Sara Hernandez

Sara Hernandez and the ReFramed Bursary Award

I am a contemporary Dance Artist from Barcelona based in Ireland since 2011. With a foundation in classical dance my focus has always been in Contemporary Dance. I studied in the conservatory of dance “Institut del Teatre” in Barcelona and I worked with dance companies: Ballet Biarritz Junior and  Cienfuegos Danza, in Spain.

I create dance work from life experiences. I’m constantly seeking new models of exploration and communication. My recent choreographic work “Im- I am” was commissioned by Cork Butter Museum under Percent for Art scheme 2019. Samskaras my previous work made and supported by Firkin Crane, in Cork, was presented for the Cork Midsummer festival 2017, and Skibbereen Arts Festival 2018. I have collaborated with Helga Deasy Choreographer since 2016, touring “Helica” to New York, presenting work in Dublin and County Cork. Most recently I collaborated on the film “River Fragments” directed by Helga Deasy.

This is what I would like to achieve as part of the Bursary Award:

My idea for the Reframe Dance Bursary in the Firkin Crane is to create a period of research and development in the studio around a body of work that explores 3  different arts forms: dance, music and writing. To develop this idea I will be working with two  collaborators; Ilse de Ziah, cello player and Valeria Venditti, writer/philosopher.


For this work I envision an interaction from each artist in response to their own experiences of the lockdown. Each artist through their own artistic language will create and develop ideas of work from experiences and impressions during this unusual period of time. Then to develop this idea we will be responding to each one’s creative impressions. 

While this idea is based around the centrality of dance and movement, this state of flow (and restriction/containment) will be reflected and refracted through these secondary art-forms. The text will be translated into music and dance, the dance into music and text and the music into dance and text, creating a synergistic interdependent cross-pollination.

With this research I am trying to achieve a dialogue, an interaction and blending between these  3 different art- forms responding to the same period of time, through three diverse experiences.

And this is how the Bursary Award will be beneficial to me as an artist:

The “Reframed” Bursary Award will benefit my dance practice in a way that will allow me to spend time in the studio researching, investigating and developing new dance work.

Coming out of my experience working on “Im – I am” with the Butter Museum and with support  from the Firkin Crane (2019), I am quite clear on the next process that I would like to pursue. This method that came out of that Percent for Art scheme saw me working with a musician to develop new work. 

I felt that the work could have had a third dimension in terms of a written text and this is what I would like to explore here with this investigation ,“Thrice Works”.

The experience of having time in the studio in the Firkin Crane to develop that piece, as with the time generously given for Samskaras (2017) leaves me in no doubt that I would be able to make the most out of this bursary award.

Coming out of this major period of Lockdown and with the relative easing of restrictions, I am both clear about and excited at the possibility of getting back into the studio to work on a new idea. For many artists the lockdown has brought a renewed conviction to their practices, and for me the Firkin Crane is the right place to be in Cork City making new dance happen.

This opportunity would widen my field of interaction, having the chance to engage with other artists, creating a collaboration around a new idea.. 

This is how I will engage with Firkin Crane:

To document my work:

For this to happen smoothly we would create a balance of self recorded photos and videos with professional help also at other times. We would expect to have a photographer, video maker or both coming to document the development of the work at important junctures.

And share my progress:

For our “Thrice Works” project  I will create an ongoing documentation of the research using both my Instagram account and Facebook page. 


Sara’s Bursary plans were put on hold during this second lockdown. At the beginning she thought about adapting her plans to the current situation and work with her collaborators from home, but she says the desire to move freely in the dance studio rather than in one square metre in her bedroom, and working with them in person made the waiting worth it. She did work in the background in her head and on paper around ideas that she would like to try and develop when they meet. She thinks somehow it made a difference having this big gap from her first session in the studio, giving her time to rethink and allow more ideas to happen.

As promised Sara documented her time in the studio with Ilse de Ziah and Valeria Vendetti during December 2020. 

Thrice Works

Choreography by Sara Hernandez / Text by Valeria Vendetti / Music by Ilse de Ziah / Video by Eoin O’ hAnnracháin

Choreography by Sara Hernandez / Text by Valeria Vendetti / Music by Ilse de Ziah / Photo Credit Dave Crowley


Come back. Over and out. Out. Out. Out-side-Outside time goes by while I come back. I age. Again. Against. Time goes by, while I come back. Back in this space I called home and allow for stillness, while time moves away. A way. One way. One way only. Frictions.
Time goes by, I lag behind.

I raise my gaze, move beyond the terrarium.
She stays still longer, to allow for movement.
Swooping motions on a watery ground. The dancer floats on a pond.
Her hand makes out of a witch claw clasps her jaws. It pulls her skin. Face hollows. Blue eyes fall on the background as the body takes over. A struggle within.

Pain. She is ensnared. Entrapped. Enthralled. As a mongoose, she mulls over a longing that lied beyond her rich. She’s drowning in stillness. Ensnared in time, sucked in space. The ground takes over while her hands bury her head. They keep her straight. Straight. Stray. Stay. Still.

I stay still longer, no movement allowed. I restrain my movements as she contains hers within stillness. A confined movement – do you struggle to allow the stillness to move you. Where do you accompany yourself too? 

There is a remnant of joyful gatherings and the placid surprise of an unknown touch. A gaze longs for a vibrating landscape.

Breathe. Stay still. Come back. One way only.
In this space I called home I’m displaced.
Time goes by and I come back.