Rodolfo Mendez founded Ballet East Dance Company in 1978 as a company dedicated to excellence in modern dance and choreography.
Rodolfo Méndez toured the world as a professional dancer, studied in Spain on a Fulbright Scholarship, developed national theater arts curricula in the Peace Corps and performed off-Broadway. But he never forgot his hometown or neighborhood, and returned to found Ballet East Dance Company.
"Dance opened all doors for me," he says, "and I wanted other young people to have the same opportunities."
One of the principal missions of Ballet East is to develop individual dancers, and Mendez takes particular pride in dancers who have made satisfying careers for themselves.
"Alvin Ailey told me once," Mendez recalls, "that the only way to become a choreographer is to do it over and over. We believe in providing the opportunity. Although the company is more than 30 years old, it feels young, and especially this season, with new young dancers joining us, and dancers who have been with us evolving as choreographers."
Ballet East also offers dance training to young people in Austin's East Side neighborhoods through programs recognized at the local, state, and national level for keeping students in school and helping them discover the transformative power of the arts.
BALLET EAST DANCE COMPANY
Rodolfo Mendez - Founder of Ballet East Dance Company
1945 - 2019