Artistic Director / Founder


Silver Photo Session June 2016 004Nicholas Rodriguez began his early training with Ralph Gomez in Paterson, NJ.  He  graduated from the Juilliard School of Music with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Dance.  Rodriguez performed with Ballet Hispanico, Molissa Fenley, and other NYC companies, and most extensively with Dance Compass, which he co-founded with Sharon Stephens, a former Ensemble administrator and dance teacher-choreographer.  Throughout his 12 years with Dance Compass, which was based in Montclair, NJ, Rodriguez created more than 35 dance works—the majority of which premiered in NJ to critical acclaim.  Rodriguez received three Choreographer’s Fellowships from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and he set original choreography on the Alvin Ailey Repertory Ensemble, The Yard on Martha’s Vineyard, Garden State Ballet and American Repertory Ballet, among others.  Rodriguez’ works have been presented at the Theater of the Riverside Church, Dance Theater Workshop, Jacob’s Pillow, Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors, and in Paraguay, Ecuador and Bolivia, where he conducted his Fulbright residencies. Dance Compass also toured the U.S.  The work of Artistic Director, Nicholas Rodriguez, addresses cultural identity and social justice and reform issues. 


Ralph GomezRalph Gomez was a humanitarian, activist, and theater director, who made significant contributions to the City of Paterson from 1973 to 1986, while working with at-risk, under-served and economically disadvantaged urban teenagers at the Inner City Ensemble Theatre & Dance Company.   Gomez was born in Newark, NJ, and grew up in Lakewood, N.J. He received a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree in Theater from William Paterson College and a Master’s Degree in social work from Rutgers University.  Although the Ensemble had grassroots beginnings, ‘Ralph’ and a committed artistic staff and various Boards of Directors worked tirelessly, which garnered the Company local, regional and national praise as a model arts program.  Ralph began as actor, wrote and directed plays, found and premiered new plays by young, emerging playwrights, and most importantly, he believed in and professed, the transformative and healing nature of the arts. 

To celebrate the life and memory of Ralph Gomez, please visit his Tribute Site.