Borinquen Dance Theater, founded in Rochester, NY in 1981, provides opportunities for underserved youth to transfer the discipline and work ethic acquired through Puerto Rican/Latin dance to success in school and work. These traits include confidence, decision making, physical/mental agility and teamwork; as youth work individually and collectively to learn dance styles and techniques. Latino youth and others are welcomed, engendering a culturally rich experience.
BDT’s Self-Development & Dance Program was founded in 1985 to address the high dropout rate of Latino students. Education is emphasized through the program’s 2.5 GPA-minimum and attendance requirements. 900+ youth have been served, and 90% of members that are seniors have graduated from high-school and pursued higher education. BDT alumni have achieved success as professional dancers, dance studio owners, marketing and medical professionals and even a boxing promoter.
Dance classes are held year-round at Hochstein School of Music & Dance and at schools to expand access to the arts. Community performances contribute to youth changing the mindset from being at-risk to becoming ambassadors as young professional artists while educating the community. Folkloric and contemporary costumes promote Latin cultural awareness and history. Youth may qualify to earn a stipend as paid senior members/peer instructors; learning financial literacy skills along the way. All are exposed to career options including costuming, staging, choreography.
Borinquen Dance Theatre has performed for a diverse set of audiences across the USA and Canada – including in last year’s acclaimed San Diego International Fringe Festival. This award-winning program provides structure and standards of excellence through dance as a basis for Latino youth and others to become self-reliant young adults; avoiding the pitfalls of obesity, teen pregnancy, school suspensions, substance abuse and other serious issues. Nydia Padilla Rodriguez, BDT Founder & Artistic Director and original member of Garth Fagan Dance, has received recognition for her work with BDT and other community service initiatives to help youth succeed in school and life. These recognitions include Nazareth College’s Woerner Kollmorgen Award for Community Service (2017); Brockport State University’s Hall of Heritage Alumni Award (2018); and most recently Rochester Business Journal’s 40 “Women of Excellence” (2019).
BDT celebrates its 39th anniversary as a multicultural arts-based community resource in April 2020.
We focus on: Arts and Culture, Education
Where we are: Monroe
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