NDI New Mexico Announces New Dance Barns Artistic Director

This story was published by on November 13, 2019

NDI New Mexico Announces New Dance Barns Artistic Director

Rodney Rivera—Renowned Choreographer, Educator and Performer—Joins NDI New Mexico

Albuquerque, NM – November 1, 2019 – NDI New Mexico has added a new team member to enhance the educational experience for New Mexico students. Rodney Rivera, a renowned choreographer, educator, and performer from Puerto Rico, will be joining the NDI New Mexico team as the Dance Barns Artistic Director in Santa Fe.

“When I first saw Rodney teach, I was totally inspired and knew that he was an artist and educator completely in alignment with our mission and philosophy,” said Liz Salganek, Artistic Director for
NDI New Mexico. “As a teacher and choreographer, he brings passion, intelligence, and humor, and he balances high standards and expectations with a joyful and caring approach. He has a depth of experience as both a school and company director, master teacher, choreographer, and before that had many years of experience as a performer. His expertise blends with his down-to-earth nature. He is driven by the power that the arts have to connect communities and to connect young people to their potential. I am so excited for our students and families to get to work with him!”

Mr. Rivera’s first class at the Dance Barns will be “Boys Ballet Boot Camp”, designed to get boys excited about the athleticism of and power of dance. He is also creating a piece on the most advanced dancers inspired by the passion of the great Argentinian composer Astor Piazzolla.

“I am totally moved by this organization,” said Rivera. “Words are not enough to describe the quality and the social and artistic commitment of this incomparable institution. NDI New Mexico has achieved its mission and positively impact the lives of thousands of young dancers. I congratulate all its founders and staff and am so excited to join this team, who have managed to create a diamond here in New Mexico.”



About NDI New Mexico

Our work is guided by our belief in children, as well as our commitment to social responsibility, excellence, sustainability and financial integrity. NDI New Mexico is founded with the knowledge that the arts have a unique power to engage and motivate children. The purpose of our distinctive programs is to help children develop discipline, a standard of excellence, and a belief in themselves that will carry over into all aspects of their lives. For more information on NDI New Mexico and their programs, visit www.ndi-nm.org.

 About Rodney Rivera

Rodney trained at the Julian Blanco Classical Ballet School of Puerto Rico, the Ballet Concierto of Puerto Rico Conservatory, and Point Park University. He was a principal soloist with Ballet Concierto of Puerto Rico, he performed leading roles in ballets including La Fille Mal Gardee, Don Quixote, Le Corsaire, Paquita, Giselle, and Sleeping Beauty, as well as having many world premieres choreographed for him. He was a dancer, choreographer, and faculty member at Andanza and Artistic Director Ballet Brio, two leading contemporary ballet companies in Puerto Rico. Rodney has toured the globe as a choreographer, in addition to working as judge of international ballet competitions. He is a master ballet teacher, whose students have gone on to dance at the School of American Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, Dance Theater of Harlem, and the Martha Graham Dance Company. He was the Artistic Director of the School of the Performing Arts at Bayamon, and has received honors from the Puerto Rican government for his contributions to the arts and education.

Rodney trained at the Julian Blanco Classical Ballet School of P.R., and continued his training at the Ballet Concierto of Puerto Rico Conservatory. His ballet teachers include Vladimir Issaev, Carlota Carrera, José Parés, Joaquín Banegas, and Silvia Marichal. He was awarded a scholarship from Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA, where he received ballet training with Roberto Munoz and Laura Alonso. In 1994, and under Lolita San Miguel’s tutelage, he represented PR in the Fifth International Ballet Competition at Jackson, Mississippi. Being trained by María Carrera, he became the first Puerto Rican male dancer to participate in this international event.

