Belgium’s Got Talent live finalists, the real life superstars and hot as hell gay twin brother acrobat/performers Koen and Bart return to Darklands 2022 with their biggest show yet. After their sensational appearances on TV viewed millions of times online they stormed the Darklands mainstage in 2020 just before the pandemic brought live events to a close. This did though give them time to plan and train for the biggest and most elaborate shows ever which you can see in Antwerp next May on the mainstage. We asked Koen the fire expert of the duo about how they got to the top, training in lockdown and what it is like working with your identical twin gay brother.
For those that are new to your act how do you describe it?
It’s a combination of fire, partner acrobatics and pole dance. The theme of Darklands is this time is postapocalyptic/waterworld, so we focused on a water vs fire theme.
So, who are Bart and Koen and where do you come from?
I have a history in competition gymnastics: acrogym, tumbling and demo. After that i rolled into performing with fire which i have been doing for 4 years now. I mostly used youtube and online videos to learn these skills for my fire performances. Next to that I have some great friends i perform with who help and teach me with choreography.
How did you get into acrobatics?
At the age of 18 I decided to start gymnastics, which is actually pretty late. Nonetheless I learned and achieved a lot in competitions. After my contest years I’ve kept busy with acro yoga and following acroporté in the circus school of Antwerp.
What is the best benefit and biggest problem from being similar looking twins?
I think one of the best benefits is that we get along really well, and that we have a lot of common interests…..we seem to know how each other think.The biggest “problem” for me is people thinking I am him, and then start an entire conversation. Or people I know sometime get mad at me ‘cause they think they saw me and didn’t say hi, but in fact they saw my brother.
Does your relationship help with knowing how the other is feeling during a performance?
I think it helps a lot during performing on stage, in rehearsal, backstage, during preparations, …For example: We can sense, without saying too much, when a rehearsal is a bit much and maybe needs a little break.
You did the mainstage at Darklands in 2020 for those who missed it what did you do there?
We tried to bring a show with a lot of variation: fire, acrobatics, pole dancing, choreo.Mostly, we each did ‘our thing’ (fire for me, pole for Bart) and tried to glue those pieces together. Liking the same music helps a lot.
What else did you enjoy about your first Darklands weekend?
For me it was fun to see such a great variety of people walking around. Leather, bears, pups, bondage, …This was really eye opening for me, also because I did not have the sense that one group was looking down on another.
You are back at Darklands 2022 & have a show called Water Vs Fire, so what should we expect?
I’ll be taking the fire part, of course whilst Bart will be the water themed performer. What I’m going to try to accomplish is really make the (under) water theme pop with make-up, prosthetics, … etc
Acrobats are hugely popular to gay men – do you get hit on a lot at LBGTQ+ events?
The only LGBTQ+ event I attend is Antwerp pride and it’s safe to say I can walk around without anyone hitting on me XD.
Presumably lockdown was hard as performers so how did you stay in shape and work on your shows without any live performances? Do you have polls and equipment at home?
At first, we tried to work out together, using each other’s bodyweight for an extra challenge. I try and to do a variety of youtube tutorials of cirque du soleil work outs.
In brief what is your fitness and eating regime in a day and how long do you practice?
I really don’t have a specific eating regime. I just try to eat healthy, exercise at least 2-3 days a week.
You use a lot of masks and elaborate looks but which are each of your personal favourites?
My favourite mask is the one I made for a ‘demon’ look. My favourite make-up look is one based on a fantasy raven look where I used long feathers as eyebrows.
Where do you get your outfits from?
A combination of store-bought and hand made by people I know.
Make-up is very important in your images and on stage have you thus far done any full drag?
Only once, a friend of mine wanted to put me in drag, but it was just for that one time.
You famously made the live shows of Belgium’s Got Talent in 2019 what was that experience like?
Participating on that show was great for me, but what made it even better is that they put us on the same show every time. Having someone there that you know that well, and get along with really lifted the experience to a new level.
……and what has the response been to your TV appearances?
I’ve had some great responses. Also, some great requests for performances and shows. And then corona hit unfortunately.
Where is the strangest place you have ever performed?
Tbh that has to be the Darklands mainstage.
Your act seems extremely dangerous so have you had any accidents?
Besides occasional body hairs being scorched, not that many. I have the habit to overdo the acrobatics sometime, ending up with overstrained joints.
Are you both gay?
Yes, we are.
What is the most dangerous thing you have ever done in a show?
Using my ‘boompoi’. It’s a firework attached to metal chains which you spin around as it goes off. You really need to have clean movement in your choreography and know exactly where the fireworks are going to pass with each move.
If you could perform with any other act or performer from any sphere who would be the top of your wish list?
I would love to make an act for cirque du soleil. Just performing one time for them would be mind blowing.
What is one thing that your brother does not know about you?
If I answer that, then he would know that now would he.
What is your twin brothers most annoying habit?
We are both horrible at planning stuff.
What would be your all-time dream gig?
Again, just the opportunity to perform a single act for cirque du soleil anywhere in the World.
How can fans and promoters find out more about you and follow you?
My Instagram is ‘koenfiredance’ . You can also find my website at ‘www.koenfiredance.com’