MODERN AND CONTEMPORARY FACULTY
Elsa Valbuena is one of Colombia’s Contemporary Dance pioneers. She studied Music and Visual Arts before dedicating her life to Contemporary Dance.
In 1982 Elsa founded Gaudere Danza in Cali, Colombia, where she was born.
About Gaudere Danza
Gaudere Danza derives its name from the Latin word meaning to rejoice as it is in the process of the work that I find special joy. Gaudere’s objective is creation, collaboration and communication through the language of the human body. It is a constantly changing organism. Each project begins with its own particular concept and inquiry. The outcome reveals itself unfolding in layers of movement, images that send us to the interior of our being towards a unique vision of time and undoubtedly to the human condition. The plasticity, sensual precise physicality and poetry contained in each piece show an esthetic vision which is imprinted by its founder Elsa Valbuena.
Moving to the city of Bogota in 1986 she began an interesting exchange between the classically trained dancer and the contemporary language of dance. This took her to soon become assistant artistic director /resident choreographer to the Compania Colombiana de Ballet until 1992.
Since her arrival in 1993 to the Tampa Bay area she has established herself as a dancer, choreographer and teacher. She co-founded Moving Current, a choreographer’s collective in 1997 and served as co-artistic director for the following four years in Tampa, FL.
Elsa’s work has been presented in numerous national and international dance venues and festivals in Colombia, Costa Rica, Italy, Spain, Venezuela and the United States. The continued collaboration with artists both in her field and in other mediums is essential in her work. Elsa has created collaborative works with Ernest Gusella, Tomiyo Sasaki, Dee Moses, Alvaro Tobon, Alexander Gumbel,Mario Barrios, Miguel Isaza, Alejandro Hernandez,German Arrieta, Eduardo Pradilla. Claire Laronde, Joan Epstein, Ricardo Neira and Guillermo Gaviria. While developing her own work she has been a noted performer/collaborator in the works of Alvaro Restrepo, Cho Kyoo-Hyun, Liliana Villegas, Federico Restrepo as well as with numerous independent choreographers. Her most recent work is a full evening length piece commissioned by the Ministry of Culture in Colombia 2014, Impronta en Sus Ojos that toured five different mayor cities in Colombia and culminated in Sevilla, Spain at the renounded ITALICA International dance Festival, 2015.
A dedicated choreographer and teacher, Elsa served as guest choreographer and adjunct professor at the University of South Florida in Tampa, FL including the Native American /Aboriginal dance theater piece “Dancing with the Wheel of Ever Returning” directed by Gretchen Warren. She has also taught and presented her work in dance programs at the University of Tampa, Eckerd College, St. Petersburg College, Hillsborough Community College, Florida International University in Miami, FL and the Florida Dance Festival 1995-98. In the summer of 2007 Elsa took part as guest teacher and choreographer in the “Fusion Project”, an intensive dance education program conceived by Gerard Alexander and sponsored by the Atlanta Ballet. Along side the tour of her recent work Impronta en Sus Ojos 2014-15, Elsa has been invited to teach master classes and workshops in various major cities in Colombia including the 2a Biennale Internacional de Danza en Cali.
An active and creative performer and collaborator in the Tampa Bay Area, state and nationally, Elsa was awarded the prestigious State of Florida, Division of Cultural Affairs and Florida Arts Council. Individual Artist Fellowship and twice received the Arts Council of Hillsborough County’s Individual Artist Grants. In Bogota. Colombia she was awarded the Beca de Creación in collaboration with Ricardo Neira and Robert Breckenridge for “Territorios”1990 and most recently in 2014 awarded the commission of a full evening piece from the Ministry of Culture in Colombia.
In 2001, Elsa entered a new realm of movement exploration and investigation. Through her work with the Arts and Medicine Program at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer and Research Institute, Elsa began working with the creative process and its integration with the holistic approach to the therapeutic and healing possibilities that the arts, in particular dance, can have on people and their surroundings. Her work has included a series of programs exploring the experiential movement world of adults and elders. She has guest taught dance and choreographed for FOREVER MOVING, a multigenerational troupe the Hillsborough Arts Council sponsored at the Life Enrichment Center. Elsa also created a series of classes exploring the experiential movement world of aging for the University of South Florida, Center for Arts and Aging and the School of Aging Studies.