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Pointe of Departure originated in Cleveland, Ohio in 1998 as a collaboration between violinist, Lev Polyakin, Assistant Concert Master for the Cleveland Orchestra and San Jose Cleveland Ballet’s prima ballerina, Karen Gabay. Mr. Polyakin approached Miss Gabay to join him in one of his upcoming concerts, encouraging her to choreograph and dance the repertoire that he played, and she agreed. Not only did she dance, but she invited her favorite dance partner, premiere danseur, Raymond Rodriguez, to dance along with her. The trio’s debut performance combined various dance and musical styles and was a huge success with standing room only. The audiences responded to the diversity of styles that included classical ballet, tap, modern and theatrical jazz dance. Sold out performances at the Cleveland Institute of Music and the Cleveland Museum of Art inspired a new idea in creating a small ensemble that took flight bearing the name of Pointe of Departure.
In 2001, Co-Artistic Directors, Karen Gabay and Raymond Rodriguez founded Pointe of Departure as a 501 (C)3 not-for-profit ballet company. To date, the company has performed for approximately 15,000 enthusiastic audience members in Northern Ohio which include a variety of venues such as the Ohio Theater in Playhouse Square, the Evans Amphitheater in Cain Park, The Cleveland Museum of Art, the Bolton theatre at The Cleveland Play House, and Hoover Auditorium in Lakeside, Ohio.
The summer of 2009 brings about change for the ensemble as they make their California debut in the Bay Area. After returning from their tour to Northern Ohio in July 2009, Pointe of Departure will bring their eclectic repertoire and dynamic stage presence to theatres in the South Bay. The future and hope of this endeavor is to further expand the visibility of dance throughout the summer months, when most professional dance companies are on hiatus, and to build a repertoire for Pointe of Departure that would cultivate artistic growth for the artists and musicians that perform with the ensemble.
Both audiences and critics have found the performances to be diverse and highly entertaining. By bridging the stereotypical image of classical ballet, Pointe of Departure is a much-anticipated event for those who enjoy theater, music, and great dancing!