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ARIZONA HEART & SOL: Tucson man transforming children’s lives through dance

Published: Sep. 16, 2021 at 8:49 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - This week KOLD News 13 is recognizing a Tucson man who is using the power of dance to transform children’s lives.

“Joey is unique and we tell the kids, you will never have another teacher like Joey again,” said Soleste Lupu, Joseph Rodgers’ wife.

Watch a rehearsal and you can see why Rodgers embodies the Heart & Sol of Arizona. He and his wife are giving children the gift of ballet.

“I’m really happy. I really wanted to come to ballet and learn how to do it so I’m just thankful that I got to,” said eight-year-old Jaleigha Berry.

Nine-year-old Avery Tena expressed her joy.

“I watch a lot of videos of ballet and it has been my dream to do it,” Tena said.

Dancing in the Streets Arizona welcomes all types of students. The nonprofit studio is making dreams come true whether a family can afford classes or not.

“At the beginning a lot of people said a ballet school in the city of south Tucson? You’re crazy. Well yeah I’m crazy but 14 years later we’re still here,” Rodgers said.

Through the years, they’ve seen many transformations.

“When I first started class I was very shy but I got used to it,” said seven-year-old Elanie Barron.

The goal is to break down cultural and societal barriers and enrich the children’s lives.

“Inclusive, diverse and it’s just wonderful. I’m so glad my kids are part of that,” said parent Adrienne Pallante.

Rodgers was presented with a gift card from our sponsor Casino Del Sol. If you have someone you think embodies the Heart & Sol of Arizona please nominate them, here.

DITSAZ will present two showings of The Nutcracker ballet this December.

Copyright 2021 KOLD News 13. All rights reserved.