Abbott Academy Director at the Joffrey Academy since 2019; formerly Head of Studio Company and Trainee Program.
Raymond Rodriguez was born in New York City and began 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 (ABT) 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 (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, Associate Artistic Director, and Managing Director. In 2016, he moved to Chicago to join The Joffrey Ballet as Head of Studio Company and Trainee Program. He was elevated to the role of Abbott Academy Director in 2019.
Rodriguez had a diverse repertoire as a Principal Dancer with roles that included Albrecht in Giselle; Romeo in Romeo and Juliet; The Peruvian in Léonide Massine’s Gâité Parisienne; The Profiteer in Kurt Jooss’s The Green Table; Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake; principal roles in George Balanchine’s Who Cares?, Tarantella, Serenade, Agon, The Four Temperaments, Rubies and Theme and Variations; the Champion Roper in Agnes de Mille’s Rodeo; Don Jose in Roland Petit’s Carmen; along with many other roles created for him. He had the pleasure of sharing the stage on international tours with such legends as Rudolf Nureyev and Cynthia Gregory. He has performed at many prestigious dance festivals as well as at the Anniversary Gala for the Queen of Denmark’s Silver Anniversary in Copenhagen, which was filmed and broadcast throughout Scandinavia. 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.
Rodriguez is also the founding Co-Artistic Director of Pointe of Departure, Cleveland, Ohio’s summer classical ballet company. He is a proud union member of the Screen Actors Guild, Actors’ Equity and American Guild of Musical Artists. 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 The Drew Carey Show, PBS broadcast of the Emmy-nominated Blue Suede Shoes, and Scandinavian television broadcast of Lucifer’s Daughter. He is an ABT certified teacher (Pre-Primary to Level 7) and an international guest instructor, most notably at the Bartholin International Ballet Seminar held in Copenhagen, Denmark. In addition, Rodriguez graduated with his M.F.A. in Dance from Hollins University, where he was the recipient of a Graduate Fellowship.