The FOOTPATH DANCE COMPANY, a nonprofit troupe based in SHAKER HEIGHTS, was the first modern dance company from Greater Cleveland to perform both nationally and internationally. Formed in 1976 by artistic director Alice Rubinstein, the company initially consisted only of women. Original members included Charlotte Barker, Paulette Sears, Tamar Kotoske, Jacque Lynn Bell, Tara Deodhar, and Ms. Rubinstein, who choreographed and directed. Besides performing at area colleges and arts festivals, Footpath immediately formed a touring company, which performed in Ohio, surrounding states, and Canada. The company also offered classes in modern dance to children and adults. In 1977, Footpath received a grant from the Ohio Arts Council, which allowed them to increase the frequency of their appearances. From the first, Rubinstein selected dances for the repertoire with the intent of balancing non-narrative pieces with works of dramatic content. After admitting its first male dancer, Mark Schmucker, in 1981, Footpath began a series of lunchtime performances at the Engineers Auditorium in order to build local recognition. This series was continued in 1982 with the support of the CLEVELAND FOUNDATION. In August 1986, Footpath was one of four American companies invited to participate in the prestigious competition in Paris, France (Danse a Paris), marking the first time that American modern dance companies were selected for international competition. Not long after its New York debut, however, funding difficulties led to the disbandment of the troupe in 1990.

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