ROBERTO VILLANUEVA, born in the Philippines, is the Executive & Artistic Director and Founder of BalaSole Dance Company. He has 30 years of combined professional experience in the field of dance as a producer, director, performer, choreographer, adjudicator and educator in the U.S., Europe and Asia, as well as over 25 years of professional background in business, financial, non-profit, operations, organizational and arts management.
Roberto established BalaSole Dance Company in 2010 because he believed there was a great opportunity and urgency to address the imbalances that he saw and experienced for at least 20 years in the field of dance. He knew that it was time to launch an "inclusive" and "diverse" dance company that would help artists seeking artistic freedom and mentorship, as well as those who might be overlooked or marginalized; elevate the professional field of dance; educate, connect and inspire people; as well as promote "individuality" and "self-worth." He also wanted to help the field of dance better articulate its value proposition and those in the field to have a more holistic understanding of the business of dance.
As a philanthropist, Roberto personally funds at least 70 percent of BalaSole Dance's productions and 100 percent of its outreach programs--serving seniors, artists, college students, and children. He also recently began funding community outreach programs for financially disadvantaged or food insecure families, as well as senior citizens, in the Philippines through Frenz4hope.
Roberto currently serves as the chief administrative officer and director of operations for the Fashion Institute of Technology's (FIT) communications and external relations area. He previously served as director of Dance and adjunct professor at the College of Mount Saint Vincent where he developed its dance program, and as arts education outreach administrator for the renowned and iconic Dance Theatre of Harlem (DTH), leading a department that provides arts education to K-12 schools nationwide and community engagement programs. He also served as DTH's group sales manager for the company's New York City seasons at City Center for five years. He conducts seminars and workshops for college/university dance programs covering topics such as audience engagement and creative process, basic financial literacy, strategic career planning, entrepreneurship, and leadership,
Roberto trained at the Alvin Ailey School, SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Dance and University at Buffalo, where he received his BA in Dance Performance. He previously served
Acclaimed nationally and internationally for his abilities as a dance artist, Roberto has been hailed "for the deftness and technical control of his dancing" (The New York Times). He has been described as "a poetic dancer" (New York Magazine), "powerhouse dancer" (New York Daily News), "breathtaking" (Swiss Newspaper La Liberté), “a phenomenal dancer” (Huffington Post), "an extraordinarily gifted dancer" (Attitude Magazine), "a small powerhouse" (The Village Voice), "a mentor with a mission" (Back Stage New York), "an experienced performer" (TheaterScene.net), "elegantly exquisite dancer" (Broadwayworld.com), and "memorable" (Art Times).
Roberto has produced and directed 20 New York City concert seasons for BalaSole Dance Company and 4 dance productions for the College of Mount Saint Vincent. He has performed at prominent dance venues including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Baryshnikov Arts Center's Jerome Robbins Theater, Alvin Ailey Citigroup Theater, Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), New York Live Arts/Dance Theater Workshop, and Tribeca Performing Arts Center. He has worked with renowned choreographers such as Dwight Rhoden, Kevin Wynn, Milton Myers, and Eleo Pomare. He has performed with dance companies such as Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Alpha Omega Theatrical Dance Company, Steeledance, Marie-Christine Giordano Dance, Pick of the Crop Dance, and Buffalo City Ballet.
Roberto has been commissioned to teach master classes and choreograph for various institutions including the Alpha Omega Theatrical Dance Company, Ballet Philippines, Airdance Philippines, University at Buffalo, East Carolina University, Glendale Community College, and University of the Philippines. He has served on the faculty of Dance Masters of America's Teachers Training School. He has mentored/worked with artists from renowned companies such as the Martha Graham Dance Company, Limón Dance Company, Elisa Monte Dance, Lucinda Childs Dance, Parsons Dance, Metropolitan Opera Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Lar Lubovitch Dance Company, Philadanco, Joffrey Ballet, Les Ballets Trocadero De Monte Carlo, Donald Byrd/The Group, Ballet Frankfurt, Paul Taylor Dance Company, Twyla Tharp Dance, Sokolow Theatre/Dance Ensemble, The Isadora Duncan Dance Company, Giordano Dance Chicago, and Rockettes.
Roberto has received several recognitions/awards including a special scholarship from the school of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and the national title "Mr. Dance of America 1993" from Dance Masters of America. He also received the 2011-2012 Harlem Stage Fund for New Work Award in New York City for the creation and development of his one-man show titled "Pieces of Me: An inside look at a dance artist's journey." In 2012, Roberto was nominated for The Outstanding Filipino American in New York (TOFA-NY) Award under the Arts & Culture category for his achievements as a dance professional. In 2013, Roberto received a "Distinguished Alumni Award" from the University at Buffalo's Theater & Dance Department for his contributions in the field of dance.
In 2013, Roberto served as a grant panelist for the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, appropriating funds made available by the state and city of New York for arts projects in Manhattan. He was also a presenter at the University of Buffalo's 2010 Coast to Coast Arts, Entertainment, and Media Symposium, as well as the National Dance Education Organization's 2010 and 2015 Annual Conferences.
Roberto's involvement in the Filipino-American community includes solo performances for events such as The Outstanding Filipino American in New York 2012 Award ceremony, Lani Misalucha's benefit concert in November 2013 at the Philippine Consulate General NY for the quake victims in Bohol and Cebu, and the 2014 Miss Philippines Quest USA, a franchise of the Miss World Philippines.
In addition to receiving certifications in Fitness and Pilates instructions, Roberto is also an AMERICAN BALLET THEATRE® Certified Teacher in Primary through Level 3 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum.
(CLICK HERE to view Roberto Villanueva's dance portfolio.).
Risa Hertz, Roberto Villanueva, Karmen Wynick
Teal Darkenwald, Thomas Ralabate
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