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Recording: 2022-03-05 , Sophiensæle (Video © Bickmann & Kolde GbR)



Queer Darlings | Sophiensæle

Production Details / Press Releases

blackmilk:trompoppies is the first part of a trilogy titled trompoppies. Trompoppies is Afrikaans and describes drum majorettes performing a formation dance in uniform. blackmilk examines one of the choreographic elements of these dances: the precise hand gestures. By merging trompoppies movements with the melodramatic gestures of divas and the gestures associated with black male rap stars, the choreography investigates the distance between African and African American male identity. blackmilk invites a performative dimension into cultural representation of black masculinity and opens it up to a different complexity and sensitivity, which the artist describes as black male melancholia.

TIRAN is an artist, born in South-Africa, situated between Zürich and Berlin. His performance based practise explores the body inside an unimaginable environment. Using physical depth to create sonic images that deal with the construction of systems, creating experiences that communicate somatic and psychological landscapes beyond the human condition. He has worked and collaborated with Eszter Salamon, Jérôme Bel, Trajal Harrell, Meg Stuart, Ligia Lewis, Andros Zins-Browne, Dorota Gaweda & Eglé Kulbokaite, Price (Mattias Ringgenberg) and with Cullberg ballet under Deborah Hay and Jeftha Van Dinther.

Trompoppies represents a group of women marching towards a formation of constructions. Marches and parades have the potential to transform into a public and collective protest. I have always been fascinated by marches; by people walking towards ideas and futures; like gay parades, or as in the bible when an entire population took a long walk through an opening in the Red Sea, or walks on the catwalk; marching towards something promising, something beautiful.

Media images crucially influence my insights into the performativity of gender leading to the development of an obsession around images portraying and defining a so called “diva” (may it be a singer, actress or ballerina): a woman performing melancholic femininity and exposing her suffering and pain for the sake of the spectators enjoyment. I am interested in the re-presentation of nuanced movement, identity construction of femininity and the way the diva expresses their struggle in performance, dance, music and film. I want to research the female body and its exploitation through media over time as well as the influence this iconography had on me, my identity and movements as a black queer man. I wish to combine different concepts and images of “the diva” starting from movie references like the 1920s Metropolis by Fritz Lang, or film noir divas referencing jazz movements of for example the choreographer Bob Fosse and contemporary divas like Lana del Ray. I want to expose these varying concepts through small gestures, frantic, fast and subtle movements which form a language; the way they put their hair behind the ear, how one’s tears are falling from the eye, or how one performs holding a cigarette.

I am interested in the complexity of the image of the black man. I wish to open up queer identity construction and narratives of queerness by incorporating extreme performative structures of “feminine divas” with heavy rap gestures. I wish to explore the idea of black male melancholia and sadness, an image that hasn’t been exposed as broadly as the white melodramatic female character and her sadness. I’m aiming to expose a different sensitivity with the image of black male melancholia, to counteract the type of postcolonial horror black male identity has been linked with.

I wish to open up discussions of what it means to live as a black man from South Africa in the West where the perception of one’s body is indelibly marked by images linked to skin colour and gender. I am interested in performative movements of masculinity, i.e. rap gestures from Kanye West, and morphing these movements with the images of the diva, which we have seen embodied by figures such as Prince, Freddie Mercury and Larry B. Performative movements of masculinity and their influence on how my body is being read, will be put on display. I am interfering with concepts of femininity and masculinity by bridging them, in order to foreground the spaces between identity structures, pointing at the socio-political complexity of movement and space.

[Source: play bill]

TFB Nr. 1626

Cast & Credits

LIGHT DESIGN: Fudetani Ryoya, tiran
MUSIC: Manuel Riegler, tiran
COSTUME: lml studio
THANK YOU TO: Nkisi, Kevin Bo, Mateusz Szymanówka, Thyago Sainte

A production by tiran in co-production with SOPHIENSÆLE, Gessnerallee Zurich, Tanzquartier Vienna and WPZimmer Antwerp.
The residency was supported by Tanzhaus Zürich, Buda/Kortrijk, Les Urbaines/Lausanne.
The guest performance as part of Queer Darlings is supported by the Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe.


Sophienstraße 18
10178 Berlin

Tickets: (030) 283 52 66

Video Documentation

The video documentation is produced on behalf of the Senate Department for Culture and Europe. The purpose of this contract is to document productions in the field of contemporary dance in Berlin. The master recordings are archived by the University Library of the Berlin University of Arts. Copies of the recordings on DVD are available for viewing exclusively in the reference collections of the following archives (at media desks in these institutions):

University Library of the Berlin University of Arts
Mediathek für Tanz und Theater des Internationalen Theaterinstituts / Mime Centrum Berlin
Inter-University Centre for Dance Berlin (HZT)

tiran / Trailers and Video Documentations

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