Meet Isa Rodriguez, the Afro Cuban ballet dancer who overcame a stroke and paralysis to miraculously perform again and paint

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Miami, Florida

Miami Dancer/Painter Isanusi Garcia Rodriguez was selected to paint the International Ballet Festival of Miami’s 21st festival poster. On September 24th 2016 art patrons, friends, family and supporters celebrated his artwork and miraculous health recovery at the closing reception /fundraiser at Miami Hispanic Ballet and share with the community his next phase of painting and choreography.

Also known as Isa, the former principal dancer with Miami City Ballet (2001–2012) and prior member of the Cuban National Ballet, has used painting as therapy to help him return to better health. Stricken by a brain aneurysm nearly four years ago, he was left speechless and paralyzed on his right side.The road to recovery included tedious physical and speech therapy. Despite the physical pain, he was determined to express himself, so he poured himself into painting when he could not dance. His colorful works of art will be on display during a VIP closing reception/fundraiser. Proceeds from the sale of his paintings helped Isa defray some of his medical costs.

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“We invite the public to join us in casting a vision for a series of new projects that will support Isa and his family as he continues his rehabilitation and investment back into the South Florida community that has been his home for many decades,” said Clare Vickery, Arts Patron and Founder of Grace Arts FL a cultural art market place of a retail gallery and charitable arts programming. Vickery plans is also presenting Isa’s paintings at an Outsider Art show that opened in December 2016 through March 2017.

She’s hired Isa to choreograph with South Florida native, Gentry George, of New York City, a very inspiring Shakespeare adaptation combining the story lines of Romeo and Juliet and The Tempest. Together Isa and Gentry will create three original dance works featuring Afro Cuban and African American Classical Ballet elements and a finale that will surely leave the audience speechless! Professional dancers from Poland and Japan will join award-winning, local theatre group, Outre Theatre, on stage to perform a fast-paced modern dance drama with Shakespeare, Florida history, and contemporary headlines all interwoven via a mysterious Narrator in spoken word in the just over one hour performance.

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Zest Collective Dancers

Rodríguez himself danced the leading role of ‘Romeo’ in MCB’s production of the ballet in 2011 just about the time he met his new new wife, fellow dancer Christie Scitturo, who also dances for the MCB and who has been by his side through the last few years of his rehabilitation.

Tickets for the event are available on Eventbrite and opens in Fort Lauderdale February 17, 2017 at the NSU Museum of Art Theater.

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