Cherish Menzo

Cherish Menzo (°1988, The Netherlands) is a choreographer and dancer, who lives in Brussels and Amsterdam. In 2013 she graduated from The Urban Contemporary (JMD) at the ‘Hogeschool voor de Kunsten’ in Amsterdam.

After her graduation Cherish has appeared in the work of Lisbeth Gruwez (THE SEA WITHIN), Jan Martens (THE DOG DAYS ARE OVER, ANY ATTEMPT WILL END IN CRUSHED BODIES AND SHATTERED BONES), Nicole Beutler (6: THE SQUARE), as well as collaborations with the likes of Akram Khan, Ula Sickle, Olivier Dubois and Eszter Salamon. Her powerful movement language also comes into its own in her own work, which tours internationally.

In 2016, she and Nicole Geertruida made EFES, an exhausting duet in which perfection and fallibility raise intriguing questions about how we like to see human beings. Sorry, But I Feel Slightly Disidentified… (2018), a solo made by Benjamin Kahn for (and with input from) Cherish, was an attempt to create a cartography of how we experience and meet the other. The seeds for this production were laid within the framework of Fraslab, after which an artistic dialogue between Cherish and Frascati Producties was initiated. Hereafter, Cherish made LIVE (2018), a cross between dance performance and pop/rock concert in collaboration with musician Müşfik Can Müftüoğlu.

In 2019 Cherish worked at Frascati Producties on JEZEBEL, a dance performance inspired by the phenomenon Video Vixen from the hip-hop clips of the 90s. Jezebel, a contemporary hip-hop honey, refuses to be defined by others and shakes off her image by deconstructing and redefining it. JEZEBEL was nominated for the Prijs van de Nederlandse Dansdagen, Amsterdam Fringe and International Bursary Award, the BNG Bank Theaterprijs and selected for both the Theaterfestival in Flanders and its Dutch counterpart. Since the premiere Cherish has been working with both Frascati Producties and GRIP.

In May 2022, during Kunstenfestivaldesarts in Brussels, her newest performance DARKMATTER premiered, a duet in which she and Camilo Mejía Cortés, with the help of the distorted rap choir, search for ways to detach their bodies and the daily reality in which they move from a forced perception. In the context of DARKMATTER, Cherish also gives workshops on the chopped & screwed technique, a process from hip-hop music that Cherish applies to the moving and performing body in the performance. DARKMATTER was selected for both the Belgian Theaterfestival and its Dutch counterpart. Cherish Menzo won with DARKMATTER  the BNG Bank Theater Prize (2023) and the VSCD award for best direction (2023).

Cherish is currently working on FRANK (premiering May 2025). In continuation of JEZEBEL and DARKMATTER, in FRANK, distortion will once again be one of the main ingredients to generate material. In addition, Cherish will look into the action of decay and discover how something gradually breaking down and getting less or worse can be another attempt to distort a form or information.

In her work, Cherish mainly looks at how the body can transform itself on stage and physically represent different ideas. She often uses images that seem recognizable at first glance, but by subsequently underlining the complexity and contradictory nature of what is presented, she generates new forms that also bring new connotations. Her play is characterized by a continuous fluidity to which the – literal and figurative – image formation is subject. Menzo seeks out new forms of movement and being, while placing beauty and the grotesque on an equal footing. She consciously seeks out the alienating effect that results from this in order to guide both the viewer and herself away from the known. Away from the familiar that we sometimes too easily equate with ‘the (only) truth’.

Cherish is a GRIP artist since 2020.

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