“Keep It Real is shameless and straightforwardly queer. A post-feminist influenza, highly contagious that can cause enjoyment. The protagonist cyborg-bitches tease the thin border between fiction and reality, and their bitch magic goes overboard contaminating everything around them.
Zombies and cyborgs seem utterly human and these queer bodies possess dangerous political possibilities, but what is their power inside the theatre machinery? The glittery skin of the bitches becomes a screen, and changes the see-through texture of the pretended real authenticity of the discourse. The effect is queering the queer and an anti-show show.” Sergiu Matis
The three dancers are already on the stage: lasciviously stretched out on the floor the athletic body of Corey Scott-Gilbert and slinky leaning against a side wall Maria Walser, while the choreographer and third dancer Sergiu Matis introduces the sparseness of their glittery outfit to the audience.
What in the beginning seems to be pants later becomes obvious fake, quite literally reflecting projected assumptions. Get over your irritation, get glittery and enjoy it, is the message with which the dance piece ‘Keep it real’ welcomes you.
And even if these painted glitter pants that two of the dancers wear cause some curiosity from some on viewers in the beginning, they contribute an integral affective aspect for the show. It is a sensual rather than voyeuristic nakedness that is displayed, one that also does not eroticize the show explicitly. This becomes especially obvious when the one dancer, dressed with real pants – a fact that is ironically announced as due to budget limitations – activates his potential of alluring gestures and poses.
But it starts slow. Small movements, abrupt stopping, walk over to new positions, repetitions that get into stuttering loops. This element especially takes over in the second part of the piece, when also language comes into play again. For the moment it is mostly body parts that show off their ability to move singular and on their own, may it be solely the biceps muscle or a single butt cheek. Further on movements stop half-way down or up, get repeated and finally resolve. Finger scratching, or a hand rubbing on stone as well as the sound of a bumping torso against the wall make use of the stage confinements. The body always returns to routines, that the body enjoys, a fact that especially dancer are aware of, will later be mentioned as a movement pattern.
Before that comes the glitter, and with it ‘things get messy’ state the dancers. Though what follows is in fact a beautiful ‘showering’ of each of the three performers in glitter blowing air fountains: ‘GLITTER heals you! GLITTER queers you!’ This queering of their bodies ends with a slight glitter attack on the audience. ‘CONTAMINATION, right?’ Usually glitter bombing in the US is sometimes deployed on homophobic politicians. As the piece was announced as shameless and straightforwardly queer none of the audience should have been offended by any of the content or moves.
In ‘Keep it real’ glitter is supposed to return the alienating look and turn it around into a reflecting one. The bodies now shiny from head to toe become zombie like machineries, interrupting their movements even further. Simultaneously stuttering their texts, that even dissipates into singing (Maria Walser). Movement and sound become increasingly rhythmic, a door is banged repeatedly, it is a coming and going, a stop and go in movement and language patterns. It plays with reminiscences and associations like the artist’s usages of stage entrances as ‘in through the back door’.
The piece ends with an absurd body displacement along the ground, a concert of bodies scrubbing across the ground. Each dancer lies on her back, arms above the head on the ground and pushes forward. A meandering movements running through their torsi pushing them forward with a smacking noise, a move that literally makes them grind their bodies towards the audience.
‘Keep it real’ is an affective intelligent piece that is fun to watch even if not all of the language parts like the capitalism critique had enough space to unfold. And it was good that way – not all has to be packed into one. There is certainly more to come from Sergiu Matis and his dancers worth to be waiting for. Well, maybe not for everyone as some audience members were eager to leave as soon as possible despite the deserved repeated applause callings.