Orlando Ballet star steps down

Orlando Ballet star steps down

There are 15 comments on the Orlando Sentinel story from Mar 26, 2007, titled Orlando Ballet star steps down. In it, Orlando Sentinel reports that:

Israel Rodriguez's opening-night performance in the title role of Spartacus earlier this month may have been his last dance with the Orlando Ballet.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Orlando Sentinel.

David Goud

Bowling Green, KY

#1 Mar 26, 2007
Having worked with Israel while he danced with the Louisville Ballet, I know that finding a replacement for Israel will be close to impossible. He is more passionate and more talented than most dancers. Orlando would do well to keep Israel and find a new "Artistic" Director.
Kathleen Landa

Orlando, FL

#2 Mar 26, 2007
How very sad that Orlando Ballet has lost one of the most versatile and talented dancers in the company, Israel Rodriguez. Why would the director cut his contract in the first place when everyone who saw him dance on Friday knows that he still had a lot to give. Good luck in trying to find new Israels. I hope we do not lose dancer Katia Garza, Israel's wife and also a wonderful, strong and technically gifted dancer. I am a member of friends of Orlando Ballet, and I used to be a proffessional dancer and I just feel deeply saddened thinking we might not see Israel dancing in Orlando Ballet again. I am sure I am not the only one who feels this way.
Marga and Linda Raudsepp

AOL

#3 Mar 26, 2007
We are shocked to hear of Israel's departure in this way. Without him, Orlando Ballet will be performing without one of its cornerstones. How exciting it was to watch Israel Rodriquez dance!
We hope that "Lovely Pain" will find not only a great distributor but a passionate financial backer. We are so eager to see this film! The "Lovely Pain" website is bookmarked and checked regularly for any news of the documentary's release.
Israel Rodriguez is not only an exceptional dancer, he is a sweetheart of a person, kind-hearted and soft-spoken. We wish him and Katia great success in life and always the very best of everything.
Bobbie Bell

AOL

#4 Mar 26, 2007
Israel was not just a gifted artist, but a dear gentleman. Both he and Katia were among the kindest people I have ever met in the world of performing arts.

It is hard to imagine that a compromise could not be reached that would have kept him in the company but I look forward to his films and wish him good fortune.

Peace.:)
Bobbie Bell

AOL

#5 Mar 26, 2007
Israel was not just a gifted artist, but a dear gentleman. Both he and Katia were among the kindest people I have met in the world of performing arts.

It is hard to imagine that a compromise could not be reached that would have kept him in the company but I look forward to his films.

Peace.:)
Teresa Borker-Braso

United States

#6 Mar 27, 2007
I first saw Israel Rodriguez perform when he was a principal dancer with the Lousiville Ballet. It was a quite a loss to the Louisville dance community when his friend, Fernando Bujones, lured he and his wife, the brilliant dancer Katia Garza, away from Louisivlle to join him at Southern Ballet Theater, now known as Orlando Ballet; but what a joy for Orlando and a coupe for the Central Florida dance community. If anyone saw his last performance, they know that age was not a factor a this time in this dancer's technique and performance skills and the remark by Bruce Marks re: his age and hiring "New Israels" is not even worth addressing. There is only one "Israel" and we had him and now because of Bruce Mark's insistence that Fernando's choreography be changed (anyone who knows dance knows much choreography cannot even be changed by another)and it was an insult to the memory of Fernando Bujones, his signature work, Spartacus, and Israel Rodriguez, the dancer whom Bujones set the work on, to suggest doing so. Bruce Mark's jealousy and continuing poor dancer relation skills should not be tolerated as it is bringing down the company. How very, very sad for the Orlando dance community.
Ross Dutton

United States

#7 Mar 27, 2007
When buying tickets for Orlando Ballet performances we always secured tickets for performances when Israel Rodriguez and his wife, Kati Garza, were performing the leads, as they were THE STARS of the company which has many, many talented dancers. It was Israel Rodriguez however who electrified the stage and the audience each time he appeared, as well as always dancing with his heart and soul. This is a loss -- an unnecesary one -- and, I honestly don't feel like supporting the Orlando Ballet any longer through contributions and ticket purchases as long as Bruce Marks is the Director.
Christina Padilla

