Members

Meet the company

Helena Vandecasteele

Choreographer and artistic director


Helena’s passion is art and movement in general. Her specialization is contemporary dance, flying low, passing through and improvisation.


Since her graduation at Codarts in 2017 she was strongly inspired by David Zambrano who taught her the art of spontaneous movement and made her love for contemporary dance and floorwork even bigger. She learned to let go. This intense learning process influenced Helena’s vision on 'dance' a lot. In 2019 she participated in the '60 days' which changed and redefined her way of choreographing. In her work she loves to speak about themes that are relevant in the now of our community we live in. Choreography is a process to define a common language between dancer, choreographer and any public.


“I'm not interested in 'perfect technique', I'm interested in sincerity, honesty and personality. Who is the individual performer and how can they work with their own strengths, still finding togetherness? Technique can be a tool or can be one of these strengths, but there is more. If you look at dance in this way, everyone has a dancer in there and I strongly believe that is true. I see dance as a language everyone can speak in a way.”


So let's get the conversation started.

Natasja De Wit

Dancer


Natasja started her dancing life at the age of 6 at Terpsichore in Bornem. There she gained a strong technical foundation over the years. She got weekly classes in ballet, jazz, modern and contemporary dance. During her studies at Ghent University she started to take more classes in jazz and modern at KC Dance Complex, where she met Helena. Helena’s style and enthusiasm appealed to her so much that she didn't hesitate to audition for Roots company.


Her movement style is mainly characterized by smooth and fluid movements, with a sustainable power in there. Her musicality provides her with extra dynamics. 


As a person she is very driven and energetic, which is also reflected in her dance. 


“When I am dancing, I forget everything around me and my focus is purely on the movement. For me dance represents a strong feeling of freedom. I think it's fantastic to be able to use my body as an instrument to express. Dance gives me the opportunity to rediscover myself and push boundaries.

I hope to remain active within Roots Company for many more years and to be able to share my passion for dance furthermore.”

Niels Van Santen 

Dancer


Niels is a person who enjoys physical and mental challenges in general. He loves to explore and abstract and to find connections between various practices and interests. 


He has been lucky to meet a lot of inspiring and motivating people who have shaped his experiences and the person he became. Movement wise, parkour has endowed him with a strong notion of physical self-knowledge and curiosity which he lets influence his dancing.


He sees dance as an open-ended medium to express himself. It has come as a natural extension of earlier movement experience and as a result of the continuing interest in opening up the borders of form.


“I hope to continue expressing myself creatively in various ways. Perhaps a performance where everything I love comes together would be nice to experience.


What I find interesting in Roots Company, is that it allows everyone to express personal interests and to be a part of the global company process. Despite the fact that the company consists of people with different backgrounds and personalities, it somehow successfully combines into a strong and coherent group.”

Evi Blockmans

Dancer


Evi started dancing at the age of 5 and enjoyed it so much she decided to follow dance in secondary school at the conservatory of contemporary dance at Ghent, Muda.

During these years she sometimes felt too much pressure on performing and getting better which taught her that there is a big competitive part in the dance world. Therefore she chose to follow her other passions.

She has now graduated as an osteopath, rehabilitation assistant and sports coach for dogs.

Even though this is now her true passion, she never completely lost the sparkle for dancing, and she kept on taking classes and performing, but with more ease and less pressure.


“Roots Company has helped me to rediscover my passion for dance. I mainly want to enjoy dancing and share my joy of moving with the world. I hope I can keep on dancing for many more years in which I can do many more projects with this fantastic group of dancers”

Sanne Kiekens

Dancer


Sanne started dancing at a young age. Her foundations are mainly in jazz dance and African dance. It was only at a later age she discovered contemporary dance. 

African dance taught her to move smoothly, powerful and with a grounded energy but also showed her the importance of live music and the togetherness with others. Thanks to her African dance teacher she was able to participate in several theater projects in Antwerp, which made her discover her expressivity.


Next to her love for dance, she always had a great interest in science and obtained a PhD in Microbiology.


“I like the broadness of dance and I like to create my own vocabulary. I enjoy the magic of moving myself, the challenge of learning new movements, the expression of feelings and emotions, but I also really enjoy dancing together and sharing energy. 

I hope that I can keep dancing as long as possible and that I will be able to share this passion through teaching and performing. 


I find a lot of parallel in my joy for research and the creating process of Roots. I enjoy the challenge of learning and trying. Together we create a story to share on stage. This magical place can be anywhere, in a theatre, a church, the streets, etc. Its nice that we all have very different personalities and that we can find each other in our shared love for dancing.


Helena can bring out the best out of you like no other, but she also takes you out of your comfort zone. In the company it's not about the dancer who is the most… or the highest… but about allowing each person's personal qualities to emerge even better and to learn from each other.”

