Valeria Cossu began her professional career performing at the Opera Lirica in Italy. She went on to join several prestigious international dance and theatre companies such as MAYUMANA, Yllana, and Kaleido. Always the versatile artist, Valeria’s performance career soon expanded beyond into the realms of directing and choreographing.She has worked in Europe as the Assistant Director for John Rando on The Wedding Singer (Spain), and as Associate Director/Choreographer on Ecopolis the Show and Gormiti the Show (Spain and Portugal). Upon moving to NYC, Valeria’s choreography has been seen in Ser o no Cer…Vantes and The Chanukah Miracle Show. She has worked with Salgado Productions as Assistant Director/Associate Choreographer on CANDELA Fueraz y Pasion (Perú), DC-7 The Roberto Clemente Story (Off-Broadway), Zapata the Musical (NYMF), Amigo Duende a New Musical (Museo del Barrio), Song of Solomon (Thespis Festival, awarded Best Director), and Zuccotti Park (Venus/Adonis Festival, awarded Best Director).
In between rehearsals, Valeria answered some questions for us about her creative journey.
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What was the first dance performance you saw and how did it impact you?
I started seeing dance performances really young. My family has always been passionate about classical music, opera, and ballet. Luckily, by the age of 7 I was already introduced to all of this. The first ballet I saw was Giselle. To be really honest, I didn’t feel a connection with it! Don’t get me wrong—I LOVE ballet! But as a young audience member, I was bored! A few years later, a Russian dance company came to my city to perform Romeo and Juliet. I went to see it and it was a revelation! The dancer that was performing the role of Juliet was astonishing! Her perfect ballet technique was supported by the passion and the freshness of the character; she was shining full of life and dancing with her soul. In that moment I understood that no matter which style of dance I would develop in my career, I would always dance with my soul.
Where do you look to find inspiration?
The rhythm of life inspires me! Sometimes I just close my eyes and listen to what’s around. It’s beautiful to find music where, in the beginning, it sounds just like noises. Observing motivates me. A simple smile from a kid on the subway, the way that people walk on the street, the solitude of a person in the crowd of a bar. I also have to say that I have a special connection with nature. The color of a sunset, the sensation of raindrops… It is a direct connection into feelings, and for me dance is about communicating feelings through movement.
What advice would you give to dancers hoping to perform or choreograph professionally?
If you can dream it you can make it! So, go for it and DARE TO GO BEYOND! Most of time, the talent is not enough. To build a professional career it is necessary to work hard, have discipline, and make sacrifices. Through this process you can discover the unique skills you have as an artist and improve them. I consider it to also be very important during a professional process to stay positive, be patient, solve problems (don’t make them bigger). Work peacefully!
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Based in New York, Valeria continues to collaborate with Luis Salgado creating new work with Salgado Productions. See their latest collaboration by purchasing tickets to BOUNTIFUL: A Teacher’s Journey.