1000 Pieces Puzzle: click below


Cindy Claes is also known as the Dance Backpacker.

International exchanges is at the core of her work, providing opportunities for artists to grow as human beings and as creatives.

Several awards and organisations supported her to research and nurture a vision she had for many years (ADAD Trailblazers 2013-2014; Bonnie Bird New UK Choreograpy Fund, Artists International Development Fund, Lisa Ullmann, British Council, etc.).

Each international project had an educational aspect (exploring Dance within Theatre), and a performance aspect (creating collaborative productions). The exchanges aim to inspire  emerging dancers, creative leaders, as well as established artists.

Cindy has worked in Venezuela, USA, Jamaica, Belgium, Germany, etc.

A few examples:

She set up an International Dancehall Theatre Exchange between Jamaica and the UK.  While the first milestomes of the projects were achieved early 2014, Cindy’s vision for the future is ambitious. The UK/JA Dancehall Theatre Exchange was a platform for professional development, an opportunity for artists from both sides of the globe to collaborate and exchange skills. It’s a true springboard for long term artistic relationships to start and to blossom in the near future.

She set up an International Krumping Theatre Exchange between Los Angeles and the UK.   The first step was an encounter between UK dancers and USA dancers in San Francisco, followed by an intensive Krumping Theatre program in Long Beach. In collaboration with Demolition Crew, the production “Dark Energies” reached Hollywood in 2011. Two Krump dancers have since been a part of unique dance theatre projects in London (1000 Pieces Puzzle and Voices in the Alleyway), continuing the rippling effects of empowerment in their local communities.

Cindy made a print on the Belgian Hiphop scene over the last few years. She choreographed Puzzle B (which won an award: Prijs Roger Van De Voorde); delivered three leadership programs for local artists. Her latest Belgian production tackles police brutality in the streets of Brussels (C’est la procedure).

Cindy is a dance backpacker.  Born and raised in Belgium, she has always had that inner fire guiding her across the globe to train, learn and perfect her skills.  She values international exchanges and truly believes her international dance adventures made her become the “artist of the world” she is today.  Travelling abroad is a unique experience which allows artists not only to feel revived with new ideas and refilled with a fresh breeze of creativity, it also allows individuals to tap into their inner power, their leadership skills and their vulnerability.  Being totally removed from our comfort zone enables us to explore a part of us we hadn’t nurtured yet.

Hip-Hop, Krumping or Dancehall THEATRE are fantastic concepts, and we need more dancers and choreographers to access quality training.  This intricate creative process and the various approaches to dance theatre is a world still to be discovered by many.

Pilot projects also include exchanges with international artists travelling to the UK.

So far, Cindy has organised the following large scale projects in London:

  • Dancehall workshops in London with Blacka Di Danca and Sir Ledgen (NYC)
  • Dancehall Theatre Exchange & Professional Development sessions with Shady Squad (Jamaica)
  • Krumping Theatre Exchange & Community workshops with Worm (USA)
  • 1000 Pieces Puzzle offering two spaces for international students (Jamaica and L.A.)

Cindy Claes values international exchanges.  She has been travelling worldwide to perform, teach and lead professional development programs for emerging choreographers.  Her dream was to offer young dancers, with no access to academic training, the opportunity to become dance theatre directors.  Many street dancers hope to earn a living from their passion.  They then start working, or struggling, in the commercial world (TV, music videos, events, etc.).  Cindy wanted to share her knowledge and experience, opening up new possibilities for them in the world of theatre.

Future Dance Theatre Exchanges are currently in the making…. Cindy Claes Productions wants the Hip-hop, Dancehall and Krumping community to be perceived as outspoken, articulate and intellectual, breaking misconceptions displayed by mass media.  The aim of the Dance Backpacker projects is to empower dancers from the underground world, train up the future generation of Dance Theatre Directors in those communities, and give them access to the genre as audience members and dance makers.

Exchange programs include:

  • choreographic laboratories using Dancehall, Krumping, Hiphop or other street dance genres as a pure form in Theatre
  • artistic skills exchanges
  • mentorring of emerging artists wanting to develop themselves as performers and/or choreographers/directors
  • short lectures, projections and debates about Hip-Hop Theatre / Dance Theatre (history & current situation)
  • informal sharings to engage the local community
  • coaching (artistic, management, etc.)

The participants:

  • enhance their knowledge about dance and choreography
  • deepen their understanding about what Dance Theatre “is” or “could be”
  • experience new possibilities to make their practice grow into new directions
  •  create their own choreographic tool boxes
  •  raise self-esteem, confidence and expand their sense of achievement