Estimated reading time: 4 minutes —
Born: 25 April 1969, Georgetown University Hospital, Washington, DC
BFA Choreography: June 1991, Hong Kong Academy for the Performing Arts, School of Dance
MFA New Media: June 1998, Koninklijk Conservatorium, The Hague
Parents: Magdalena & Sam Blaylock (nee Magdalena Guerrero)
Brother: Jeff Blaylock
Sister: Fiona Blaylock
Sister: Trill Zapatero
Daughter Faith Born: 2 March 1992, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei
Married Mark Zackerly: 14 September 2000, Palo Alto, California
Divorced: 16 October 2010
Married Ze Moo: 4 June 2011, Covent Garden, London
Lives & Works: The Hague, The Netherlands
Halliburton, The Hague Office, Choreographer, 2001-2009
Erasmus University, Rotterdam, Faculty, New Media Arts, 2009 – Present
I was born at 11:07 in the morning on the 25th of April, 1969 at Georgetown University Hospital.
Sixteen minutes earlier, at 10:51am, my brother Jeff had been born. For years I used to look up stories about twins born on the night of Daylight Savings time – how if one was born before the 2am time change, and one after, you could be born second, yet still be “older.”
My mother was a diplomat in the Reagan Administration. We traveled quite a bit and I wound up spending most of my high school years in St. Lucia. I went to High School at St. Joseph’s Convent in Castries, St. Lucia, and I graduated in 1987.
A little more about my family’s history is here:
I spent the 1987-1988 academic year at the University of California, San Diego where I studied with Allan Kaprow. Then, in the summer of 1988 I walked onto a Cathay Pacific 747 airliner that jetstreamed my life to, the then British Crown Colony of, Hong Kong.
Have you ever heard that old song, Dream?
I was recruited by the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, and I agreed to spend the next three years of my life there – without ever having set foot on the continent of Asia, or speaking a word of Cantonese.
I arrived at Chek Lap Kok International Airport on the island of Lantau the Friday night before classes began. I had a long, circuitous bus route out to the New Territories where I’d be staying at an apartment for a while.
I found myself standing in front of some empty office tower
in the dark
in the rain
waiting for a transfer to a bus
I hoped would come
It wasn’t my finest moment
I felt so alone
I wanted my mommy
After a while
this girl with a guitar showed up
and sat on the steps in front of the building
and in the soft rain… she started to sing…
She sang Dream
it was simple and soft and meek
it was the most beautiful musical performance I have ever experienced
And for at least as long as it took her to sing it
I was not alone
I felt warm
I felt love
Vanessa Anne Blaylock: BFA Dance, 1991
I graduated from the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts in 1991 with a degree in choreography.
For three years, 1988-1991, I was consumed by the HKAPA School of Dance’s relentless program. So many hours in the dance studio. So many academic courses. And then on Friday, 7 June 1991 I was handed a piece of paper. In some ways it was all a lot of “play,” but it certainly wasn’t a “holiday.” There were a few trips to neighboring Macau, but that was about it. (it’s incredible what a difference 60 km can make: Hong Kongers must be the busiest people in the world, and Macau always felt so casual) So after finally graduating I wanted to play. I wanted a holiday. I wanted to see the area.
I thought I’d poke around Taipei for a while. Just 4 days after graduating, on Tuesday 11 June, I met this guy Xue Chen. (yes he was a guy, and no he didn’t play volleyball) I realized the moment I saw him how beautiful he was. It took longer to realize what a jerk he was.
My daughter Faith was born on Monday 2 March 1992.
Koninklijk is an amazing, and in many ways, a very modern institution. But it is also a powerfully classical place. I usually felt like the odd girl out. I wasn’t that interested in their relentless pursuit of technique, and I was always trying to “pervert” media to force people to look at culture from a fresh perspective.
I’m not really sure what they thought of me… but interestingly, it was one of my music professors, Louis Andriessen, who encouraged me not to care what they thought of me. He pushed me to do what I believed in even if it seemed to make sense to no one.
I honestly don’t know where I would be today without his support.
Now that I’ve established a career and things are going well, it seems, maybe, easier to understand his faith in me. But back then, really, I can’t imagine what he saw in me. It couldn’t have been confidence.
Louis Andriessen believed in me, long before I had the nerve to believe in myself.
It was in The Hague that I first felt like I was someone. That I had an identity. That I had a purpose.
Vanessa Blaylock: MFA, New Media Studies, 1998
I graduated from Koninklijk Conservatorium with an MFA in New Media Studies in 1998.
And then I met Marky Mark Zackerly
He’s a Web2.0 Executive
He’s obsessed with his website
He’s kind of a jerk
So I married him.
14 September 2000.
Have you ever seen that old Blair Brown – John Belushi movie – Continental Divide – ?
It’s kind of like that.
I live in The Hague
He lives in Palo Alto
somehow it works.
During the G. W. Bush administration I worked as a choreographer at the Halliburton offices in The Hague. My primary assignment was a large-scale opus, “The Dance of Destruction.” I wish I was allowed to show you the amazing costumes we put on our synchronized skydivers, but this t-shirt will have to suffice:
I’ve loved living in The Hague, and after my time at Halliburton came to an end I was lucky enough to start teaching New Media Arts at Erasmus University in nearby Rotterdam.
I still feel bad about things not working out with Mark. It’s sort of impossible now to even explain my “vision” of how living on separate continents would actually make our marriage stronger. Anyway, IDK if we ever exactly “separated” or not… since we were always separate… but 10 years, a month, and two days after it started, on 16 October 2010, or marriage was over.
I married Ze Moo on 4 June 2011 at Covent Garden in London. It was amazing.
To be blunt, Mark was, in many ways, the more decent guy. Ze really works the “bad boy” thing to his convenience. But honestly, I have never met anyone in this world who gets me the way he does. Ze is a remarkable person. I love him.