Jenny Rocha is a choreographer, dancer, teaching artist, event producer, costume designer and Artistic Director of Rocha Dance Theater, a Brooklyn-based dance company since 2001. She is also the Director of The Painted Ladies, a cabaret group that was admitted into the Burlesque Hall of Fame in Las Vegas.
A first generation Portuguese-American from New Bedford, Massachusetts, Rocha attended Roger Williams University for Dance and Performance, where she graduated with an Outstanding Achievement in Dance Award. She then moved to New York City, where Jenny served as a member of Sean Curran Company, Heidi Latsky Dance and other freelance choreographers for 12 collective years.
Jenny is an inter-disciplinary artist, using both dance and costume design to tell her stories and create social commentaries. Jenny’s choreography has been presented by esteemed venues such as The Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Boston Center for the Arts, Danspace Project, La MaMa ETC, Galapagos Art Space, House of YES and more. Rocha has received awards and residencies including The Puffin Foundation grant, Galapagos Art Space Residency from 2008-2014, MANA Contemporary Space Residency, CUNY Dance Initiative in 2015 at Lehman College, 2019 and 2023 at John Jay College. The US Embassy in Lisbon awarded Jenny with two consecutive Innovation Grants from their Small Grants Program for artist residencies in Sao Miguel Azores in 2018 and 2021. Rocha has created a prolific inventory of costumes for both of her companies. She has also designed for Heidi Latsky Dance, The Raving Jaynes, Lesley Garrison of MMDG, as well as multiple seasons for Rutgers University and Lehman College.
Jenny’s choreography has received critical acclaim in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and The Village Voice, among others. As a teaching artist, she has taught dance at universities and colleges nationwide, including Roger Williams University, Connecticut College, Rhode Island College, West Virginia University, and Lehman College. Rocha is in her 13th year as a teaching artist at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and serves on the guest faculty of Mark Morris Dance Center.
top photo by: Ben Trivett