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.
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 Compañía 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.
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.
A dedicated choreographer and teacher, Elsa served as guest choreographer and adjunct professor at the University of South Florida, 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.
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.