location, a dozen local people of colour are invited to take part in lab-workshops working on themes from DARKMATTER. At the end of the lab-workshop the choir will record a rap anthem, which will be integrated into the performance. On every location a new choir and therefore also an extra layer will be added.

DARKMATTER wants to create a thorough reshuffle of our atoms, looking for a new form for – and way of looking at – our body and the complex outside world to which it relates.

The different choirs can be seen and heard onwww.distortedrapchoir.com
Music and text credits via >this link<

‘This performance makes you rabidly want to see everything from – and know about – Cherish Menzo […]. She blurs lines, makes our eyes bulge. She is fascinating in her thinking and in its translation to the stage. To follow very, very closely.’ – Amélie Blaustein Niddam, Toute La Culture, 14 may 2022

‘The somewhat abstract accumulation of (pop) cultural approaches to the black community thus seems primarily a toss-up about how the lived materiality of black bodies, in the face of a temporal unruliness parallel to the scratching of a record, can break up the darkness of a dark past.’ – Tessa Vannieuwenhuyze, Etcetera, 15 may 2022

‘Cherish Menzo and Camilo Mejia Cortés are impressive from start to finish, with their presence, their gestures, their looks, the way they stand on stage and their mastery of flow every time the poetic rap makes its appearance.’ – Jean-Marie Wynants, Le Soir, 15 may 2022

‘D̶A̶R̶K̶MATTER is a punky performance, a trip full of mystery and symbolism. Dark in its consequence, light at the end of the tunnel.’ – Moos van den Broek, Theaterkrant, 16 may 2022

‘Whether teetering on their stiletto latex boots or slipping naked through black paint, the duo surprises with powerful images after each blackout. Thanks to the bold lighting design, chilling soundtrack and haunting rap songs that Menzo and Cortés spit out live, Darkmatter becomes not only a fascinating descent into the heart of the darkness that lurks within us all, but also a poetic critique of representation that celebrates the richness of being black.’ ★★★★ – Charlotte De Somviele, De Standaard, 16 may 2022

PREMIERE 12-15 May 2022, Beursschouwburg/Kunstenfestivaldesarts Brussels 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
DRAMATURGY: Renée Copraij, Benjamin Kahn
TEXT: Cherish Menzo, Camilo Mejía Cortés, BOИSU, Shari Kok-Sey-Tjong
ARTISTIC ADVICE: Christian Yav, Nicole Geertruida
VOICES DISTORTED RAP CHOIR: via www.distortedrapchoir.com
– Act I of the American Opera ‘Troubled Island’ by William Grant Still (1949) – ‘BLACKSPACE: ON THE POETICS OF AN AFROFUTURE’
– ‘The Mask’ by Paul Laurens Dunbar
– Choreography from the Missy Elliot’s video clips ‘Throw it back’ (2019). (If you are the choreographer or the rights holder, please contact GRIP so that we can mention you correctly.)
– The Mythology of the American electronic music duo Drexciya
TECHNICIANS: Niels Runderkamp, Amber Stallenberg/ Sander Cools
PRODUCTION: GRIP, Frascati Producties
INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION: A Propic – Line Rousseau, Marion Gauvent, Lara van Lookeren
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), Perpodium (BE)
RESIDENCIERS: STUK (Leuven, BE), La Villette (Paris, FR), Frascati (Amsterdam, NL), Beursschouwburg (Brussels, BE), CCN-Ballet national de Marseille dans le cadre de l’accueil studio / Ministère de la Culture (FR), Productiehuis Theater Rotterdam (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


January 2023

18 DARKMATTER – Corrosia Theater, Almere (NL)
19 DARKMATTER – Corrosia Theater, Almere (NL)
28 DARKMATTER – Lux, Nijmegen (NL)

February 2023
3 DARKMATTER – Het Nationale Theater, Den Haag (NL)
4 DARKMATTER – Het Nationale Theater, Den Haag (NL)
11 DARKMATTER – Theater Kikker, Utrecht (NL)
12 DARKMATTER – Theater Kikker, Utrecht (NL)
17 DARKMATTER – Theater Ins Blau, Leiden (NL)
18 DARKMATTER – Theater Ins Blau, Leiden (NL)
24 DARKMATTER – Schuur, Haarlem (NL)
25 DARKMATTER – Schuur, Haarlem (NL)

March 2023
3 DARKMATTER – Theater Rotterdam, Rotterdam (NL)
4 DARKMATTER – Theater Rotterdam, Rotterdam (NL)
7 DARKMATTER – Theater aan de Rijn, Arnhem (NL)
8 DARKMATTER – Theater aan de Rijn, Arnhem (NL)
10 DARKMATTER – Verkadefabriek, Den Bosch (NL)
11 DARKMATTER – Verkadefabriek, Den Bosch (NL)
16 DARKMATTER – Zwolse Theaters, Zwolle (NL)
17 DARKMATTER – Zwolse Theaters, Zwolle (NL)
21 DARKMATTER – De Nieuwe Vorst, Tilburg (NL)
22 DARKMATTER – De Nieuwe Vorst, Tilburg (NL)
24 DARKMATTER – De Lieve Vrouw, Amersfoort (NL)
25 DARKMATTER – De Lieve Vrouw, Amersfoort (NL)

April 2023
19 DARKMATTER – Stuk, Leuven (BE)
20 DARKMATTER – Stuk, Leuven (BE)
29 DARKMATTER – Dansens Hus, Oslo (NO)
30 DARKMATTER – Dansens Hus, Oslo (NO)

Previous dates

May 2022
12 DARKMATTER – Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Beursschouwburg, BRUSSEL (BE) Premiere
13 DARKMATTER – Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Beursschouwburg, BRUSSEL (BE)
14 DARKMATTER – Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Beursschouwburg, BRUSSEL (BE)
15 DARKMATTER – Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Beursschouwburg, BRUSSEL (BE)
25 DARKMATTER – Frascati, AMSTERDAM (NL) NL premiere

July 2022
4 DARKMATTER – Festival Theaterformen, BRAUNSCHWEIG (DE) DE premiere
5 DARKMATTER – Festival Theaterformen, BRAUNSCHWEIG (DE)

August 2022
28 DARKMATTER – La Bâtie, GENÈVE (CH) CH première

September 2022
10 DARKMATTER – Short theatre, Rome (IT)
11 DARKMATTER – Short theatre, Rome (IT)
23 DARKMATTER – Festival Actoral, MARSEILLE (FR) FR première
24 DARKMATTER – Festival Actoral, MARSEILLE (FR)

November 2022
30 DARKMATTER – Schouwburg Kortrijk, Kortrijk (BE)

December 2022
6 DARKMATTER – Kunstencentrum Nona, Mechelen (BE)
7 DARKMATTER – Kunstencentrum Nona, Mechelen (BE)
14 DARKMATTER – Campo Nieuwpoort, Gent (BE)
15 DARKMATTER – Campo Nieuwpoort, Gent (BE)

For more information, press map, riders and financial conditions please contact Line Rousseau or Marion Gauvent


Photo: Yaqine Hamzaoui and Yema Gieskes