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check your body at the door *

check your body at the door is a solo performance inspired by Édouard Manet's iconic painting, "Olympia". Just as "Olympia" caused a stir in the 19th century for its realistic depiction of the naked body, this performance aims to question the influence of dominant narratives in art history on our contemporary understanding of gender identity and body image. Drawing on transgender studies and house dance, check your body at the door celebrates the uniqueness of the human figure, transcending historical stereotypes and normative values that continue to affect our society. Through a mixture of movement and storytelling, the performance invites audiences to re-examine their perceptions of the human body and identity. A thought-provoking journey that re-imagines the legacy of "Olympia" for the contemporary era, highlighting the enduring impact of art in challenging social norms and offering a transformative and inspiring experience.

check your body at the door is part of "Transcending Canvases" is an ongoing research project at the intersection of Transgender Studies, Art History, and Visual Arts. This project confronts the enduring influence of traditional art narratives that reinforce binary gender ideals and bodily norms in contemporary Western societies. It aims to deconstruct these dominant narratives by reviving marginalized artworks that once challenged gender and body stereotypes fearlessly. By linking historical masterpieces with modern personal narratives, "Transcending Canvases" amplifies often-overlooked voices and empowers individuals to reclaim and reshape their identities through the powerful methodology of autoethnography.

* The title of this performance is inspired by the documentary project that Sally Sommer initiated in 1992 about some of the most notable freestyle house dancers and their lives outside the clubs in the 1990s. For more information, visit:

Concept, Performance & Lighting Design: Iria Arenas
Choreography & Co-Creation: Aura Antikainen

Supported by Fonds Darstellende Künste with funds from the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media within the program NEUSTART KULTUR. With the kind support of the Kulturamt der Stadt Kassel.


Sat. 22. April at 20:00h. Studiobühne, Kulturhaus Dock 4. Kassel, DE

Other performances

Sun. 23. April at 18:00h. Studiobühne, Kulturhaus Dock 4. Kassel, DE

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