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Photo: Mark Lipczynski
Photo: Costin Radu
Photo: Stuttgart Ballet
Every year the city of Houston hosts the world’s most renowned dancers in a festival showcasing the best of dance around the world. Dance Salad is not just another gala with an endless accumulation of pas de deux. These carefully curated and manicured performances are best compared to an art gallery, featuring the best that dance has to offer. Dance Salad is to the dancer what a famous New York Art gallery is to the painter, a place to showcase your art in the best of surroundings.
Nancy Henderek, Producer, Director, Founder of Dance Salad Festival (in the organization of the Houston International Dance Coalition), has created the concept of Dance Salad Festival in 1992. She has produced, directed and co-
As founder and artistic director of Dance Salad Festival, Nancy Henderek regularly attends top international dance festivals, presenter conferences and individual dance companies to select each year’s program. She often features a company or choreographer who has never been seen before in the U.S. She prefers the hands-
Nancy Henderek also works tirelessly with each artistic director to excerpt evening-
home countries. »I enjoy the creative part of putting it all together most of all and of working with the individual choreographers«.
Nancy Henderek not only travels the world, but also has lived in various different countries, such as Italy, Lebanon, Sweden, Germany, France, Belgium and Hong Kong. In Houston, she has danced and performed for the Houston Grand Opera and has taught dance in several local high schools and colleges. This year, she is presenting the 20th Annual Festival.
The Dance Salad Festival has just been voted city’s Best Arts Festival 2011 by a major Houston newspaper Nancy Henderek was kind enough to take some time in her busy schedule and answer our questions.
Jump*: What were the biggest problems you encountered when organising the festival for the first time?
N. Henderek: The first Dance Salad was created in Brussels, Belgium, when I was the Choreographer in Residence at the International School. I decided to put on a »show« with professionals in the community that I knew through different Dance Studios and Dance companies in Belgium. Dance Salad was born with 3 shows and 3 years later, I moved to Houston and started this festival here.
Jump*: What is your main goal by organising Dance Salad Festival?
N. Henderek: Dance Salad Festival is where we can give and share art and what it brings to people, the key is the curation of each piece by piece to achieve, a whole, like a recipe or an art exhibit, where each ingredient is part of the picture and performance curates itself.
Jump*: Your husband is very present at your side, what is his role in the organisational process?
N. Henderek: Michael helps with the financial side of managing the Festival and is also indispensable during a very demanding production week and takes care of many hands on assignments from feeding a crew and cast to organising receptions and cast parties.
Jump*: Are there any projects that you are working on or would like to create in the future other than, or parallel to Dance Salad Festival?
N. Henderek: Not right now, too busy with Dance Salad Festival.
Photo: Erik Berg
Jump*: How would you define Art?
N. Henderek: Art is a formal extension or product of the need to express in many forms. Any feeling that is human is a part of the very human art form of dance.
Jump*: You live in Houston, why did you choose your own city to organise an international dance festival?
N. Henderek: We moved to Houston after my husband’s job was transferred back to the USA from Brussels, and my job at the international school also finished. Houston is a very dynamic city for art expression of all forms. Dance Salad Festival has been welcomed in Houston because this is a very international place with 95 Foreign National Consuls in residence. Houston also has big communities of people with international backgrounds. An international dance festival fits well in Houston.
Jump*: Who are the most important people in your life?
N. Henderek: My family, friends and professional colleagues.
The Art Gallery of Dance