Raymond Rodriguez was born in New York City and began tap dancing at the age of six. While attending the High School of Performing Arts in Manhattan, he studied ballet and also began training at the American Ballet Theatre School on a full scholarship. Taught privately by ABT Ballet Master Jurgen Schneider, he gained performing experience with ABT performing children's roles and later as an apprentice. He joined Cleveland Ballet (now Ballet San Jose) in 1981 as a Principal Dancer, and during his tenure with the company he has held the positions of Rehearsal Assistant, Repetiteur, Regisseur, Principal Ballet Master and Associate Artistic Director. He was named Managing Director in 2015.
Mr. Rodriguez had a diverse repertoire as a Principal Dancer with roles that included Albrecht in Giselle; Romeo in Romeo and Juliet; The Peruvian in Gâité Parisienne; Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake; principal roles in George Balanchine's Who Cares?, Tarantella, Serenade, Agon, The Four Temperaments and Theme and Variations; Don Jose in Roland Petit's Carmen; along with many other roles created for him. Partnered with Karen Gabay, he performed at the Anniversary Gala for the Queen of Denmark's Silver Anniversary and toured South America with Ballerina Cynthia Gregory. He has staged numerous ballets for Dennis Nahat throughout the world. He has performed, assisted and remounted works by Flemming Flindt, most notably The Toreador where he performed the title role at its company premiere and staged the work for the 2008/2009 Season, for which he won an Isadora Duncan Award.
He is also the founding Co-Artistic Director of Pointe of Departure, Cleveland, Ohio's summer classical ballet company. He has appeared in films such as RENT and The Smurfs and his television credits include ABC's Dancing with the Stars coaching football legend Jerry Rice, ABC's \iThe Drew Carey Show, PBS broadcast of Emmy nominated Blue Suede Shoes and Scandinavian television broadcast of Lucifer's Daughter. Mr. Rodriguez is an ABT certified teacher (Primary to Level 7) and an international guest instructor, most notably at the Bartholin International Ballet Seminar held in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Photo by Chris Hardy