Meet Valerie Green, founder and artistic director of Long Island City-based modern dance company Dance Entropy, as well as Green Space, the beautiful 1,800-square-foot studio Dance Entropy has called home since 2005. At Green Space, which attracts a wide range of visiting choreographers, Valerie has successfully launched the performance festivals Fertile Ground, Take Root, and the Green Space Blooms Festival. An Ohio native, Valerie set out for New York upon graduation from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and has been dancing, choreographing, and teaching—at local cultural institutions like Socrates Sculpture Park and far-flung destinations such as Serbia—ever since.
So tell us what you’re currently working on?
I’m working on a show at the Kupferberg Center for the Arts at Queens College on May 15th. It’s existing repertoire. One piece we haven’t done in over a year and we’re getting it back on its feet. I’m also going to be collaborating with some people from Slovenia, creating and performing work inspired by the Titanic.
Were you intrigued by dance at a young age? What are some of your earliest memories?
My parents put me in dance class at age three. I suppose I liked it, because I never stopped. I was always dancing—making up dances in the living room, dance-line in high school. I was always into sports, too, and had to decide if I wanted more sports or dance. I chose dance. And dancers are athletes, too.
Was there an aha moment when you realized you wanted this passion for dance to become your career?
When I went to college, I was a jazz dancer and didn’t know where I fit into the dance world. I didn’t care for musical theatre, I wasn’t a ballerina, I didn’t love tap. Once I found modern dance I knew it was where I was supposed to be. I moved to New York when I was twenty-two. If I didn’t come I wouldn’t know what was possible.
Where do you find inspiration?
I’m inspired by other cultures, other artists’ works, and life experiences—being present among different forms. It could be something I read, a piece of artwork. It varies, but usually I have a couple of ideas floating around. It could be for a couple of years that I have this seed of a thought that then becomes more firm, clear. For one dance, I saw the imagery of flowers. My latest work I just had images of tables and knives until the work revealed itself to me. My eyes are open to what’s around me.
What compels you to do what you do?
With dance, some people are lifers and some do it only for a certain amount of time. I’d like to think I’m a lifer. My ideas are always churning and I want to create. I always have inspiration. Choreographing is not a struggle for me; it’s natural, organic, and I like working with my dancers. It occurs to me what I want to do and I do it in my voice. I can’t make my art for someone else’s needs.