Everybody is concerned

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How does the political creep into the abstract? Here lies the tension dissected in Milø Slayers' DEMONStratio. In this performance, the stage becomes an agora of political frustration and emancipation where bodies improvise and interact to tear down binaries. We sat down with DJ, activist, and performer Milka Kongi to chat about identity, krump, and her role in DEMONStratio.

How did you become a part of this performance?

This is the first time I do a group performance like this. I’m actually a DJ and a solo performer. I’ve been doing that for the past 6 years. I got put in contact with Milø thanks to a friend in common. I immediately said yes to the project. Not just because I liked the concept, but I also loved his energy.

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How has the transition from solo to group performance been for you?

When you’re performing together, you learn about yourself. You learn about patience. It’s really a team spirit. We guide ourselves to make sure we present something good. It’s good for yourself, and it’s good for others.

Eli (Mathieu) and Milø are professional dancers. Sophie (Sénécaut) takes krump classes by Hendrickx Ntela at the Impulsion dance school in Brussels, but she's more in the theatre scene. That’s interesting, but we’re not really in choreography mode here. There’s a theme and we take it from there. We try to pick apart our emotions through our bodies. There’s improv. There’s a feeling

We guide ourselves to make sure we present something good

There’s a lot of trial and error to see what works and what makes us comfortable. Everyone gives their opinion. It’s a really open process and I like that about us. It’s not a prison. If you want to present something good, you need to feel good.

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Who are the demons in DEMONstratio?

For me, there really aren’t any demons. We’re trying to dissect and tear this image of the violent negro. I don’t like boxes. I hate it when people put me in a box. For people of colour in art, we’re often more affected and inspired by our history, rather than our skin. That’s what we talk about and work on, but that doesn’t mean I want to be put in a box. It’s others who put these labels. They’re the ones who put us in a box.  We make art. We want to talk about things we care about.

I hate it when people put me in a box

Monsters, yes! We’re all monsters (Laughs). We’re monsters in the demonstration. We’re four crazy people on stage, and I like what each of us brings to this performance. It’s something new.

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How does this performance break away from these images, these binaries?

I want people to ask questions and to question themselves when they see DEMONstratio. You get there based on your feelings, not on stereotypes or what others tell you. We don’t want people to see our work in a specific way because we’re people of colour. We really don’t want people to feel like they’re not concerned with what we’re saying. Everyone is.

Using your body to express your anger, to tell a story… It’s incredible

How do you see dance as a medium to tear down these boxes?

I like the idea of using dance as a tool to fight injustice because… Everyone dances. It makes you feel good and free. I’m an activist. I work on political issues between Africa and Europe. In my performances, I call things out. Milø’s project does that too. I’ve never done dance before, so I’m learning a lot. Using your body to express your anger, to tell a story… It’s incredible.

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…And is that where the group’s hip-hop inspiration comes in?

Not really hip-hop. We’re more focused on krump. Krump is a fight, a protest. It speaks more than hip-hop in that sense. Of course, with hip-hop too, it’s people of colour who dance to express anger and frustration. Both styles have that same fight. But with krump, movements are a little angrier, enraged. It’s also easier for non-POCs to do hip-hop. I mean, doing krump if you’re white is cool, but it’s hard to get into its’ mindset.

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And what inspires you?

Concerning the performance, I was inspired by my roots. I didn’t go to art school to have classic references. I come from a country where art and performance are everywhere. I get inspired by my friends’ work. My friends inspire me, everyone does. I don’t need to read a book to feel inspired. What inspired me the most is injustice. And also people. I’m also going to say politicians, and their ability to make everything suck. Their incoherence inspires me. But, yeah… I find inspiration in everything and everyone around me. Even you inspire me! (Laughs)

I don’t need to read a book to feel inspired. What inspired me the most is injustice. And also people

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DEMONstratio - Milø Slayers

10 March 2023 - KAAP, Bruges

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