To offer a diverse range of youth, many from economically challenged families, the opportunity to develop and practice discipline through the mental and physical training afforded by a rigorous holistic dance program.

To cultivate leadership skills and teamwork through training, structure, cultural education and positive role models.

To foster excellence through high expectations while balancing the demands of academic success with the methods of a disciplined rehearsal, training and performance program.

Founder/Artistic Director – Nydia Padilla-Rodriguez, M.Ed.

  • A trailblazer since she first learned to dance at 6 years old.
  • An original member of Garth Fagan’s “Bottom of the Bucket” Dance
  • Earned a bachelor’s degree in dance and elementary education, a master’s degree of Science in education and an Administrative Certification.
  • Began a career in education and soon recognized the value of dance as a vehicle to success.
  • Created Borinquen Dance Theatre in 1981.
  • After initially teaching adults and teenagers, Nydia soon realized her true mission to reach children at a younger age.
  • Began collaboration with the David Hochstein Memorial Music School in 1984 to teach Caribbean dance classes.
  • Former administrator with the Rochester City School District
  • One of only a handful of U.S. experts on the tradition of dance within Latin culture.

Board of Directors

  • Lana K. Ivy, Board Chair – Partner / Attorney, Harris Beach PLLC Attorneys at Law
  • Yolanda Benitez, Vice Chair – Director of Priority Projects & Workforce Initiatives, Wegmans Food Markets
  • Tabatha Santiago, Secretary – HR & Legal Executive Assistant, Monro Inc.
  • Terri Trotta, Treasurer – Financial Advisor, Lincoln Investment
  • Nita Brown, Board Member – Project Manager, Owner, MansaWear
  • Liliana Ruiz, Board Member – Executive Staff Assistant to the Mayor, SW and NE Neighborhood Liaison, City of Rochester – Founder & Owner, 2Strive Media, Inc.
  • Jennifer Bean, Honorary Advisor – Senior Manager / CPA, FreedMaxick CPAs, P.C.


Borinquen Dance Theatre has been the recipient of several awards including:

  • The national “Coming up Taller” award finalist from the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities
  • The Arts and Cultural Council for Greater Rochester’s “Distinguished Cultural Organization of the Year”
  • The “Tony and Dee Spirit” awards
  • Memorial Art Gallery Art Award
  • Community Champions award finalist in arts and culture
  • RBJ Women of Excellence, 2019
  • The College at Brockport State University of New York Alumni Award
  • Woerner Kollmorgen Award
  • Excellence in Service Award, RCSD