En Pointe Youth Dance Company was founded in 2000 by Joanna Poz-Molesky (company director) and Anne Rigney (company assistant director) during their 7th grade year at Prospect-Sierra Middle School. In 2006 it was passed on to younger generations until its last season in spring of 2009.
En Pointe was a youth founded, directed, and coordinated dance company. From 2000-2006, the company grew from a small middle school dance program to a professional youth dance company of twenty-five dancers, diverse in age, ethnic background, and training. Company members belonged to various East Bay dance schools and ranged from ages 12 to 18. All aspects, from choreography to costume design and sewing, from lighting to sound and set design, from dancing to fundraising and publicity, were entirely run by youth. And this had been the vision, to provide environments for youth to develop community, leadership, and provide positive models to the greater community.
They have performed at middle schools, at Mercy Care and Retirement Center in Oakland, and since 2003 have presented annual spring performances at the Berkeley Roda Theater and Julia Morgan Center for the Arts. In 2004, they performed for 200 students in Communication Arts & Sciences (a small school and learning community within Berkeley High school), and in August 2005 performed in Central Mexico.
En Pointe emerged in the Bay Area with astonishing dedication, and work, and artistic vision. Dancers and choreographers worked together to create a polished and sophisticated original repertoire that included ballet, modern, jazz, lyrical, and hip-hop dances with musical accompaniment by young emerging composers and musicians. Performances at the Berkeley Roda Theater the from 2003-2005 had drawn earmarked 15%to help support a young Maya woman finish high school in Guatemala. The youth company has been featured in local, national, and international newspapers and magazines as well as in television and radio programming. The documentary Pas de Deux, which premiered December 2004 at San Francisco State University, highlighted the extraordinary leadership and insight of this dance company.
In August 2005, Joanna Poz-Molesky and Arianna Taboada organized for ten En Pointe dancers to travel to Mexico for a ten-day cultural exchange. The company took baile folkorico classes, attended Spanish lessons, extablished a relationship with local dancers, and with an orphanage. The company performed to full houses in San Miguel de Allende and Queretaro. The dream of sharing the beauty of young dancers with rich and poor, indigenous, Mexican and North America, young and old, had taken rood. The company contributed some of their profits to the boys’ orphanage for school uniforms.
Upon graduating high school, Joanna and Annie passed the company on to three younger dancers – Fennis Brown, Nadia Brunner-Velazquez, and Emily Tsaconas, whom eventually turned it over to Molly Levy. Molly directed the company through its last season in 2009.
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For additional information on En Pointe Youth Dance Company:
The East Bay Monthly: “Pointe Well Taken.” April 2006
a.m.: “Momentum, espectáculo de danza clasica.” August 12, 2005, Mexico.
San Francisco Chronicle: “Two Berkeley teens said, ‘Let’s put on a show,’ and formed a ballet company that is now 4 years old”. April 23, 2004.
Berkeley Daily Planet:“Young Local Choreographers Take Dancers from Hip-Hop to Ballet”. April 13, 2004.
Berkeley High Jacket: “BHS Students Perform En Pointe.” April 23, 2004.
Boston Herald: “Raising the Barre.” May 11, 2004.
Dance Magazine: “Teenage Impresarios”. August 2002.
San Francisco Chronicle:“These Students are on Their Toes”. April 12, 2002.
West County Times: “Love of Dance Keeps 2 Girls on their Toes.” April 2002.
The Journal: “Starting Dance Troupe Keeps Teens on their Toes.” April 19, 2002.
The East Bay Monthly: “Beyond Sugar Plum Faries: Young Ballerinas Lead Onstage and Off.” Feburary 2002.