Borinquen Dance Theatre marks 40th anniversary
A local dance company that not only trains young dancers but also provides them with a deeper connection to the Rochester community is celebrating a milestone this weekend.
Borinquen Dance Theatre, which has represented the cultural traditions and origins of Puerto Rico, is holding a 40th anniversary celebration on Saturday.
Borinquen began in 1981, when Nydia Padilla-Rodriguez, the founder of the organization who is also its artistic director, was working with choreographer Garth Fagan who prompted her to offer dance lessons in Rochester.
Borinquen, which Padilla-Rodriguez said is a name that comes from the original name for Puerto Rico, has worked with more than a thousand students over the last four decades.
And Padilla-Rodriguez, who is also a former longtime administrator in the Rochester City School District, said that the instruction the young students get at Borinquen goes beyond dance.
“It’s more about self-development, building their sense of belonging, their self-esteem, believing in themselves, understanding that structure, consistency, discipline, and being part of a program that has so much rigor.” Padilla-Rodriquez noted that experience ”will transfer over to the rest of your life.”
Padilla-Rodriguez pointed with pride to success stories involving her former students including someone who reconnected with her recently, who is now a doctor and offered $1,000 scholarship for Borinquen so someone else can benefit from the kind of training and discipline that the former student got with the dance company.
Padilla-Rodriguez said that it’s also important to provide a connection for the newer residents of Rochester who have just moved here from Puerto Rico.
“It’s a cultural shock for them…they have a way to connect with the culture and feel like, wow, this is something that I would never have believed existed outside of Puerto Rico,” Padilla-Rodriguez said.
The 40th anniversary is being celebrated in Rochester Saturday night with live performances, dinner and a silent auction. It starts at 6pm at the Harro East Ballroom.
Proceeds from the event will support Borinquen’s mission, “Building the desire to succeed through the discipline of dance.”