Hans van den Broeck

Interview: Deborah Vlaeymans
Brussels , January 2009


How did you come to work with performance?

Actually I studied clinical psychology at the University of Leuven in Belgium. During my studies I was lucky to have access to many cultural happenings, like performances and workshops. These included all kinds of both national and international workshops: from working with Steve Paxton to tap dancing. I feel that I used a lot more of my time there than at university. I think that fascination for the arts is latent in oneself right from the start. I’ve always been very fond of drawing, for example. Not just making drawings, but also making compositions. That is something I really liked, and also movement. In retrospect I probably was a child with “ADHD”. I had this condition, but at that time the term didn’t exist yet...

I just couldn’t sit still. At home this was not a problem.

I never had any education within the arts, but I started following courses and intensive workshops from the age of 20. At the time I was studying psychology. I found it very interesting to deal with psychoanalysis. For me the theories of Lacan are a kind of theatrical psychology. I was also very fascinated by interaction analysis: dealing with the dynamics in big groups of people. It is very interesting. It has plots and scenarios - individual scenarios and group scenarios. I observe an interesting dramaturgy in these mechanisms, and I started to do more research in this area.

Actually, I was an intern working with drug addicts. That was very heavy work. People dealing with a history of incest. I remember that I started working with performance art besides my other work.

At a certain time – at the end of my studies – I wanted to make a radical change. I realised that I didn’t want to work as a psychologist. I admire it very much, but I’m not good at being a listener.

I wanted to create.