GRIP is a choreographic platform founded in 2014 by choreographer and dancer Jan Martens and business leader Klaartje Oerlemans. GRIP supports and produces Martens' work. In addition, it guides two choreographers in shaping their artistic trajectory: Steven Michel and Cherish Menzo. In 2023, GRIP will evolve into an organisation with shared artistic leadership. Besides Martens himself, current GRIP artists Cherish Menzo and Steven Michel will shape GRIP 2.0 together with newcomer Femke Gyselinck. They will do this in close dialogue with Klaartje Oerlemans and Rudi Meulemans who, in his role of artistic coordinator, will coordinate and facilitate the dialogue between the four choreographers. CAMPO offers GRIP a workspace where they can design new projects and then show them.
Jan Martens (°1984, Belgium) studied at the Fontys Dance Academy in Tilburg and followed the dance course at the Artesis Royal Conservatory in Antwerp, where he graduated in 2016. Since 2010 he has been creating his own choreographic work, which over the years has been performed for national and international audiences with increasing regularity. In his work, he does not so much create his own movement language, but forms and reuses existing idioms in a different context so that new ideas emerge. In each new work, he attempts to redraw the relationship between audience and performer. VICTOR (2013), THE DOG DAYS ARE OVER (2014), PASSING THE BECHDEL TEST (2018) and Any attempt will end in crushed bodies and shattered bones (2021) are just a few of the many works by Martens. His most recent production is ELISABETH GETS HER WAY (2021). On 19 July 2022, FUTUR PROCHE, a collaboration between Martens and Opera Ballet Vlaanderen, will premiere on the Cour d'honneur of the Festival d'Avignon.
Steven Michel (°1986, France) studied mime and musical theatre at a young age and graduated from P.A.R.T.S. in 2010. As a performer, Michel has worked with a range of choreographers, theatre and film directors, including David Zambrano, Falk Richter, Lukas Dhont, Daniel Linehan and Maud le Pladec. In recent years, he has also regularly appeared in the work of Jan Martens. As a choreographer, he created among others ± Even but Odd (2009), THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS (2016) and Affordable solution for better living (2018), both the result of an interdisciplinary approach.
Michel has been a GRIP artist since 2016. His most recent work is the solo DATADREAM (premiere September 2021), in which he explores the relationship between notions of fiction and science, miniature and monumental, harmony and chaos, the auditory and the visual, the analogue and the digital.
Cherish Menzo (°1988, The Netherlands) graduated in 2013 from the Hogeschool voor de Kunsten in Amsterdam, at The Urban Contemporary programme (JMD). Cherish has appeared in the work of Eszter Salamon, Akram Khan, Leo Lerus, Hanzel Nezza, Olivier Dubois, Lisbeth Gruwez, Jan Martens and Nicole Beutler, among others. As a performer, she stands out for her powerful, controlled, inescapable physical presence. Menzo has several performances to her name, including EFES (2016), Sorry, But I Feel Slightly Disidentified... (2018), LIVE (2018) and JEZEBEL (2019).
Menzo has been a GRIP artist since 2020. Her new show
DARKMATTER will premiere at the Kunstenfestivaldesarts (12-15 May in Beursschouwburg, Brussels). DARKMATTER is a duet in which she and Camilo Mejía Cortés, with the help of a distorted rap choir, search for ways to detach their bodies and the daily reality in which they move from an imposed perception.
Femke Gyselinck (°1983, Belgium) worked, after graduating from P.A.R.T.S in 2006, as a freelance dancer with, among others, Eleanor Bauer, Andros Zins-Browne and Esther Venrooy. She was Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker/Rosas' artistic assistant for nine years. In her own work she searches for a dance language that is closely interwoven with music and that combines a bold performativity with a fine form of expressiveness. She often works together with musicians (including Liesa Van der Aa, Hendrik Lasure and Lander Gyselinck). Among others, she made the duet Flamer (2018), the mini-opera Pigmalion (2019), ERATO (2019) and Moving Ballads (2020). On 3 March 2022 Letters 2 Dance premiered at kunstencentrum nona, a choreographic development of Gymnastics of the Mind (2020), a researchproject inspired by the book ABECEDA (1926).
Femke is connected as a teacher to the bachelor Performing Arts programme of the KASK (HoGent) and she is part of the faculty of P.A.R.T.S. From 2022 onwards GRIP will closely follow Femke's work, in 2023 she will officially become a GRIP artist.