Like every year, Danspunt invited a curator to put together the festival’s program. This year we chose David Hernandez.

Curator’s welcome

“Welcome to the Out of the Toolbox Festival! This year, I have the privilege to curate the festival and I am excited to propose a wide range of approaches, all centered around contemporary dance.

In recent years, contemporary dance has grown and expanded a lot. It includes a vast array of different styles and techniques. We now find ourselves somewhat at the other end of this movement and ask ourselves: what has distilled from this period? What will find its validity in the future? And at the same time, we still embrace the term “contemporary” for its original meaning of “dances made nowadays”. So what kinds of dances are we making today and how?

I have invited a group of teachers who have all been busy forming their own unique, personal, and specific approaches to dance. As much as I wanted to showcase several ways of working, I also wanted to represent different generations, coming from many different corners of the vast spectrum that makes up the contemporary dance field. The festival offers approaches grounded in technique, improvisation and composition, all imbued with a sense of discovery and playfulness.

The festival provides the opportunity to choose either one longer-term experience or several shorter deep dives into the world of our gifted workshop leaders. We want to provide a festival experience with the chance to attend events and showings, as well as engage in an in-depth working process. And in between, you can exchange and interact with other participants and workshop leaders over a healthy meal. A big plus is that all the workshop leaders are not only consummate artists, but also just lovely human beings. Come for the dancing and stay for the vibe – we plan to have some serious fun!”

David Hernandez

Why did we ask David Hernandez to be our curator?

“David Hernandez is one of the few individuals who is internationally recognized within the contemporary dance scene as both a dancer, choreographer, and educator. He is part of the flourishing contemporary dance scene in Belgium and continues to inspire many young dancers through his classes at P.A.R.T.S and numerous workshops both domestically and internationally. Whether you are a student at an art high school, enrolled at P.A.R.T.S, or attending a training program at Danspunt, his focus, drive, and desire to elevate people to a higher level remain unwavering.

In January, David conducted a choreography workshop at Danspunt where a diverse group of participants, ranging from those with extensive experience to beginners, dancers from urban and contemporary dance backgrounds, as well as younger and older dancers, seamlessly collaborated and left with a wealth of new insights.

With the invitation of David Hernandez, I wanted to fully embrace contemporary dance one more time, to assess the direction our festival should take in the coming years. Interestingly, David himself mentioned that contemporary dance in Belgium, as a movement, has reached its peak, and he is intrigued by which aspects will endure in the transition towards something new.

It is an intriguing concept to incorporate into our festival.”

Anne-Lore Baeckeland, artistic and educational projects Danspunt

David Hernandez 2

Who is David Hernandez?

David Hernandez was born in Miami, Florida where he studied ‘studio music & jazz’ and opera at the University of Miami and dance at ‘New World School of the Arts’. Subsequently he moved to New York to work as an apprentice with the Trisha Brown and company and begin researching with Meg Stuart. He left New York to follow Meg Stuart to Belgium to help begin the company Damaged Goods where he worked for almost seven years as a dancer and collaborator. David remained in Europe basing himself in Brussels where he continued creating his own work in the form of dance performances, installations, happenings and many other sorts of multidisciplinary projects for over twenty years. Next to his own projects he continued performing and collaborating with many other artists such as LaborGras, Brice Leroux, Anouk Van Dijk, Michel Debrulle as well as directing, performing and researching as an improviser with artists such as Steve Paxton & Katie Duck, among many others. He was one of the three initiators of the improvisation project “Crash Landing” along with Christine Desmet and Meg Stuart. David participated in a choreographic collaboration with Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker for many years for projects including “Zeitung”, “Keeping Still” and “D’un Soir un Jour” and danced and sang in the production “Cesena” which premiered at the Avignon Festival in 2011.

As a pedagogue, David gives classes and workshops worldwide while maintaining a position as a main teacher at P.A.R.T.S. since 1995. Previously he developed and managed his own education program, ‘PEP’ (The Performance Education Program) for several years in the framework of Klapstuk festival in Leuven, Belgium where he was also in residence.

David continues to work as a singer and joined the early music vocal group Graindelavoix, led by Bjorn Schmelzer and Reve d’Elephant Orchestra jazz band, performing in concerts, recording discs and touring with several different projects as a musician.

David creates his own work with his organization dh+ (David Hernandez and collaborators). With this, he created “For”.

One of his latest works was recently showcased at the KVS. “Random Goodbyes” was a collaboration with Moya Michael and Jin Xing, featuring a cast of a mix of Chinese and Brussels-based dancers.