Seating Choice at Down To Earth Was Strategic and Turned Out To Be a Crucial Part of The Performance Piece

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The audience was asked to come down to earth and sit on the floor across the stage as opposed to taking a seat on the chair as we expected to. Once the show started the close proximity to the stage with our eye-level-to-performer’s-waist-line level to the performer’s naked bodies took the unsuspecting audience members by surprise. Even, for a second, I was embroiled in a predicament of: do I cover this show or not? If I do cover it, that will require me to take images and videos. Will I look like a pervert for doing my work? Did I miss the disclaimer that stated no photography and videos for this particular show? Turned out I was over thinking it all. Once I got past the nude bodies, which happened very fast, I enjoyed the show for what it was and its choice of wardrobe. Needless to say, the male naked bodies winging and dangling must have challenged male hetero-normativity if there was any in the hall.  Down To Earth is a dance performance piece that was presented by the National Arts Festival Arena programme and Business And Arts South Africa (BASA) co-produced by University Of Johannesburg Arts & Culture And Tanzfabrik Berlin Of Afriartik’s. Performed by the Queer activist choreographers & performance artist Kieron Jina (South Africa) & his German colleague Marc Philipp Gabriel.

“Down To Earth is a whirling dance of constructed identities shaped by increasingly complex constellations that go beyond the universal social interrogation of ‘where are you from?’ and ‘what do you do?’. Existing examples of socially coded dance, music, and cultural artefacts collide until alien identities are born and shattered on stage, drawing on the human body as a projection canvas. What agency do we really have in rupturing our identities? Kieron Jina (South Africa) & Marc Philipp Gabriel (Germany) have worked together since 2013. Sound composer Yogin Sullaphen (South Africa) joins them in his production.”

Music & Sound Composer: Yogin Sullaphen (South Africa). Lighting:  Gretchen Blegen (USA/Germany). Design & Set: Marie Fricout (France/ South Africa.  Set Assistance:  Liselotte Singer (France/ Germany)

Watch a clip from the show here:  on According To Jerri YouTube Channel. Subscribe to the channel so you never miss a thing!