San Juan, Puerto Rico

#8 Mar 27, 2007
I was very fortunate to see Israel Rodriguez's performance of Spartacus on Friday, March 9th. I was so impressed with his performance that I bought tickets to see him again on Sunday, but was surprised to see that he was cut out of Sunday's performance without any explanation to the public.
On the article, Mr. Russell Allen states that Israel is on his thirty-something years and he needs to start looking for new Israels. I wonder if Mr. Allen paid attention to Israel's performance on Friday. If age is a factor, what will happen to the other wonderful dancers in the company that are also thirty-something?
Mr. Allen, if I were you I would double Israel's salary just to keep him. Do you have any idea how many people go to performances just to see him dance. His presence, artistry and strong technique demonstrate that his age has not affected his ability to deliver a marvelous performance, and we, the public, knew that his presence on stage guaranteed us an enjoyable experience, whether he was dancing a principal role or not.
It took Fernando Bujones 5 years to put the company to such great heights. In just one year, Bruce Marks has permitted one of his best to leave the company. If you keep this pace, in 5 years there might not be an Orlando Ballet at all.
Ruth Franceschi

San Juan, Puerto Rico

#9 Mar 27, 2007
Two years ago I watched Israel Rodriguez and Katia Garza perform La Fille Mal Gardee along with all the extraordinary dancers in the company. I was so inspired by this wonderful couple and their incredibly beautiful performance, that I became a donor and started flying to Orlando just to watch the company.
Reading about the decision to let Rodriguez go, fills me with such dissappointment that I no longer feel like supporting this company. How can Russell Allen say he will be looking for other Israels? How soon 'till he starts looking for other Jessicas or Andres or Chiakis???
Antonis

Hinsdale, IL

#10 Mar 27, 2007
Your comment about a rehearsal disagreement between Marks and Israel is correct and it was due to Marks trying to establish his dictatorship at the Orlando ballet with complete disregard for its dancers and the sense of loss they feel since the passing of Fernando Bujones. It is apparent that the repertory has changed and the quality of the work has deteriorated considerably. What you will see in the future is an entire ballet company feeding Marks' ego and nothing more. Good luck to Israel and Marks your hands off the rest of the dancers.
Luis Velasco

Orlando, FL

#11 Mar 28, 2007
I CANNOT BELIEVE WHAT I READ LAST MONDAY ON MY WAY TO NY ON A BUSINESS TRIP. I JUST GOT BACK TO WRITE A COMMENT. IF YOU HEARD PEOPLE YELLING "BRAVO" ON FRIDAY'S PERFORMANCE, I WAS ONE OF THEM. WHY NOT LOOK FOR ANOTHER BRUCE MARKS AND KEEP ISRAEL RODRIGUEZ....? WHAT ARE YOU THINKING MR. ALLEN? IN THE BUSINESS WORLD YOU PAY PREMIUM COMPENSATION PACKAGES TO KEEP THE BEST TALENT ONBOARD. DIGNITY AND RESPECT IS AN ESSENTIAL INGREDIENT TO THE FORMULA, IF THIS IS NOT MET, THE EMPLOYEE MORAL AND THE WORKING ENVIROMENT BECOMES INTOLERABLE.
Luis Velasco

Orlando, FL

#12 Mar 28, 2007
I could not beleave what I read Monday on a business trip to NY. I you heard people yelling "bravo" on Friday's performance, I was one of them. Why not look for another Bruce Marks and keep Israel Rodriguez.....? What are you thinking Mr Allen? In the corporate world you negotiate competitive compensation pakages to keep the best talent onboard. Integrity, dignity and respect are essential to the formula, if not employee moral and working eviroment becomes intolerable.
Brenda Bunte

Rochester, NY

#13 Mar 30, 2007
What a great loss for the Orlando Ballet. Israel was the best performer we have ever experienced in our lifetime. He could fly like an eagle and had the grace of a swan. He will be greatly missed.
Anonomous

Summerfield, FL

#14 Apr 30, 2007
Everyone down here at Orlando Ballet is deeply concerned and upset at the possibility of losing Israel. He is an amazing dancer and deserves to be treated with respect. Though I am not saying this with complete certainty I have heard other complaints about Bruce Marks from other dancers in the company and the rest of the staff as well. I am not qualified to make the decision but if a number of people are not satisfied and think that the current artistic director is not of great benefit to Orlando Ballet, then things need to be reconsidered and new artistic directors should be researched and looked into. Although Bruce Marks is a wonderful man and great director at other companies, maybe he isn't what Orlando Ballet needs at this point in time. After Fernando died, it seemed no one could fill his place. True, things will changed because no one will ever be like Fernando, but things need to change or else the company will die.
Garry Holzman

Edmonton, Canada

#15 Dec 24, 2007
Although I have never seen Israel Rodrigues dance,I was honored to receive a beautiful autographed picture of Israel and Katia along with the most wonderful personal letter which made feel like they were my close friends. I felt so proud and I remember thinking "how lucky Orland Balet was, to have two such talented dancers with such big hearts." What a shame that Orlando Ballet saw fit to trivalize such a gift. Will Katia be next? What a waste.

Sherwood Park, Alberta
Canada

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