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Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
Inside Perspectives
Argentine Tangos
United States
New York City
New York
New York, NY

Virginia Kelly

by Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
August 3, 2002
New York, NY
About the Author:

Virginia Kelly

By Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower

Virginia Kelly is an Argentine Tango performer and teacher, as well as a sculptor, relaxation therapist, and animal specialist. Virginia is well known in the NY dance community and presents a Show of her work tonight, August 7, 2002 (see separate review coming soon) at the Gagliardi Gallery, 27 West 20th Street, Suite 400, 917.847.9615, 8:30 PM - 12AM. Virginia can also be reached at mvkelly2000@yahoo.com. Virginia Kelly is the subject of this inside perspective.

August 3, 2002, with Virginia Kelly, at Starbuck's, West 57th Street.

Virginia Kelly

REZ - I'm so excited about your sculpture exhibit at Gagliardi. Why this art gallery?

VK - He's a Tango dancer, as well, Victor Gagliardi, and a photographer. He just published a book and has this photography gallery. He invited me to do an exhibit in his gallery.

REZ - What will I see?

VK - Work in wood, stone, clay - my work and his photos, his personal work. My thing is an event. His work is steady.

REZ - How did you evolve as a sculptor?

VK - I started with art at six years old, and I started with Tango at twenty. From ten to twenty years old, I worked with horses, theater, dance, and singing. It's not that I didn't take Tango seriously. When I started with Tango, I was already into dance. Everything I did was in Buenos Aires. For ten years I was a horseback rider. I used to do 'VOLTEO', dancing on a horse (like in circuses), jumping, and cross-country. So, when I was twenty, I reached Tango. Then Tango took over, and everything else was a hobby.

When I was in Argentina, I was developing a project in art and dance therapy. I met some people, and a psychiatrist from Buenos Aires invited me to come to the US for a vacation. I went to a Milonga at Dancesport and began working there in 2000. I stayed at DanceSport for one year and then moved on to develop art and dance therapy, related to alternative therapy and healing work.

REZ - But, at that point, you obviously did not give up your Tango.

VK - No, but my students sometimes tell me they have heart problems, relationship problems, so some come to see me for healing work, as well. I'm a REIKI therapist, which is the name of a technique that works with energy centers of the body. It accelerates the process of healing. Art and dance are considered to be active meditation. Healing work assists your center, recovers your balance, and channels your energy.

REZ - Tell me about the animals.

VK - I'm also doing healing for animals. I was training horses. I have private clients. I go to their homes. I used to work in a Vet's office that used holistic healing for animals.

REZ - Tell me about your healing work with Tango dancers.

VK - At New Life Resource Center, near Columbus Circle, 212.581.2640, I teach tango and workshops related to healing. At some point my Tango was a priority, and at other points, there were other priorities.

REZ - Speaking of priorities, with the demands of the Tango schedule, which can extend through the night into the next day, plus your healing for dancers and animals, how do you find time for the sculpting work?

VK - I had to put some discipline in my life. Some people ask, 'Why don't you Tango every night? You're spreading yourself so thin?' But, one thing brings you another, and now I am also working on my green card.

I need to raise money for my green card. Lawyers are very expensive, and I have a few.

REZ - When do you work on your sculptures?

VK - When I'm inspired. I have a scholarship from the Art Students League. Because of my recommendations and my portfolio, they chose me. I also work at home and in the park. I bring wood, a stone, chisels, and tools. I'm not using electrical tools. I work by hand.

REZ - Are your sculptures of dancers or animals?

VK - My sculptures are of humans, representing states of my mood. I like the little abstracts with African influence. They represent different states of mind, of human nature, and I use raw materials of clay, wood, and stone.

I relate nature to art, to the primal resources. My work goes back to the origins, when elements of the earth are related to the spiritual, to humans, to plants, to animals, to stone, and to wood.

Virginia Kelly

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