Artist Spotlight: Pieter Parking Space

Please join us in welcoming our sixth and final Pieter Parking Space Artist-in-Residence: Vanessa Cruz!

Vanessa Hernández Cruz (she, her, hers) is an emerging interdependent Chicana disabled dance artist & Disability Justice activist. She is from the unceded lands of the Tongva & Kizh territories colonially known as Los Angeles, California. She graduated from California State University Long Beach with her BA in Dance Science.

In 2022, she was selected into the first national cohort for LatinXtentions year long Dance Mentorship Program led by David Herrera. She was also selected into The Box LA Pieter Parking Space Residency based in Los Angeles, CA where she is currently working on producing a dance piece. In 2021 she was a part of the Arts Unchained International virtual residency where she developed her dance film titled “11th Hour”. 

Her dance film “DNA: Disability Not Ability” was selected by IKOUII to be exhibited in their virtual art show “Without Labels” and won the Honorable Mention award. In 2020, her dance film “Nycto-Eternity” won The Dance Cinema Award from Frostbite International Film Festival and was recently screened for The Midnight Film Festival in New York. Vanessa’s choreographic work received the award for Cultural Diplomacy for Innovation in Choreography from Ballet Beyond Borders in 2019.

Through her dance films & choreographic work, Vanessa delivers thought-provoking dance work that ignites the imagination & explores disability aesthetics in contemporary forms and experimentation. She is shifting the dance field away from the inspirational-porn perspective of disability into a humanistic perspective.

Vanessa is committed to generating substantial changes in the dance field and making the dance field an equitable  space for our multi-marginalized disabled communities. 


Residency Intention

It’s been almost 3 years since I have had the opportunity to dance on stage! As a disabled immunocompromised dance artist, it has been especially difficult starting my dance career given the circumstances of the pandemic. So I am extremely thrilled to have this opportunity to dance in a spacious & accessible environment! 

For my time here, I am setting time to heal and ground my body. I am taking time to reconnect with my walker (her name is Pluto) since I haven’t danced in a spacious environment for a long time. I am finding & exploring liberation in my disabled body and dance practice through crip time. Crip-Time: “A concept arising from disabled experience that addresses the ways that disabled/chronically ill and neurodivergent people experience time (and space) differently than non-disabled folk.”

A good chunk of my residency I will be developing a piece titled “Exit?”. This piece is an abstraction of the idea of finding home. This will draw upon my personal experiences of the ebbs & flows of the feelings of belonging & isolation. I am also interested in exploring how my mixed media artwork can be connected to my choreography. This piece is the beginning of a bigger project that I am developing for the near future that will expand upon the idea of finding home & building a sanctuary for my disability community. 

I am excited to present disability dance for our Los Angeles community!


Stay tuned for more info soon on Vanessa’s closing public program in May. To learn more about our residency program in partnership with The Box, visit:

This program is made possible in part by grants from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture, and the California Arts Council.