Updated: Mar 27, 2020
By Valentina Giraldo Working in this industry raises a lot of questions regardless of how or why you go about it - “Valentina, you’re a bellydancer?? So, you’re pursuing psychology as a real career not dance right?””. For some odd reason, society loves to debate what constitutes my career but why can’t they be both? My art is me and if my art isn’t raising questions, am I even doing it right? I am on a mission to fight social norms, to be political if I want to, and to raise awareness in a world that conforms. Art is something, I think, should bring about questions of reality. With this dance, I have learned questions are some of the most valuable pieces of information one can have.
As a human being, I am always having a mini existential crisis whether it is in the car or at the supermarket, sometimes even in the shower, but there has been one that has marked me for good. About a year and a half ago I realized that I wanted my art and profession to be more than just me, I wanted to fight for something bigger. I kept finding myself questioning how take on this feat and I realized the answer was simple – a collaboration between my two worlds. So, I went ahead and applied for an internship with the United Nations Association. As of January 2020, I have been studying global issues such as women’s empowerment, social injustice, and political matters in the Middle East and globally. I’ve always been fascinated with subjects that have global influence. There’s something very intriguing about being able to transcend boundaries, as us dancers who are not Middle Eastern can attest to. Throughout my studies, I have realized that spheres of influence are found in every corner. Whether it is political, social, psychological, or artistic, it is leaving an impression on the world around it. With this knowledge, I feel that the discovery of more questions means that I am on the right track but also makes me realize my own ignorance. After struggling with the two worlds of academia and art, I have realized that the combination of these two worlds has made me more connected to myself than ever. My academia deserves the vulnerability my art provides, and my art deserves the richness of my academia. Everything that I do from here on out, I intend to do in a way that gives back to Middle Eastern community, especially the women, that has given me my art. I hope this inspires you to create art with intent but, more importantly treat it with the respect and kindness it deserves.
Valentina Giraldo is originally from Columbia and studied Bellydance in Argentina. She now splits her time in both Orlando and Miami, FL. She is a member of Exquisite Entertainment and Valerick Molinary's Sukar. She is studying at the University of Central Florida. www.valentinagiraldo.com