The Backyard is a collective existing of 10 dancers who studied together at The Royal Conservatory of Antwerp from 2015 to 2018. The 3 years they spent studying together lies at the base of their current collaboration under the name The Backyard. During their education they got the opportunity to work with a lot of teachers and choreographers who are working in the contemporary dance field all over the world.


In 2015-2016 they worked on the performance Venn by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Damien Jalet and Iris Bouche which was shown at HETPALEIS in Antwerp.


In the second year of their study they had the opportunity to be part of the performance Grensgeval / Borderline by Guy Cassiers and Toneelhuis Antwerpen. This piece was choreographed by Maud Le Pladec and toured in Belgium, The Netherlands, Spain and France where it was performed at the Festival d'Avignon.


They ended their education with The End, a piece by Jos Baker (Peeping Tom).


In the course of the 3 years they performed as a group in pieces by Agostina d'Alessandro, Anton Lachky, Gregory Caers & Yves Thuwis-De Leeuw (Nevksi Prospekt) and Rosas.

Machias Bosschaerts

Belgium, 1994

Machias is currently working for Tuur Marinus, on the creation TH LNG GDBY.

He also works as a dance teacher for Dansstudio Arabesque, Dansstudio Arlekino, Dansparant and Ballet- en Dansacedemie Pas De Chat.

Machias created The Backyard-production Chapel of Love in 2021 and is co-creating together with Margot Masquelier the duet Hold Me Tight which will premiere in 2022. 

He has danced in It's Gonna Be Horse, Hold Me Tight and Togetherness. He also frequently design and creates the costumes for The Backyard-productions. He has done so for It's Gonna Be Horse, Chapel of Love, Xposure and partly for Togetherness. 

Aki Iwamoto

Japan, 1992

Aki has been dancing since she was 16 years old. After a nine year practice in the martial arts Kendo and a prize-winning cheer-dance experience, she continued a dance education in Tokyo where she graduated from the Japan Women’s College of Physical Education in March 2015. While she was a student in Tokyo she also took lessons with Takiko Iwabuchi and Saburo Teshigawara. She graduated from the Royal Conservatory Antwerp in June 2018. Currently, she works for Maud Le Pladec as a performer in Twenty-seven Perspectives. Her personal creations include the solo a=z and the group piece Human of Dummies.

Alexa Moya Panksep

Spain, 1997)

Alexa studied at the Conservatory of Barcelona, Institut del Teatre, where she graduated. In 2015 she continued her studies at the Royal Conservatory of Antwerp obtaining the Dance Bachelor Degree. She is currently working as a freelance artist, interested in both dancing and developing her own work. Within The Backyard she has created a duet with Julia Godino, Picnic on the Moon which premiered at the Festival To Be in Antwerp and at the Festival Sismògraf in Catalunya, and is now touring through Belgium and Spain.

Recently Alexa has been busy with the creation of the piece ‘’l’OBC balla Ravel’’ by Antonio Ruz, with the new piece “Mujeres” by Carolina Garcés Pellejero and she is also participating as a performer with the company Wreckless Sleepers in the performance “With All We Know”.

Klára Ešnerová

Czech Republic, 1993

Klára graduated from the Duncan Centre Conservatory in Prague. She then went to study in multiple schools like the Escola Superior de Dance in Lisboa, BCDA Hungary and the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. Eventually she graduated in 2018 at the Royal Conservatory of Antwerp. She is working now as a freelance dancer, teacher and choreographer. Currently, is Klára working on her new project in Prague, where she's got a residence in the theatre for contemporary arts. She worked with choreographers as Saju Hari, Micha Purucker, Lenka Flóry and more.

Daan Jaartsveld

the Netherlands, 1995

Daan started his dance training at Boysaction, theatre dance for boys. After that he went on to study dance 2 years at ArtEZ in Arnhem. He then decided to switch schools, and continued studying dance at the Royal Conservatory in Antwerp, where he graduated in June 2018.

Currently Daan is working and touring as a freelance dancer. He works for a.o. Ayelen Parolin in the performances Simple and  Weg, Julie Bougard in the in Stream Dream and Maud Le Pladec in the performance Twenty-seven Perspectives.

Within The Backyard he has performed in It's Gonna Be Horse  and Togetherness and was part of the research for Chapel of Love.

Meike Stevens

the Netherlands, 1993

Meike studied Italian Language & Culture at Utrecht University. She completed her dance education at the Royal Conservatory in Antwerp. She danced in a duet choreographed by Zoe Leduc at Dansateliers Rotterdam (One Night’s Dance 2016). After her education she joined WArd/waRD - Ann van den Broek for the creation of Blueprint on Memory. She joined The Backyard in december 2018.

Bianca Zueneli

Italy, 1993

Bianca began studying modern dance at a young age and during her youth continued experimenting various disciplines such as figure skating, acrobatics and aerial silks. She studied Set Design at the Venice Academy of Fine Arts, but her passion for dance drove her to Brussels, where she trained in various contemporary dance techniques. She then entered the Royal Conservatory of Antwerp, and graduated in 2018. Currently she works as a freelance dancer in different creations: Les Pêcheurs de Perles by FC Bergman at the Opera of Antwerp, WAG"the new piece by Ayelen Parolin in Brussels and for Zehra Proch in Marseille (France). In the last few years she started creating her personal work and since 2017 she is a coach and teacher at KunstZ Academy in Antwerp.

Júlia Godino Llorens

Spain, 1996

Júlia studied the 6 years of the Contemporary Dance Professional Degree at the Conservatory Institut del Teatre from Barcelona. Concurrently she studied 2 years sciences. After graduating from the Royal Conservatory of Antwerp she joined The Backyard collective. She recently premiered the duet Picnic on the Moon with Alexa Moya Panksep which has been performed at the To Be Festival Antwerp, May Day May Day Festival Ghent and in Lorraine, France. Meanwhile she is working for the company Kopseer, for their next performance Gedachtegang.

Hernán Mancebo Martínez

Spain, 1990

Hernán was born in Granada. He began his career of movement in martial arts (Kung Fu), after years of practice and learning he became a Kung Fu teacher. After 6 years in Martial Arts he began his career as a contemporary dancer at the “Reina Sofia Conservatory of Granada.” Two years later he entered the Royal Conservatory of Antwerp. Currently Hernán works freelance as a dancer for Agostina D'Allesandro. On the side he is still teaching Kung Fu and different trainings based on “The movement culture“.

Pauline Van Nuffel

Belgium, 1997

Pauline started together with the other Backyarders at the Royal Conservatory Antwerp. In the second year of her education she went on an Erasmus program to the Iceland University of the Arts after which she returned to Antwerp. 

She is a dance teacher at Dansstudio Arlekino and has worked for several other Belgian dance schools. 

Pauline danced at the Icelandic Dance Company, working with Erna Omarsdóttir and Alexander Roberts & Ásrún Magnúsdóttir. As a freelance dancer she worked with Katrín Gunnarsdóttir & Aïda Gabriëls / Oester.

Currently she is studying at the Masters education Cultural Managment at the University of Antwerp. 

Within The Backyard she performed in It's Gonna Be Horse, Xposure and Hold Me Tight. 


Sumalin Gijsbrechts

Board of Directors:

Sumalin Gijsbrechts, Yasemin Kandemir & Nele Vanhaeverbeke

Daily Board:

Meike Stevens, Pauline Van Nuffel, Pieter Desmet, Júlia Godino Llorens & Bianca Zueneli