Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Valeria Gonzalez pushes boundaries with Eternal Bonds .2

Manoo Sirivelu
UT Dance students perform “Eternal Bonds .2,” a dance choreographed by Valeria Gonzalez on Nov. 8, 2023.

On stage, a couple yells at one another in a passionate fight. Behind them, the shadow of a different couple hugging projects onto a large, white sheet. The good exists with the bad and the bad exists within the good — a major theme of Eternal Bonds .2, a dance choreographed by Valeria Gonzalez.

Gonzalez created the piece while working as a guest choreographer for the UT Department of Theatre and Dance. The performance will premiere Friday and run through Nov. 17, as a part of the department’s annual production Fall for Dance.

Initially created as an exploration of grief and loss, Gonzalez said she wants to highlight the stories that compose her life and play with ideas of mortality and memory.

“We use a lot of this fabric that represents a placenta,” Gonzalez said. “For me it’s a way of birthing myself new and finding hope within these memories, allowing grief to not be a bad thing (because) I have these moments with me all the time and (they) can give me hope.”

Eternal Bonds .1 premiered last weekend with her company Valleto Dance. A continuation of that piece, Eternal Bonds .2 explores the darker memories that one may be afraid to access, Gonzalez said.

“(The cast and I) came up with this idea of how love can coexist within bad memories and good memories,” Gonzalez said. “We all hold memories that we can still access, and through love, we can liberate from many things, because even if (memories) are dark, the eternal bonds to these are moments of love. … Even in the bad, there’s love.”

Gonzalez said through her work as an artist, she aims to embrace vulnerability. She draws upon her own experiences of oppression and struggles in order to push an important message.

“It’s about impact and bringing (forward) subjects that are not spoken about,” Gonzalez said. “I aim to make people uncomfortable and make them think differently. I want to open people’s minds.”

Performers sway in groups as they explore the themes of grief and loss in the “Eternal Bonds .2” dance choreographed by Valeria Gonzalez on Nov. 8, 2023. (Manoo Sirivelu)

Gonzalez said her inclination towards inclusiveness inspired her to make her dance company all-female and non-binary.

“I (have) dealt with a lot in my life. … I realized that dance was a way for me to liberate myself from all of those things,” Gonzalez said. “I feel that it is part of my responsibility as an artist to bring those subjects into my work, because I have that privilege.”

Dance sophomore Grace Falconer said she eagerly soaked up everything Gonzalez taught them throughout the rehearsal process.

“She does a really great job of incorporating some beautiful modern technique work, with floor work, and then working in the theatrics in there,” Falconer said. “It’s helped me as an artist to find my own personal artistry and to push myself outside of the comfort zone.”

Dance sophomore Drew Phipps said while Eternal Bonds .2 initially felt outside her comfort zone, Gonzalez created a safe environment.

“To be vulnerable with people you have to have that sense of trust, so right away, we were sharing intimate things about our lives to connect with the piece,” Phipps said. “It was okay to explore, (to) just scream and feel uncomfortable and be vulnerable.”

Phipps said working with Gonzalez changed her perspective on what she can explore through her own dance practice.

“She’s very unapologetic. … That’s changed the way that I view dance,” Phipps said, “Even if people don’t want to hear it, if it’s something that you want to be heard, it deserves to have a voice.”

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