With every step, I dance for freedom / For the rights of all to express, without exception / As a Mexican woman in a foreign lands / I bring unique perspectives, struggles, and cultural stand / Misunderstood, marginalized, and fighting stereotypes / Through my work, I shed light on these realities / But I am aware of my privilege, so I strive to amplify / The voices and experiences of those who are marginalized and shy.
I am a survivor, a warrior of domestic strife / Using dance as a form of healing, for myself and for life/ A mental health advocate, I bring awareness to the mind/ Through my art, I delve into emotion, memory, and entwine / My soul-searching process, unearthing movement and grace / Creating raw works, in intriguing and singular worlds./
The power of art and self-expression, I firmly believe / With every step, I give body and psyche a voice to receive/ Exploring relationships, imagination, and memories so dear / Conversations, music, all enhance my creative sphere / My work represents diverse individuals, celebrates femininity's heart / Fostering self-love, acceptance, and advocating for a world with art./
Inclusivity and diversity, a journey I am on/ Continuously educating, creating a safe and empowering dawn / So dance with me, let us celebrate and be free In a world where anything is possible, for you and for me.
ARTISTIC DIRECTOR | CHOREOGRAPHER
Valeria Y. Gonzalez is a Mexican American multi-disciplinary dance artist based in Austin, Texas. She is a director, producer, dancer, and choreographer with a background in contemporary dance and television production. She holds an MFA in Dance with a concentration in Performance and Pedagogy from NYU Tisch School of the Arts.
Valeria's dance journey began with her studies under Ballet Master Hector Hernandez in Guadalajara, Mexico, and continued with a scholarship to attend the Ballet Divertimento dance program in Montreal, Canada. She further honed her skills with additional studies at the Alvin Ailey School in New York City. She participated in various dance intensives, including Gaga in Tel Aviv and NY, Movement Invention Project, SBDNY Module, B12, TL Collective, Szalt, Gallim Dance, Vim Vigor, and Pirouetteando. Valeria has performed the works of choreographers such as Gioconda Barbuto (Nederlands Dans Theater), MADBOOTS, David Pressault (Toronto Dance Theater), Eric Miles (Les Ballet Jazz De Montreal), Pamela Pietro (NYU Tisch), among others.
In addition to her dance training, Valeria also pursued a career in communications and TV production, earning a bachelor's degree from the New York Institute of Technology. After graduation, she worked as an Associate Producer for NBC New York, gaining valuable experience in the field.
Valeria was a Lecturer of Dance at the University of Texas at El Paso Dance and Theater Department from 2019-2021. Simultaneously, she studied and graduated from the Women and Gender Studies Certificate Program at UTEP.
"I worked closely with Valeria on her MFA thesis and she exhibited a real passion for feminist politics and bridging different disciplines and forms of research into her creative practice and choreographic vision. Through the soul-searching process she developed a clear voice as a Mexican American artist, speaking boldly to the female psyche and experience. She demonstrated a real ease with the working process of her pieces and produced a piece of enigmatic beauty and kinetic rigor. She has an innate feel for drama and risk. Her movements can be soft and vulnerable one moment and then explosive and ferocious the next moment. Her work contains a singular movement sensibility, a unique and timely point of view that needs to be heard. As a professional in the field, Valeria is a hard worker, and is able to juggle different aspect of her life as a dance artist in the city, while maintaining a peak level of physical and creative excellence." - Rashaun Mitchel (Cunningham Trustee, Guggenheim Fellow)
In 2019 VALLETO held its first dance intensive in New York. The Intensives are held twice annually and are open to participants from around the world. These intensives serve as artistic incubators and provide dance training incorporating contemporary dance methods, holistic practices, and the opportunity to collaborate with other dancers. The summer intensive is for semi-professional dancers and culminates in a live performance for an audience.
In 2020, Valeria also founded VALLETO Heal, a holistic community platform for individuals from all walks of life. This platform offers embodied workshops, deep discussions, projects, and retreats led by Valeria and a diverse group of guest healers who share their knowledge and expertise in healing practices. VALLETO Heal holds various sessions and workshops focusing on healing practices such as movement, somatics, meditation, journaling, energy work, and more.
"Valeria’s curious and open minded. There is a quixotic and playful quality to her dancing that partners naturally with her focused and receptive nature in the studio. She is an inventive, hard working talent and is exactly the kind of artist that this medium needs to promote contemporary dance not only here in the US, but also in her native Mexico." - Shannon Gillen (VIM VIGOR)
Valeria is now based in Austin, Texas, where she continues to create work, teach, and choreograph, inspiring dancers to embrace their power and express themselves unapologetically.
As a Mexican American intersectional feminist educator and choreographer, my artistic research and teaching philosophy focuses on the creation of safe spaces for the uninhibited self expression and autonomy of the human body. Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are at the core of my creative practice and most often a springboard for my choreographic and pedagogical ideologies. Every human being deserves to have access to an education where they have the freedom and permission to discover their own unique voice. Through the process of finding my individual and choreographic voice, I have been able to empower my students through collaboration and developed work rooted in community and safety. My teaching philosophy serves as a blueprint with which I both research my lived experience as a womyn and help others discover areas of themselves, through the body, that are in need of expression, healing, and physical and emotional release. Through the communal construction of a safe and exploratory environment, I encourage my students to be vulnerable, and to explore the strength and artistry in their honest expression. My hope is to give them the opportunity to unleash their most honest and vulnerable version of themselves. Though I am the teacher of the class, I always interact with my students as if they were already leaders and professionals in the field. I allow them to share their ideas in order to experience the class as if we are on a journey, growing and learning together. In my dance technique classes I focus on composition, flexibility, strength, muscular endurance, musicality, rituals, alignment, and artistry. My goal is to inspire self expression, resilience, discipline and reflection. My ideal classroom environment is one that is safe, and where the students can participate continuously through their own listening, observation, practice and their insights of the class.
Valeria's classes take you on a physical and sensorial journey to awaken the unconscious, and emotional inner knowledge. Valeria cultivates a safe space for the students to have a deeper connection to the movement practices. Her workshops also focus on exploring partnering dynamics, undoing old movement habits, and unveiling the psyche through a variety of contemporary dance methodologies, improvisation, and acting methods. Her goal is to invite the students to have more awareness of their bodies, their minds, and their spirits to find freedom in the uncomfortable. Valeria encourages her dancers to tap into their imaginations, and their desires for unapologetic self expression.
VALLETO CHOREOGRAPHIC / CREATIVE PROCESS
Valeria’s choreographic process excavates deep emotional states and memories through movement research, shapes, geometry, voice, the outer and inner world, sound, curiosity and collaborative exploration. She safely invites her dancers to be vulnerable and allows them to unveil the many layers that our collective consciousness hides.
Valeria is interested in the creature we all hold within. The curious creature that needs to be fed, the creature we had abandoned when we were children. Her goal is to awaken, and allow uninhibited self-expression in all aspects of the process to happen.
"Valeria pushed me to places emotionally and physically that I normally shy away from, but in the most honest and safe way where I felt entirely supported by everyone in the studio. She created a safe space from day one, and set the tone of honesty to all of us having a deeper connection and conversation every day. Her movement practices feed on the energy of the room, riding the impulse of where to push us next. Nothing she did was predictable and I love that. Instead of feeling like her (or any of the teachers) were "at the front of the room" I felt like we were on a journey together, growing together, and sharing ideas."