As principal soloist with Ballet Concierto of Puerto Rico, he performed leading roles in La Fille Mal Gardee, Le Corsaire, Don Quixote, Paquita, Flames of Paris, Giselle, and Sleeping Beauty, among others. Leading roles in world premieres were created for Rodney by Carlos Iván Santos, Antonio Gomes, Jesus Miranda, Lolita Villanua, Michael Uthoff, Brett Raphael, Alberto Méndez, Vladimir Issaev, Nicholas Beriosoff, Christian Holder, Fernando Bujones, and Ana Sanchez Colberg, among others.

In 2000, he became part of Andanza’s first members, where he was both a dancer and part of the faculty. He was one of the leading choreographers at Andanza for over five years. With Andanza, he choreographed  La Familia de Todos Nosotros (2004), Transito, Tu o Yo, Cuerpo (2005), Erase (2006), Absurdo (2007), Sed (2008), and Andanza Cósmica (2009).

His Ballet Brio debut started with the piece Donde Estan?, which won a gold medal in Certamen Interamericano de Danza, Argentina in 2005. He proceeded to choreograph Eso Que Llamas (2006), Tango Mundo (2007), Olas y Arenas (2005), Semillas (2004), 7 Pecados, Judas, Memory and Glass (2003), Guardadito, En Cuatro Tiempos (2007), Pica Pica, Romani (2009), Lady Godiva , Rebote,, El Idioma Anterior,  Ojos de Sordo, Odios de Ciego and Bomraiz (2012), among others.  For Balleteatro Nacional of Puerto Rico he has created, Techo de Cristal, El Regreso, and Corasi.

His prolific career as a choreographer include collaborations with Island Moving Company, Ballets de San Juan, Zig Zag Ballet, Andanza PR, Connecticut Ballet, Ballet Municipal of San Juan, Ballet Concierto of P.R., Hermanos Cepeda Foundation, Ballet Brio, Point Park University, Balleteatro Nacional of P.R. , San Antonio Ballet, and Teatro Repertorio of the University of Puerto Rico, where he was the resident choreographer and has staged the musicals, Evita, Les Miserables, The Sound of Music and Into The Woods”.

His work has been presented successfully in International festivals such as the Miami International Ballet Festival, Festival de Ballet de la Habana Cuba (2016) , Aquins Festival Haiti , All Stars of Dance Gala, Festival de Coreografos de Ballet Concierto de PR (2013), Festival Internacional de Teatro de PR (2005), World Ballet Competition, Green Street Studios, MA., among others. Also, he has created works for movies and for opera. He has danced in major theaters around the globe including Taiwan, Cuba, Haiti, Egypt, Japan, USA, Martinique, Aruba, Mexico, Spain and Italy.

In 2010 The Institute of Culture of Puerto Rico recognized him as the best choreographer of the year for his enormous contribution to dance in PR. That same year, he became the artistic director at
Ballet Brio.

Since 2013, Vasilie Petrutiu, founder of World Ballet Competition (WBC), has extended him an invitation to become part of the jury of the renowned competition. Some of his work has been performed in the “All Stars of Dance Gala” of this competition. That same year, he became the Artistic Director of the School of the Performing Arts at Bayamon where he was in charge of a variety population of students from different programs, including dance, theater, music, orchestra, choir, folklore, among others.

During the 2015 summer months, the renowned producer Piers Playfair commissioned him a work entitled Shostakovich En Tres, where he worked with principal dancers from the Pennsylvania Ballet, Hungarian National Ballet Company, and New Jersey Ballet. He was also asked to join the Faculty at the Sagrado Corazon University Undergraduate’s Coda 21 Dance Program where he was a professor.

He has established himself as a master ballet instructor. Some of his students have gone on to dance with ABT, NYCB, DTH, SAB, Eglevsky Ballet, Connecticut Ballet, and Martha Graham Dance Co.

Rivera’s latest work,  Lo Que No Fue (2016) and Memorias y Vidrios (2017) have been presented successfully at Festival de Ballet de La Habana Cuba, Boston Ma., Newport, and Kansas City, with great reviews by the audience and press.


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