It’s a casual Saturday night. I’m putting on my best clothes: huge sweatpants and a chic, flowy floral top. I complement my look with a bold red lip and done. Ready for the night to start. Only, tonight the party doesn’t happen in some sticky-floored club. No. Tonight we go to the theater. Tonight we get our dose of culture in. Tonight we go to the Machinefabriek, Bloemstraat 38, home of NITE, a Groningen-based multidisciplinary company. Tonight we will enjoy the Weekend Break Festival!

The festival showcased a musical performance by Kay Slice, Ghanian-Dutch hip-hop and Afro-beats artist. It also featured two movement pieces: Horizon, choreographed by Club Guy & Roni artist Adam Peterson and directed by Matheusz Staniac, and V by Finnish choreographer, director and performer Cecilia. Both movement based showcases were performed by the Poetic Disasters Club. The evening was closed by a DJ set by Groningen-based DJ Daddy Long Dick, made only more charming by the sporadic confetti falls and spontaneous dance-battle circles.

Pro-tip: if you’ve missed the Weekend Break Festival this time, make sure to attend the next one! It truly was a vibrant and lively night.

Worth spending more words on, is V. Although all performances were distinctly unique, V engendered a reaction in the audience that cannot be left unspecified. Excited cheers, laughter and applause accompanied the artists’ whereabouts on stage. Every movement, every new costume and every spoken word reaching the auditorium, sparked genuine feedback. Let it be because some could truly identify with what was presented, or because it was, on the contrary, so incredibly alien to some, the topic of the performance definitely hit all the right spots.

Now what kind of topic can make for such a strong and divided affective response? None other than the Oh so marginalized, silenced and estranged… V…. agina!

Roel Rijk

V put sexual anatomy center stage. And not just a little bit. From a fashion show where outfits represented alternately the vulva, the clitoris, a bushy pubis, or a bloody tampon, to making the audience chant: “Gina, Vagina, Gina!” nothing was off limits. But neither was it made into a taboo, or ridiculed. The stage was a safe space for the artists to play with the marginalized, to dance and grind with topics that individuals are often scared to touch upon. Similarly, the auditorium was a safe space to learn how to start appreciating the different facets of the vagina. To recognize it as daring, aesthetic, fun and powerful; just like the performance itself.

Nienke Maat

Now, if you’re a person with a vagina, you most probably understand the feeling of exhilaration and pride that comes with watching a performance that puts the vagina right in the spotlight. If you do not have a vagina (as did two of my friends with whom I was watching the performance) it is possible that you might have a slight discomfort when watching an entire vagina-themed fashion show. This discomfort, I think it is important to specify, does not take away from feeling empathetic pride and support for liberating the vagina from its tabooed position.

Anyhow, the physiological attributes that you were born with obviously do not dictate your understanding and identification with V’s topic, but they might be the reason why some are sneakily influenced by society, where being man or woman is the norm. Being treated like a man or a woman is society’s default mode. We enter the world and are immediately englobed by a dichotomous environment. This environment guides, directs or pushes us into gender normative roles where penis is king and vagina is maid (Yes, I am generalizing and yes, those roles are slowly but surely shifting and transforming, BUT! They are still present in our embedded societal consciousness, which pushes me to expose them).

Nienke Maat

To be able to watch a performance that shamelessly and powerfully showcases the vagina was just great. It is more than time to break with taboos and what better way to do so than by talking about them? Pubic hair is healthy and should not be shamed into trimming. Shapes and sizes may vary from one individual to the other. Period blood is clean. Don’t even get me started about the clitoris: it’s amazing! That the vagina can somehow expand to make way for an entire human to squeeze by its lips is mind-boggling. And yet… that is where we all come from. Almost all humans have had their head between a woman’s legs. Isn’t it time to pay tribute and to respect this area that gives us life? Cecilia Moisio sure thought it was and for that, I say thank you. Thank you for being unapologetically raw and true and real. Thank you for showing the Weekend Break Festival’s audience that the vagina is beautiful, strong, goofy, playful and worth being talked about.

“V is a mood, an energy. A trip to the inside feminine world, to where we all came from.

V = red

V = fabulous

V = divine

V = agressive

V = ambiguous

V = feminine

V = in all of us”

(quote from https://ceciliamoisio.com/)

Idea, choreography & direction: Cecilia Moisio | Performance: Wilchaan Cantu, Julie Boellaard, Tessa Spagnioli, Gina van Os, Adrian Thömmes, Tatiana Spiewak, Aaron Faneyte, Yun Ting Tsai | Composition: Joni Vanhanen | Styling costumes & decor: Cecilia Moisio | Texts: Eva Maria de Witt & Julie Boellaard | Photo’s: Nienke Maat | Production: Niran Staub | Produced by Club Guy and Roni/NNT