Toni Leago Valle

 

Artistic Director 6'

 

Choreographer, Dancer 

Company Manager, Karen Stokes Dance

University of Houston Dance Faculty

Artist Statement

 

As Artistic Director and choreographer for 6’, I create spoken word and dance works that challenge the audience to address political and sociological issues. I am driven by the idea that art holds the ability to shift cultural paradigms. By giving varied perspectives on societal and cultural beliefs through my art, I strive to change society’s belief systems that one set of rules should apply to everyone.  I think these belief systems not only lock us into harmful patterns; they keep us closed to the evolution of ideas and behavior, therefore blocking our full potential.  Children, women, men, humans - we are a diverse species with infinite choices, each specific to ourselves. I believe that true change comes from the individual, and by extension, society and culture.

 

I have 25 years sober and worked for 7 years in an adolescent treatment center. These life experiences define my art content with two ideas:  1) My art is embedded with the belief that human understanding, interaction, and tolerance is the purpose of human existence and catalyst for growth, and 2) humor is the best medicine.

 

My company name, 6’, and my work reflect the central theme of human connection and relationships as the healing component of human adversity.  Since 1999, I have created and produced six evening-length concerts and over 20 repertory works on variations of this theme.  My first concert, It’s All Relative, addressed belief systems, archetypes, and the generation gap through the eyes of my Italian family.  CRACKED in 2006 and an encore in 2016 tackled how women have been conditioned to obsess on their bodies and sex through family, society, religion, and media enforcement, and the consequences of that conditioning on women. Tetris, against a backdrop of the 80-90’s, portrayed the despair and isolation of a confused generation, reflecting on comparisons of life decades ago to current issues of today.  In familiar themes (Why buy the milk when you can have the cow for free?) lies a subtext of fear, a lack of human tolerance and understanding, and mass inertia.  Baptism and Regifting Lions asked the question of environmental circumstance vs personal will; why certain individuals can recover from mental and physical illness and others cannot. All of my works handle these topics with truthfulness and humor.

 

My latest work, Never Again, is no exception.  For the past five years, I have been troubled by the political process that is systematically stripping women of their basic human rights.  I believe this is possible because there is a general apathy that keeps people from educating themselves on issues and acting on it. Texas Government and religious organizations have systematically blocked women’s right to reproductive healthcare and choice.  I have been debating on how to best address this issue in a voice that people can hear (I’m not interested in doing the Angry Woman Show.) The solution is by style- nNever Again will be portraying the Texas Legislation and Women’s Rights backlash through a vaudevillian lens, with dark humor and wit.

 

Join Me.

 

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