STROOM DEN HAAG, 1995 — Stephen Carpenter, Cathy Plaza, Vaneeesa Blaylock, Stacey Giachino & Robert Uzgalis in The Vaneeesa Blaylock Dancers’ performance art work “Phantom Limb” at Stroom Den Haag: Den Haag center for visual arts and architecture.
THE HAGUE, 2012 — This was the first piece I created after it was sort of clear Koninklijk was never going to give me an MFA in choreography. Which I guess makes it my first piece of official “performance art.” haha, so of course, I started to use the name “The Vaneeesa Blaylock Dancers,” which didn’t stick very long and was kind of a lame name but I guess I was feeling hurt and it was my way of being cheeky or feeling better about myself or my work or something. Stroom Den Haag was a really cool space and I think just being in that space instead of the austerity of the Koninklijk performance spaces was so liberating and I felt like I could breathe for the first time in a while.
When Virginia Heffernan spoke at the Harvard Berkman Center on 27 March of this year, she commented:
You think you’ve got it all together as long as you’re outside of Cambridge, but the second I set foot back on the campus, I regress and can barely think that I should have a place at this center table, much less this place with this microphone, so I’m a little nervous…
When I heard her say that I immediately thought of the asphyxiating feeling I so often had as a grad student in the Koninklijk Dance Department. Working at Stroom Den Haag was just so fucking free. Doing our prankish little “Phantom Limb” performance art piece was so much fun and might have been the first time in a year that I really felt a sense of confidence about who I was and what I was doing.