Cherish Menzo / Frascati Producties / GRIP i.s.m. De Coproducers
Tue 24 May ’22 - Sat 17 Feb ’24
In a futuristic universe, Cherish Menzo transforms the black body through a powerful language of dance.
Tue 24 May ’22
Sat 17 Feb ’24

In D̶A̶R̶K̶MATTER, Cherish Menzo and Camilo Mejía Cortés go in search of ways to soak their bodies free from an imposed perception. Embedded prejudices are plucked apart in a futuristic environment: the D̶A̶R̶K̶MATTER universe. To do so, they look partly to space: to dark matter and black holes that meet and clash, and from which a new, (Afro)futuristic, strange body can be born.

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

In D̶A̶R̶K̶MATTER, Cherish Menzo (JEZEBEL, 2019) and Camilo Mejía Cortés pull seemingly recognisable images apart and knead these into a language of dance and movement entirely their own. Travel to the jet-black, punky, alienating D̶A̶R̶K̶MATTER universe where the possibilities of the body are stretched to the max. Against an apocalyptic jungle backdrop with a cinematic soundtrack, dark but stunningly beautiful play unfolds with a hypothetical body.

For DARKMATTER, Menzo draws on hip hop and rap culture, post-humanism and Afrofuturism; a movement oriented towards a future where Black people live in a hyper-technologized, decolonised world. Or one where colonisation never occurred.  

To create her universe, Menzo took inspiration from space. From dark matter, where stars and black holes meet and collide. It is from these collisions that a new, mysterious, (Afro)futurist body arises. This is where a new language of movement can be developed.

As in her previous project JEZEBEL, Menzo stretches her language of movement by applying the Chopped & Screwed method. Chopped & Screwed is a remix technique within hip hop music that involves radically slowing the tempo. In D̶A̶R̶K̶MATTER, Menzo adapts this method for movement and dance.    

In Amsterdam and Brussels, the locations of the two premières, at the end of a two-day workshop with the Distorted Rap Choir trained there, a rap anthem has been recorded and integrated into the production. The various choirs can be seen and heard at www.distortedrapchoir.com

  • Duration: 80 mins
  •  NL premiere: May 25, 2022
  •  Thu Jan 5 & Fri Jan 6 2023 part of the We Are Public-programme
  •  N.B.: this production makes use of stroboscope / lighting effects
  • This performance is part of Afrovibes Festival 2023
  • sa 7 oct 23:00 - 01:00 Afterparty with DJ Zouflebouf


concept and choreography Cherish Menzo creation and performance Cherish Menzo and Camilo Mejía Cortés lighting design Niels Runderkamp musical composition Gagi Petrovic and Michael Nunes mastering Gagi Petrovic scenography Morgana Machado Marques vocal and delivery coaching BOИSU and Shari Kok-Sey-Tjong costume design JustTatty.com dramaturgy Renée Copraij and Benjamin Kahn text Cherish Menzo, Camilo Mejía Cortés, BOИSU, Shari Kok-Sey-Tjong artistic advice Christian Yav and Nicole Geertruida technicians Niels Runderkamp and Amber Stallenberg/ Nele Verreyken voices DISTORTED RAP CHOIR www.distortedrapchoir.com production Frascati Producties, GRIP international distribution A Propic – Line Rousseau, Marion Gauvent, Lara van Lookeren coproduction De Coproducers (NL), 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), Beursschouwburg (Brussels, BE), Festival d’Automne à Paris (FR), Perpodium (Antwerp, BE)  in cooperation with Trill (Leuven, BE), WijzijnDOX (Utrecht, NL) residences STUK (Leuven, BE), La Villette, Paris (FR), Frascati (Amsterdam, NL), Beursschouwburg (Brussel, BE), CCN-Ballet national de Marseille dans le cadre de l’accueil studio / Ministère de la Culture (FR) with financial support from 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



 The press on D̶A̶R̶K̶MATTER

"D̶A̶R̶K̶MATTER is a punky performance, a trip full of mystery and symbolism. Dark in its consistency, light at the end of the tunnel." Theaterkrant

"Whether they are tottering on their stiletto latex boots or slithering naked through black paint, the pair surprise with powerful images after every black-out. Thanks to the daring lighting design, the terrifying soundtrack and the oppressive rap songs spat out live by Menzo and Cortés, Darkmatter is not only a fascinating descent into that heart of darkness that lurks within each of us, but also a poetic critique of representation that celebrates the richness of being black."  De Standaard 

"The rather abstract stacking of (pop) cultural approaches from the black community seems to mainly be an attempt to show how the experienced materiality of black bodies, in the light of a temporal recalcitrance that runs parallel to the scratching of a record, can break open the blackness of a dark past." Etcetera 

“In ‘D̶A̶R̶K̶MATTER’, dancer and choreographer Cherish Menzo crashes, with Camilo Mejia Cortès, into the invisible boundaries that restrict the (black) body. The hip hop culture of the ’90s and the fantasy images of Afrofuturism are her tools.” Pzazz

About Cherish Menzo

Cherish Menzo is a performer and performance-maker based in Amsterdam. In her artistic work, she is interested in the transformation of the body on stage and in the "embodiment" of various physical images. At first sight these seem unrecognisable, but by stressing their complexity and contrariness, Menzo questions the seeming norm. In her work, she creates a universe centred around the black body. She meanders between the nostalgia of the 90s and 2000s (hip hop, rap texts, sci-fi, manga) and speculative futures. 

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