Francisco Rivera

I come from a small coastal city called Fajardo, located on the east side of the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico, but I spent most of my life in San Juan.

Education and Training:
I started my dance education and training in the specialized school of Ballet Julián E. Blanco in the Santurce area. Consequently, I joined what is today Mauro Ballet Company to aid my training simultaneously. Upon graduation in 2018 I received honors and a certificate for completing eight years of training in this institution. I’ve participated in summer intensives with the Orlando Ballet, Sarasota Cuban Ballet School, Cincinnati Ballet, Philadelphia Ballet, and Nashville Ballet. I joined the Philadelphia Ballet School as a trainee in 2019 and a year later I joined the Nashville Ballet as a second company dancer where I trained and performed until May 2022.

Do you have a nickname that you like to go by?
My friends call me “Fran” (but my mom calls me Francisco Emmanuel Rivera Bermúdez when I get in trouble!).

What other organizations or dancers have you previously danced with?
Some organizations I’ve danced with are Nashville Ballet, Mauro Ballet, Ballet Concierto de Puerto Rico, Ballet Etudes of South Florida, Charlotte Youth Ballet, Brighton School of Ballet, and Greater York Dance.

Do you have any pre-concert rituals or routines?
For my pre-performance ritual, I like to listen to salsa music and have a relaxing cup of café con leche (coffee and milk).

Favorite role or costume so far?
My favorite and most challenging role so far is Romeo from the ballet Romeo and Juliet.

What do you want patrons to know about you?
The trajectory of a dancer is always awe-worthy. I started training in classical ballet when I was ten years old. My life has been extremely transformed since then. The routinary lessons and the gradual improvement gave me purpose and saved me, in a way. I found a welcoming home that allowed me to develop authentically in the artist community. When I discovered ballet I also found a group of people I’ve called family ever since. Without the support of patrons like you, I would not be here dancing and taking part in the Dayton Ballet.

What do you think you’d be doing if you weren’t a professional dancer?
If I wasn’t a professional dancer I would have probably become a musician or artist of some sort. I love music and I don’t think I can live without art. A career that will allow me to contribute to the culture.

What is your favorite food or cuisine?
My favorite cuisine is Asian because it’s so diverse and flavorful.

What sport(s) do you participate in?
I really enjoy volleyball, especially beach volleyball.

Do you have a favorite sports team?
I don’t keep up with sports that much, but I’m a big fan of Olympic sports like gymnastics and ice-skating

Do you have pets?
I have a dog back home in Puerto Rico, his name is Zeus, and is a beautiful mix between a pit bull and husky.

What teacher, mentor or other influencer inspired you the most?
Inspirations are tons but there’s someone I have to thank for her mentorship and support throughout the years. My lifelong teacher and friend Marena Pérez Bobadilla, is one of my greatest inspirations to continue dancing and creating.

What are you most looking forward to this season?
I am looking forward to joining the company, sharing the stage with the dancers, and celebrating Dayton Ballet’s 85th Diamond Anniversary!

What advice would you give to aspiring dancers?
My advice to aspiring dancers is that an artist is defined by its character; work hard and smart on your technique, expand your horizons, and never settle.