Exit12 Dance Company presents stories of war through stage performances, workshops, lectures, and film to promote healing and peace building. Exit12 investigates the war experience by exploring the solider, the family, the perceived enemy, our shared humanity, homecomings, and trauma.
Román Baca, a New Mexico native, is a classically trained dancer and choreographer. In 2001, recognizing his desire to defend the defenseless, he took a hiatus from dance and enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, serving as a machine-gunner and fire-team leader in Fallujah, Iraq during the Iraq War.
After the war, Mr. Baca returned to dance and co-founded Exit12 Dance Company, which tells veterans’ stories choreographically, to increase cross-cultural understanding and heal divisions. He has choreographed and championed dance works that explore the military veteran experience and the impact of war on civilians and families.
Mr. Baca has presented his work at National Summits for the National Initiative for Arts & Health in the Military, The Maltings Art Centre, King’s College London, The Mayo Clinic’s Humanities in Healthcare Symposium, TEDXTUBerlin, TEDX San Antonio, TED@NYC, and is the choreographer and subject of the award-winning short documentary Exit 12: Moved by War produced by Square Inc. He has also led choreographic workshops at schools, universities, and veteran’s centers to inspire military veterans, victims of war, and civilians through the power of dance.
Mr. Baca received his MFA in choreography with merit at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London. At Trinity Laban he solidified his voice as a choreographer, and researched, choreographically, the methodology of increasing understanding of war trauma through live performative events.
Outside of his studies in London, Mr. Baca provided production support to the critically acclaimed play Soldier On’s UK tour including a six-week run on the West End. Mr. Baca also served on the leadership team that delivered the first UK Veterans Art Festival alongside the 2019 UK Invictus Trials in Sheffield, UK.
Mr. Baca is the recipient of the 2019 Fulbright Selma Jeane Dance Lecture Award, a 2017-2018 US-UK Fulbright Postgraduate Award to the Trinity Laban Conservatoire in London, a 2018 HillVet Nominee, a 2015 New York State Veterans’ Hall of Fame Inductee, an 2014 Art and Healing Network Awardee, and has served as a fellow with Veterans in Global Leadership, The Mission Continues, and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.
Lirico Spinto Tenor Jesús Daniel Hernández was born and raised in the lovely town of Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, México. As a child his biggest dream was to be a singer. He wanted to sing like Pedro Infante and Jorge Negrete, two big idols of Mexico. It was very common to hear young Jesus singing around the halls of his middle school in Juárez, Mexico. It was during that time that he saw on tv the concert with the Three Tenors and his interest for classical music was born.
After hearing that concert he would try to imitate his new idols, providing new kinds of headaches to his family with his higher singing notes. He bought his first guitar at the age of 14, a wonderful companion that has lasted until this moment. On this instrument he learned how to accompanied himself. When he was 16 years old he immigrated to United States where he finished his high school and for a brief moment sang with a Mariachi band.
Even though life took him down different paths, taking different types of jobs to sustain his family, his dream to be a singer never disappeared from his mind. In 2003 Jesus enlisted in the U.S ARMY in 2003. At the end of that same year he volunteered to go to Iraq to serve in OIF (Operation Iraqi Freedom). One night outside of the military Camp of Taji while in Iraq, the tenor remembered his dreams of being an opera singer while reading the Alchemist by Paolo Coelho.
Even though he enjoyed his job as a soldier, he felt that something was missing in his life, and that was his desire to sing. In 2007, while stationed in Texas, the tenor learned that one of his child idols was going to perform in San Antonio, TX. Upon seeing the price of the tickets he wrote an email to the then director of the San Antonio Opera, Mark Richter, asking him if they offered a military discount, so he could see his idol Placido Domingo. The opera director graciously told him not to worry about it, that the ticket was free for him for serving his country.
At the end of the concert the young tenor went backstage to ask his idol for an autograph. While Maestro Domingo was signing his program he asked the young tenor if he liked his concert and his music, to which the young soldier, responded that he always wanted to sing like him. Maestro Domingo invited him to sing for him in his dressing room in an impromptu audition, and after listening to the young tenor, Maestro Domingo invited him to be part of his prestigious Domingo-Cafritz young artist program in Washington, DC in 2008.
While in the program, Jesús participated in different concerts and operas with Placido Domingo. Since then the Tenor Jesús Daniel Hernández has been dedicated to singing to all kinds of audiences with his beautiful, sweet, and powerful voice all over the world. All thanks to a dream of a young boy, which he pursued until his dream became reality.