"Long, muscular...there is no limitation, there is always more to keep exploring...
It's nice to have a little knowledge to use in different backgrounds."

Dancing beyond Ballet

Originally from Venezuela, Vanessa Valecillos began dancing professionally at the age of 15 when she joined the Ballet Nacional de Caracas. After touring throughout the Americas, she came to the United States to get her Bachelor’s degree from The North Carolina School of the Arts. After moving to Chicago, she danced with the Lyric Opera before joining Luna Negra Dance Theater as a founding member. After leaving Luna Negra, she joined Ballet Hispánico, where she performed until her retirement in 2014. Valecillos returned to Chicago and teaches ballet at Lou Conte Dance Studio and Northwestern University.

December 02, 2017:

woman dancer in a red dress doing a back bend and kicking a leg

"I take this as a responsibility and a challenge to make sure that I'm mentoring the smart, intelligent, brave women who are going to be the next generation of arts leaders."

Luna Negra beginnings

"Carmen was a piece we had done before...a completely different cast

but I really admired the women

I was dancing with."

Final show with Luna Negra in 2009