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 is 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 who are seniors have graduated from high school and pursued higher education. BDT alumni have achieved success as professional dancers, dance studio owners, marketing, medical professionals, and educators. BDT's unwavering discipline and high standards have prepared thousands of students to become productive and successful members of our community. Beyond dance, Borinquen students gain essential life skills, such as teamwork, goal setting, navigating group dynamics, and building positive relationships. They must also maintain academic excellence and uphold rigorous dance expectations, instilling a profound sense of commitment and discipline that has proven to be the formula for success.
Dance classes are held year-round now at our new location 1 East Ave and at schools to expand access to the arts. Community performances contribute to youth changing their 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, and education.
Borinquen Dance Theatre has performed for a diverse set of audiences across the USA and Canada – including the acclaimed San Diego International Fringe Festival, and several Mayor's Inaugurations in Rochester. 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 Bottom of the Bucket, has received recognition for her work with BDT and other community service initiatives to help youth succeed in school and life. These recognitions include the NY State Senate Women of Distinction Award (2022); Nazareth College’s Woerner Kollmorgen Award for Community Service (2017); Brockport State University’s Hall of Heritage Alumni Award (2018); and Rochester Business Journal’s 40 “Women of Excellence” (2019).
BDT celebrated its 40th anniversary as a multicultural arts-based community resource in November 2021.
We focus on: Arts and Culture, Education
Where we are: Monroe
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