Raymondo Polanco was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. He moved to New York City at the age of nine and “Americanized” his name to Raymond. His first steps as an artist began at age seven in his native land. He proved himself as a dancer at the Fine Arts Theater in Santo Domingo, studying modern, Afro-Cuban dance, and Jazz. At Academia Cassandra La Miró is where Raymond took his first intensive training in Dominican Folkloric Dance.
When he moved to Manhattan, Raymondo continued his dance studies with such luminaries as Martha Graham in her master classes, and continued his development at Broadway Dance Center, Jo-Jo Dance Center and Van Dyke Studios. In 1979, the Van Dyke Studios awarded him the award of “most outstanding student of the year,” and they awarded him a trip to Brazil for an intensive course of Samba and choreography at the University of Sao Paolo. As a result, in 1980, Raymondo participated as a principal dancer in the Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. Raymondo was selected to be a member of the prestigious dancers with the outgoing entertainer, Iris Chacon; where he lived in Puerto Rico, where he toured and performed on her weekly show for four years. It was there where Stephen Rappaport, the executive producer of the National Theater of Performing Arts, and Alejandra Dondines, director and choreographer of the dance company Dondines Dancers of the Americas, They offered him a three-year contract to tour South America and the United States. This tour transformed him, not only as a dancer/choreographer, but it also spurred him to begin to seriously study acting.
The experience of working with groups such as the Latin American Theater Ensemble, the Dominican Cultural Center (with the renowned actor Mateo Gomez), and Ofelia Da’Costa Acting Academy helped to mold Raymondo in which are established and joined all the creative capacities of an artistic and cultural work: acting, dancing, choreography and writing, became interlaced and came together on stage to reflect his effort, his work, and his dedication and love of art.
After having suffered a serious motor-cycle accident that nearly cost his life, and left him as an invalid for two years, Raymondo removed himself from his artistic work for a period of ten years. He reflected inwardly to develop his skills as a mystic through the tarot, numerology and astrology. He also had the opportunity to expand his knowledge of jewelry and fine gemstones, becoming the manager of the prestigious estate jewelry store – Far N Wide. In 1992, with the support of his friend and fellow dancer Dennis Thelen, Raymondo returned to theater and dance. In the fall of that same year he and Dennis opened Manhattan Dance Space, a dance program for children and adults.
He went on to work in New York as an actor, dancer and choreographer in several projects such as, Macbeth, Madre Selva, sponsored by HOGAR Latino Lab / HOME for the Contemporary Arts: and the New York Shakespeare Festival. As a part of that experience, Raymondo started to work with Alma Villegas, and became an Artistic Director and Choreographer for the Café-Teatro Julia de Burgos, and then went on to become Arts Coordinator and Choreographer/Dance Instructor the for the non-profit organization – Música Against Drugs. It was here that he found a venue where to write for the theater and extend his gift for writing poetry. Raymondo went on to found his own aromatherapy store and art gallery, Elements of Paradise, where alongside selling products for inner and outer healing, many artists found a venue to show their art, and organized weekly get-togethers for writers to share their work.
This brings us to his first book of poetry, You and I Midst Poems and Verses / Tu y Yo Entre Poemas y Versos. This is a book where the author shares very personal reflections about his life and his view on life. For Raymondo, cultural work means the transformation of all the hidden emotions of the human being through art.