Karen Denise Gabay was born in San Diego, California and began her ballet training at the age of eight at the California Ballet School, and later studied at the School of American Ballet in New York City. A principal dancer with Ballet San Jose, Miss Gabay’s diverse repertoire includes Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, the title role in Giselle, Swanhilda in Coppelia, the pupil in Fleming Flindt’s The Lesson, the title role in Roland Petit’s Carmen, the principal female in
What do you do now? Has your art evolved or changed?
When I was awarded the Artist Fellowship, I was so honored and proud. San Jose and its audiences have played such an important role in my development as a dancer, performer and choreographer. I felt so fortunate to have this recognition bestowed upon me. The fellowship signified validation for my craft. It was humbling to be joining the list of other choreographers who had received the award before me, whom I worked with and respected as a young dancer.
What is one piece of advice you would give to an emerging artist?
I am the founding Artistic Director & choreographer of Pointe of Departure. I am also Artistic Associate of Ballet San Jose. My choreography of the Nutcracker is in the repertoire of Ballet San Jose which has reached a broader audience. I feel my development as a choreographer continues to blossom and many choreographic ideas continue to stir in my brain. I cherish opportunities to continue creating dances and am excited sharing my choreography with new audiences. My thinking process as a choreographer has changed since the financial picture of the arts is dwindling. Now my focus is not only to be creative artistically, but I must be creative in enticing those who may not have seen a live dance performance. I feel it is important to sustain an audience these days who can appreciate the physical work of dance and the expansiveness of dancers moving through space.
Briefly, how would you describe the state of the arts locally, as well as national and beyond?
Keep your focus and always believe in what you do. Let your passion guide you and give you breath.
The arts are in crisis.