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Alumna Spotlight: Valerie Bailey

Name: Valerie (Guido) Bailey

Graduation Year: 2012

Degree(s) Received: Bachelor of Science in Exercise Physiology, Minor in Dance
Valerie Bailey
Why did you choose to attend WVU?

Being a dancer, I've always been fascinated with how the body moves and works. I knew WVU would allow me to get the "best of both worlds" by majoring in Exercise Physiology and minoring in dance. I was able to gain knowledge about the intricate workings of the body through my major while also expanding and developing my artistry through the dance program.

What is your profession now?

I currently live in New York City and am the Program Associate for the Arts at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. The foundation provides national funding to individual artists in contemporary dance, jazz, and theater, as well as the organizations that nurture, present, and produce them. Through this work, I've gotten to learn about more artists than I could've imagined and watch as their artistry, creativity, and work is celebrated. It is truly beautiful.

I also dance and perform professionally, including creating and presenting my own work, as well as performing three seasons with New York City Children's Theater.

What is your most interesting current/upcoming project?

In November 2018, I premiered my newest work "Porch Swing Melodies" in New York City. This work was created to strip away the stereotypes of West Virginia, instead shining a positive light on my home state and on Appalachia. The evening consisted of a dance I choreographed, as well as audio of family stories from my parents, a reading by a West Virginia writer, and a talk-back with the audience. The talk-back allowed the audience to learn more about the intricacies of the stories and of West Virginia. Following the conversation, we performed the dance a second time so the audience could see the work in a new way. I plan to bring this work to West Virginia in near the future.

I also have an ongoing solo project called "Improvs By Request," for which I ask others to provide improvisational prompts - such as a location, a song, a poem, or a thought. I then use that prompt to improvise a short dance which is shared on Instagram (@tinkered_dance). Anyone anywhere is able to participate at any time. Through this project, I strive to share art's unlimited possibilities via spontaneous collaboration.

How do you feel WVU and the College of Creative Arts prepared you for your career?

I felt at home at WVU and with the College of Creative Arts; I felt extremely supported by my professors and classmates. The opportunities to choreograph and perform at WVU helped create a strong foundation to build on, as I knew I would eventually be doing so professionally. Additionally, the College of Creative Arts provided the opportunity to perform Paul Taylor's "Aureole" and guided me as I spent a summer dancing abroad in Italy - experiences that began broadening my understanding of the magnificent dance world. 

Prior to moving to NYC nearly seven years ago to begin my professional dance career, WVU and the College of Creative Arts provided me with advice, care, and resources to make sure I felt confident as I embarked on the new adventure. And they always made sure I knew West Virginia would welcome me home whenever I returned.