Rebecca Valls is an Associate Professor of Dance at the University of Houston where she teaches dance education, dance history, modern technique, teaching artistry, and senior projects. She is the director of the UH Young Audiences Touring Company and a recipient of the Ross M. Lence Teaching Award in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (2013). In 2018, she began a UH Continuing Education program in partnership with Young Audiences of Houston titled Arts for Learning Lab that trains professional artists to be Teaching Artist in the schools. In 2019, ALL received a National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) Grant.
As an independent choreographer, she produced and choreographed the Memoirs of the Sistahood series – evening-length, multi-disciplinary works based on her large Catholic family, with sculptor Babette Beaullieu of New Orleans, and film maker Deborah Schildt of Anchorage. They received a Houston Arts Alliance grant and a National Performance Network Grant to produce/tour works in New Orleans and Houston: Chapter One (2007), Chapter Two: House (2009), Chapter Three: Ave Maria (2011), and Chapter Four: Sacred Trails (2013), and a version of Chapter Four: Trail of Dresses was performed in Chicago at the Going Dutch Festival (2016).
Her solo Red Square has toured to the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Tempe Performing Arts Center in Tempe, Harvest Chicago Dance Festival at Ruth Page Arts Center in Chicago, and the WestFest Dance Festival in New York City. The solo is performed by Teresa Chapman and Valls.
In 2013, Valls was a guest choreographer for Core Performance Company in Atlanta, Georgia and her new work, Web, was performed at the Calanwolde Center Atlanta and the Florida Dance Festival in Tampa. In February of 2015, she was a guest choreographer & teacher at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania where she set her dance, Drift.
In Louisiana, Valls served as Company Director /Choreographer for Moving South Dance Company where her choreography was funded by numerous state grants from the Louisiana Arts Council and performed in New Orleans, Houston, Washington D.C. and France. Since residing in Texas, Valls' choreography has been presented by Diverse Works, BarnStorm Dance Fest, Big Range Dance Festival, Chrysalis Dance Company, JCC Dance Month, Weekend of Texas Contemporary Dance at Miller Outdoor Theatre (4x), San Jacinto College, Stephen F. Austin University, Houston High School for the Visual and Performing Arts, and Rice University where she served as director of the dance program and Rice Dance Theatre.
As a Teaching Artist for 28 years, Valls designs movement lessons with cross curricular links for elementary schools and conducts professional development workshops for teachers on school campuses. She is the director and choreographer of Becky Valls and Company, a performing group with Young Audiences of Houston that tours two dance/science performances titled Dance of the Insects and For the Birds performed by Toni Valle and Joanie Trevino.
Valls' research focuses on arts integration practices and how children learn through movement. For five years she researched the integration of science and dance with the principal and teachers of the UH Charter School (K-5th)in the Science Dance Project, and documented how students construct knowledge of science concepts through dance. An article on the research was published in 2019 in Research in Dance Education international journal, titled " Five Years of Integrating Science and Dance: A Qualitative Inquiry of Constructivist Elementary School Teachers"
In February 2015, Valls collaborated with UH engineer professor/neuroscientist, Dr. Pepe Contreras-Vidal who specializes in developing algorithms that read electrical activity in the brain. Valls performed Red Square as part of the Blaffer Art Museum Innovation Series at UH Quintero Theatre in a brain cap embedded with electrodes to track brainwaves which were projected on stage. The brain waves controlled the intensity of the lighting design. This demonstration, Your Brain on Dance, was invited to be presented at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C. during Innovation Week in September 2015 and in 2017 she performed at the conference in Valencia, Spain, Your Brain on Art.
Valls holds a Masters’ of Fine Arts in Choreography from Sarah Lawrence College in New York where her thesis work was selected by the American College Dance Festival Association for the national performance at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.
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Becky received tenure at University of Houston and is now an Associate Professor.