Pedro Szalay

Working Through the Power of Movement Fosters the Wonder of Hope and Healing

Healing Arts Program

As a professional dancer in the Ballet Nacional of Caracas in his native Venezuela and later with the New York Dance Theatre, Pedro Szalay was accustomed to starring roles on stage. Today, he shares his love of dance working with others.

Pedro is one of our most popular artists-in-residence. The artist-in-residence initiative began in 2012 with the generous underwriting of donors. It is part of the Dr. Robert L.A. Keeley Healing Arts Program designed to calm the mind, soothe the spirit and, ultimately, heal the body. Pedro first learned about the program from a friend who thought he’d be a perfect fit.

As one of our first artists, Pedro began providing therapeutic movement-based experiences for children, adolescents, and adults in inpatient psychiatry.

He adjusts his approach depending on the patients’ conditions and their moods. Sometimes it’s modern dance, sometimes jazz, sometimes ballet. For patients who have experienced profound distress, creativity inspires hope and fosters healing. A positive day or even a moment can help them heal.

“It’s so rewarding to see a patient smile and feel joy when there may not otherwise be much joy in their lives.

– Pedro


Creativity and Healing

Providing the very best patient care means treating more than just physical symptoms. The Dr. Robert L.A. Keeley Healing Arts Program, named in honor and memory of a beloved physician, does just that. It integrates literary, performing and visual art experiences into the healing process.

The program began in 2012 and has expanded to include nearly 20 initiatives. Among them are:

  • Artists-in-residence
  • Healing garden
  • Labyrinth
  • Journaling
  • Poetry
  • Annual juried employee and patient art shows


In 2018, the program added a director and expanded beyond Roanoke to the New River Valley. Its continued success and growth have been made possible by contributions to the Carilion Clinic Foundation.

The Dr. Robert L.A. Keeley Healing Arts Program integrates literary, performing and visual art experiences into the healing process.

Burden boat from healing arts