Press / News

Passages1October 2013

“Passages” is a photography exhibit by the Inner City Ensemble (ICE) in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month.

The exhibit will be at the Passaic County College Broadway and LRC galleries from October 19 through January 9, spans several decades, and includes photos of the newly-reestablished ICE youth group.

Nicholas Rodriguez, the company’s Artistic Director, and the exhibit curator, Tomaz Tomanek, have selected photos that demonstrate the scope of the organization’s performance and training history.

A reception, free to the public, is on Nov. 14 from 4:30 to 6:30 pm. Call 973-684-5448 for more info.

event Winter Exhibit,  January 2012

ralph-gomezRalph Gomez, 40; Led Young Dancers
Published: December 13, 1990

Ralph Gomez, the founding director of the Inner-City Ensemble Theater and Dance Company of Paterson, N.J., a widely acclaimed training program for urban teen-agers, died on Friday at New York University Hospital in Manhattan. He was 40 years old and lived in Manhattan.

He died of AIDS, his companion, James Brega, said yesterday.

Mr. Gomez established the ensemble in 1973. The ensemble members worked to improve their self-confidence and self-expression as well as their professional skills. Many went on to attend the Juilliard School and major universities, and to perform with the Alvin Ailey and Jose Limon dance troupes and with Ballet Hispanico.

Mr. Gomez left the Inner-City Ensemble in 1986 to found and direct youth programs for the Hub in the South Bronx and Project Street Beat, also in the South Bronx, which seeks to combat AIDS among drug users and prostitutes.

Mr. Gomez was born in Newark and grew up in Lakewood, N.J. He received a bachelor’s degree in theater from William Paterson College and a master’s degree in social work from Rutgers University.


Some spirited teenagers from Paterson, N.J., brought a rousing program of drama and dance to the Theater of the Riverside Church on Saturday afternoon. They were members of the Inner City Ensemble Dance and Theater Company, founded in 1973 by Ralph Gomez.

Since its founding, the company has both inspired in young people a love of the arts and served as a serious training program, and Inner City alumni have gone on to professional companies and schools.

Inner City’s drama students were responsible for the matinée’s most impressive offering, some excerpts from Elizabeth Swados’s ”Runaways,” adapted and directed by Mr. Gomez, with choreography by Jeri Beaumont. Tense, jittery street scenes were interspersed with monologues expressing the feelings of children who have fled from loveless homes to a loveless big city, the poignantly delivered lines speaking of a hunger that gnaws at body and soul alike.

The afternoon’s dance presentations were short, lively pieces, neatly tailored to the abilities of student dancers. Siri Sat Nam Singh Khalsa contributed the fierce ”Buffalo Soldiers,” which derived from military maneuvers, and ”Dance On,” a celebration of rhythmic vitality.

Claudia Lampel’s ”And Then There Was… ” showed crowds of people in the street, then singled out individuals within the crowd. The initial calm of Antony Balcena’s ”Fandango” was soon broken by exuberance, but dreaminess was restored at last. Raphet Rosado’s ”Sweet Summer Suite” was jubilant throughout, the cast bounding in at the start and never flagging.

Guest artist for the occasion was Hikari Baba, a Japanese dancer and choreographer studying at the Juilliard School. Her arms twisted like vines that could turn into serpents in her mysterious solo, ”Full Moon.” She was joined by other dancers from Juilliard in ”Our Share of Night to Bear,” in which groups posed like statues came alive with ever-increasing restlessness.