Steven James Velez is Puerto Rican. He was born in Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico. He started his first practice of movement while studying Karate, Judo, Kung Fu, and Khatas. After becoming a black belt in Khatas at the age of 13, Steven discovered his passion for movement and transitioned to dance shortly after. Steven moved to San Juan in 2004 where he was accepted to the University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras to study dance and theater. Steven discovered his passion for contemporary dance while working under Petra Bravo, a Professor at the University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras and founder of the company HINCAPIE. He joined HINCAPIE and was given the opportunity to dance in the festival, Fiestas Coreograficas, in pieces by Petra Bravo, Norberto Collazo, Viveca Vazquez, as well as his own work.
In 2009, Steven joined the company ANDANZA which allowed him to dance the repertory of many choreographers from Puerto Rico, Spain, Brasil, Canadá, and many others. In addition to being a company member, Steven was a teacher in the school of Andanza and several other establishments until 2015, when he moved to North Carolina and started working with the Black Irish Company. In 2016 Steven joined Blackbox Dance Theater, directed by Michelle Pearson; and joined OM Grown Dancers from 2017 to 2019. In addition to dancing, Steven teaches all over the triangle and state. Steven has been a member of ShaLeigh Dance Works since 2018.
“I think Shaleigh Dance Works is a laboratory where everyone can research their own experience under the direction of an amazing human, plus the training we receive. I wish we could train even more – if we could expand this and find sustainability it will have an amazing impact in the community, and for us as individual dancers.”