To cultivate high academic expectations through the discipline of dance training, cultural enrichment, work ethic, and leadership development. Our goal is to provide Latin/x and other underrepresented youth with the opportunity to explore and celebrate their cultures through the performing arts.


To empower youth to live, share, and breathe culture while strengthening community relationships.

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.


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

  • The Legacy Project: The Eyes of Our Ancestors, East High School, June 2023
  • NY State Women of Distinction Award Presented by Senator Samra Brouk, 2022
  • Rochester City School District Community Award, 2020
  • Rochester Science & Museum Center Change Maker’s Exhibit, 2021
  • Women of Excellence Award, 2018
  • SUNY College at Brockport Hall of Heritage Alumni Award, 2018
  • Nazareth College Woerner Kollmorgen Award for Community Service, 2017
  • NY State Archives Borinquen Dance History
  • GEVA Theatre Essie Calhoun Diversity in the Arts Award, 2015
  • Memorial Art Gallery, Art Distinguished Award, 2012
  • Regional Girl Scouts Leadership Award, 2011
  • IBERO American Action League Alicia Torres Award, 2011
  • The President’s Committee on Arts & Humanities “Coming Up Taller” Acknowledgement across the nation, 2009

Borinquen Dance Theatre dancers have performed at:

  • Area colleges
  • Mayoral inauguration galas
  • Fundraisers for community organizations such as the Rochester Museum & Science Center and the Rochester Academy of Medicine and Hochstein.
  • The Puerto Rican and Pride Festivals
  • City Hall and other local and state events
  • Black History Month Celebration
  • Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration