Cindy is known as the Dance Backpacker. International exchanges have always been at the core of her work, providing opportunities for artists to grow as human beings and as creatives.
She grew up in small towns in Belgium. Growing up in a small town, in a small country, meant there was a MUST for her to travel. She travelled to train as a dancer, search for authentic knowledge, she travelled to audition, gain artistic experience. What happened along the way was more and more human connections, exchanges of cultural values, conversations that made her grow as a citizen of the world. She did a Master in Sociology and Anthropology in Belgium as a result of this.
When she moved to London in 2005, it was this experience that made her grow as a leader. Living in a city where she had everything to prove, she had to step up her game. Years later, several awards and organisations supported her international 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, Erasmus+, Zinnema etc.
Every project Cindy touched upon seemed to end up in some sort of international exchange. It was as if her calling was calling her every time a little bit more. The coincidences never stopped. Even when it wasn’t planned… an international exchange emerged in some way shape or form.
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 of pilot projects that eventually lead to the set up of 1000 Pieces Puzzle:
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 was 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. A true springboard for long term artistic relationships to start and to blossom in the near future. While today she has been able to both bring over Jamaican choreographers and set up informal Dancehall Theatre projects in Jamaica, she is still working on the achievement of the full scale of her vision.
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. It started with choreographing Puzzle B (which won an award: Prijs Roger Van De Voorde); and lead to deliver three major leadership programs for local artists. Her latest Belgian production tackles police brutality in the streets of Brussels (C’est la procedure).
Cindy also worked with Step Master Jakari Sherman (Step Afrika!). They collaborated on a play (Sarafina) in Washington DC, and a piece tackling racism in Chicago. A short film was made by Jan Wallyn (Belgium) about the show.
At the early stages Cindy also organised several Dancehall workshops with international guests in London.