In August, Hochstein dance instructor Nydia Padilla Rodriguez was recognized by New York State Senator Samra Brouk as a 2022 Woman of Distinction in a special ceremony held at Geva Theatre Center.
“The Senate’s Women of Distinction Award is for pioneering women who have performed outstanding work in the interest of the greater community – a description that immediately brings to mind Nydia Padilla Rodriguez,” said Senator Brouk. “An arts and education advocate whose work celebrates her Puerto Rican heritage, Padilla Rodriguez has given so many in our community a connection to their culture and a role model to aspire to.”
Nydia is the founder and artistic director of the Borinquen Dance Theatre, which was born in 1981 at the Puerto Rican Festival and several years later became an ensemble in residence at Hochstein with regular performances in the Performance Hall. Nydia currently teaches Caribbean-Latin dance classes at Hochstein.
Hochstein President & Executive Director Hilary Respass, and Hochstein Assistant Director and Dean Gary Palmer were at the event to congratulate Nydia. Hilary shared these words from Carl Atkins, Hochstein’s former President & Executive Director:
“It is a special pleasure for me to congratulate Nydia Padilla-Rodriguez on this singular honor and recognition. This is a well-deserved tribute to one who, as a dancer, teacher, mentor, and community leader, has brought so much to the Puerto Rican and greater Rochester communities.
“I have known Nydia for more years than either of us would care to recount. Because of this, many details of our early contact are a bit hazy. However, I do remember that soon after I became Director of the Hochstein School of Music and Dance, Nydia came to see me about the possibility of establishing a stronger, more permanent relationship between the Borinquen Dance Theatre and Hochstein. I remember being impressed by her passion for dance, generally, and for Borinquen, specifically, as well as her dedication to teaching and developing an appreciation for Puerto Rican dance and culture in the greater community. Because one of the main tenets of Hochstein’s mission is inclusivity, this presented a wonderful opportunity to reach out to this underrepresented community. Thus began a long, and mutually beneficial relationship between the two organizations, still thriving today. Nydia has been the driving force behind maintaining this partnership. She has sacrificed much, personally and professionally, to maintain Borinquen Dance Theater as an artistic, educational, and cultural pillar of this community.”
A retired administrator of the Rochester City School District, Nydia has worked during her 35-year career with thousands of young people to create and help them gain access to life-building opportunities in the arts, academics, culture, and leadership development.
She is a former member of Bottom-of-the-Bucket, But ... Dance Company (now Garth Fagan Dance), and Garth Fagan was also there to celebrate Nydia’s accomplishments, along with current and past members of Borinquen.
To learn more about the Women of Distinction award, visit the New York State Senate website here.
1. Nydia Padilla Rodriguez, accompanied by her husband, receives the Woman of Distinction award from Senator Samra Brouk.
2. Hochstein Assistant Director and Dean Gary Palmer, Nydia Padilla Rodriguez, and Hochstein President & Executive Director Hilary Respass
3. Nydia Padilla Rodriguez with Sen. Samra Brouk, Garth Fagan, and members of Borinquen Dance Theatre.