Lies Anseeuw

Dancer


Lies has a passion for performance and the art of movement.


Since being a toddler she remembers many moments in her life where she was moving, thinking about dancing or later on (day)dreaming about performing on stage.

 

She has spent many years in modern and ballet classes, and participated in many companies over the years. Teaching and creating choreopgraphies with youngsters has been a big part of her dance journey. Some influence came from her education at the Higher Institute of Dance and also her Master’s degree in Theatre Sciences has broadened her view on performance overall.

 

“As a dancer, I can channel my emotions into movements to deepen the experience of the performance. It can be very healing and liberating, which is one of the things I enjoy so much about moving. I consider myself very lucky to be able to express so much in dance, enjoying the tactics of improvisations and being able to physically explode from time to time... but still humbly growing and learning with every rehearsal.

 

What I like about Roots is the fact that we all have our own 'roots' and come together beautifully. I'm happy to be a part of this versatile, diverse and very symbiotic bunch.”

Delphine Simons

Dancer


Ballet was always her first love, until she discovered “the floor”.


Connecting to and with the earth really helped her to grow and explore more as a dancer, and spiritually as a person. Only after her modern dance education, where technique was the major focus, she learned much more about how the body really can be moved, who she is, and how to express this.


For her, dance is music, and vice versa. Music has always been part of her life since she was a child, and although silence can be very powerful, music always inspires her more.


“So far, I was lucky to be able to travel a lot, and I had opportunities to live in different countries, but wherever I am, dancing always feels like home. 


I’m very grateful to be able to dance with this amazing group of people that is Roots Company. A lot of aspects that make me enjoy dancing I find here, challenging movements, interesting music, humanity. Working with live music would be top of the bill.


I want to keep on dancing as long as possible."

Noortje Dhaenens

Dancer


Noortje was born with dancing in her DNA. She has no memories where dancing is no part of. She has studied for several years at professional dance schools: she was a proud student of the Royal Ballet School of Antwerp and an alumnus of the conservatory of contemporary dance at De! Kunsthumaniora Antwerp.


Apart from her dancing passion she also has a huge interest in other sports, so later on she chose a new career path in life and got a graduation in the sport management sector. That's also what she does for a living now.


“Apart from that dancing has been, is and always will be my passion. For me it means freedom like a kind of therapy for the body and mind. Dance gives me inner peace and helps me deal with all of my emotions.


To become a part of Roots, felt like homecoming to me. It made me refind the joy and freedom in dancing I missed for a while and I am really grateful for this magnificent opportunity.”

Anke Weckx

Dancer


More info coming soon

Eefje Devulder

Dancer


Eefje in a nutshell: honest, a strong intuition, the character to deliver what she starts, a perfectionist, keen on learning new things, a bit of a fashionista and proud mom of a cute boy.


She is a master in Modern & Contemporary Dance, freelance dancer & choreographer, a dance teacher at the drama department at the academy of arts in Brugge and founder & CEO of her own dance school ‘Elevation DanceCademy’ in Ostend.


Her dance dreams are to keep growing and learning in the domain of dance, entrepreneurship, choreography and teaching by meeting inspiring individuals. Never stop to take in new impressions. Never stop to create events and places where people with love for dance can meet.


“Dance for me is to escape, to be liberated and be creative, and to communicate with your body and to emotionally move the audience.


Being part of Roots to me means to feed the dancer in me, give that dancer attention, a bit of me-time every week, to be part of a creative whole, keep challenging myself to push boundaries. And to show that even as a mom one can still take on a dance challenge.”

Manuel De Vos-Clinckspoor

Dancer


Before starting to dance, Manuel was a gymnast. But dancing has always intrigued him, so at the age of 7, he started taking dance classes. His dancing teacher at the academy of Geraardsbergen then convinced him to start studying at Muda Kunstsecundair in Ghent, where he recently graduated.


He is a very creative person, both dancewise as in daily life. He loves exploring and taking risks. His quality of movement is very expressive, dynamic, intensive and floaty. 


“For me, dancing reveals your true soul. You show your deepest feelings. When I am dancing, I am somewhere far away in heaven. Everything becomes very light and floaty. You can not stop me once I have started to dance.


Roots Compagnie is a very diverse group where I can be who I am. I am very happy to be part of this group and grow as a dancer even more.”

Once a Roots dancer, always a Roots dancer


Elien Devlieger

Lisa Foucart

Isalie van Heyste

Hanne Lapere

Elise Matthys

Ting Wong

Benthe De Man

Laila Boelaert

Manon Heyndrickx

Ine Garré

Justine Van Hoegaerden