Collection ID:

Collection context


Padilla-Rodriguez, Nydia and Rodriguez, John
This is the collection of Nydia Padilla-Rodriguez and John Rodriguez’s personal papers. They were activists and entrepreneurs in the Rochester, New York Latinx community. The bulk of the collection consists of the records of the Borinquen Dance Company and Padilla-Rodriguez’s master’s thesis. The collection dates from 1953 to 2006, with a bulk of the materials between 1980 to 2006. There are photographs, broadsides, brochures, posters, correspondence and newspaper clippings from the election campaign of Nancy Padilla and papers from the Hispanic Democratic Committee.
2.04 cubic feet, 1 record carton, 1 document box, and 2 oversize drawers
Preferred citation:

Nydia Padilla-Rodriguez and John Rodriguez Family Collection, [Box#: Folder#]. Rochester Museum & Science Center, Rochester, NY.


Scope and Content:

This collection consists of Nydia Padilla-Rodriguez’s administrative papers of the Borinquen Dance Company, her thesis for her master’s degree regarding the education system of Rochester, New York and how it catered to Puerto Rican children. There are also interviews that served as sources for her thesis. The collection also includes the newspaper clippings of John Rodriguez during his political career and documents the political career of Nancy Padilla. There are performance photographs, programs, and brochures for the dance company. There are magazines from the early years of the Puerto Rican Festival held in Rochester, New York. The collection dates from 1953 to 2006 with the bulk of the material being dated from 1980 to 2006.

Biographical / Historical:

Nydia Padilla-Rodriguez and her husband John Rodriguez are longtime activists in the Puerto Rican community of Rochester, New York. They have a daughter, Melony. Nydia Padilla-Rodriguez is the founder of Borinquen Dance Company, the first Hispanic professional performing arts group in upstate New York. John Rodriguez has engaged in a variety of political and cultural activities including the election campaigns of Nancy Padilla. Padilla-Rodriguez is a longtime school administrator, activist, and dance troupe leader in Rochester, New York. Raised in the Rochester area, Padilla-Rodriguez attended SUNY Brockport, where she graduated in 1976 with a degree in elementary education and dance. She went on to earn an M.S. in education from SUNY Brockport in 1985 after completing a thesis on Puerto Ricans in Greater Rochester.

As a young woman, Nydia pursued dancing; in the late 1970s, she was a member of Garth Fagan’s Bottom of the Bucket, Dance Theater (now Bucket Dance Theater). In 1981, she founded the Borinquen Dance Theatre under the aegis of the Puerto Rican Arts and Cultural Center in Rochester. As the troupe grew, they moved to the Hochstein School of Music, where for nearly two decades Borinquen was the Ensemble in Residence. Padilla-Rodriguez has taught Caribbean dance at Hochstein since 1984.

Padilla-Rodriguez has also worked for a variety of governmental and non-governmental organizations including the United Way of Greater Rochester, Monroe County as an Equal Opportunity Employment Officer, and the Rochester City School District as assistant principal and administrator in the district’s offices.

John Rodriguez studied photographic illustration at the Rochester Institute of Technology. In the early 1980s, he worked as a freelance photographer for Spanish-language newspapers and nonprofit organizations in addition to regular work in television and video production for local television newscasts. He went on to hold management positions in marketing and advertising before becoming a consultant and cofounder of the Latino Advocacy Coalition, a group dedicated to community-building among Latinos in sectors such as faith, education, government, and business.



There are no restrictions regarding access to or use of this collection. Please contact librarian for appointment.


Copyright is held by the Rochester Museum & Science Center. Copyright of the papers in the collection may be held by the authors, or their heirs or assigns. Researchers must obtain the written permission of the holder(s) of copyright and the Rochester Museum & Science Center before transmission, reproduction, publication, or presentation (public display, performance, internet presentation) of quotations or images from the collection. Most papers may be copied in accordance with the Rochester Museum & Science Center’s usual policies unless otherwise specified.


Nydia Padilla-Rodriguez and John Rodriguez Family Collection, [Box#: Folder#]. Rochester Museum & Science Center, Rochester, NY.

Schuyler C. Townson Library
657 East Ave.
Rochester, NY 14607, United States