Former Miami City Ballet dancer recovers from stroke, now a visual artist

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Isanusi García Rodríguez will present his artwork to the public in the Design District for just two evenings, however this is no ordinary exhibition.

Rodríguez is a former Miami City Ballet principal dancer who suffered a stroke in 2012. He is unable to dance professionally, but in recovery he pushed himself to develop another passion — painting.

Many of the pieces in the exhibit, “An Evening of Art With Isanusi, Unveiling of Renacer,” tell the story of his journey through rehabilitation and some works are his ideas for dance choreography. The art also reflects Rodríguez’s background as a former dancer with the National Ballet of Cuba in his native Havana. He is married to current Miami City Ballet dancer Christie Sciturro.

The event is being organized through the AXS Law Group Art Series, which supports local emerging artists in Wynwood and Miami and gives them a platform to showcase their work to help launch their careers.

Isanusi - Choreography.jpg

“Choreography” by artist Isanusi García Rodríguez, a former Miami City Ballet principal dancer, is one of the works painted after the dancer suffered a stroke in 2012. A two-night art show that tells the journey of his recovery will be open to the public Monday and Tuesday.

“I recently met Isanusi’s wife Christie at a gala,” organizer Mamie Joeveer, an attorney with AXS Law Group, said in an email. “She told me about her husband and his journey from being a principal ballet dancer to an artist.”

“I found his story compelling. Christie told me about Isanusi’s ability to overcome extreme difficulties in his life and endure. He survived a major stroke but that was just the beginning. He had to work to rehabilitate himself. I found that inspiring and I connected with it.” Joeveer is also on the Miami City Ballet board of directors.

“Working with artists and supporting the art community has become a part of the AXS Law Group fabric. Our unique office location in Wynwood puts us in the epicenter of the art world,” she said. “The firm took advantage of that and started a series to support emerging local artists called AXS Art. We provide a platform for the artists to display their new works — our office walls are their canvas.”

Rodríguez’s comeback art exhibit is 7 to 9 p.m. Monday and Tuesday at the Moore Building in the Design District, 4040 NE Second Ave. It is open to the public, but RSVPs are required. Write to After the two-night exhibit, Rodríguez’s art can be seen by appointment only.

Free summer camp to help kids

Camp Kesem is a nationwide community driven by passionate college student leaders who support children through and beyond a parent’s cancer. There will be free summer camp organized by University of Miami students July 28 through Aug. 3, and Aug. 5 through 11.

Spots are still open for the first session. Families can learn more and register at

Over five million children have been impacted by a parent’s cancer and Camp Kesem is dedicated to this unique population. Camp experience, and Kesem’s year-round support, has a lasting impact.

In 2017, more than 7,200 children attended over 100 free Camp Kasem camps in 40 states for children ages 6 to 18. Private donations and community support help the camps continue to make a difference. The UM group recently hosted its spring fundraiser Make the Magic to help with yearlong peer support and send 60 children to camp.

Orchids in the Park

Thanks to a large plant donation the 20th annual orchid sale to support Project Cradle will be held 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, May 26, and Sunday, May 27, at Dante Fascell Park, 8600 SW 57 Ave. Admission is free.

Proceeds benefit the UM Leonard Miller School of Medicine Department of Pediatric Infectious Disease and Immunology.

“Our greenhouse was devastated by Hurricane Irma and we lost a lot of plants. We did not think we would be able to have a sale this year but just yesterday we received notice of a very, very generous plant donation so the sale is on and we will hope for the best,” said OrchidMania South Florida volunteer Marianne Swan in an email.

There will be orchids, hoyas, succulent dish gardens, tropical plants and more. Call 786-408-3897 or visit

5,000 new books donated

Many families lost everything when Hurricane Irma hit South Florida. Especially devastating was the loss of many items at the Community Healing Project where a storage unit filled with donated clothes, laptops, books and dry foods was destroyed. The group continues to recover from the effects of the storm.

The Pi Beta Phi fraternity for women helped by donating 5,000 new books to Community Healing Project and other area nonprofits with literacy programs for children in low-income families who were affected by the storm.

“Our Fraternity of more than 300,000 women is united in the cause to promote the importance of reading,” said Pi Beta Phi president Paula Shepherd in a release. “Pi Beta Phi is thrilled to participate in this book donation because we believe reading transforms individuals, creates leaders and is the foundation of all that we can achieve in life.”

Some of the donated books were used for the Community Healing Project’s “Spring into Reading” program.

“Education is not a choice, it’s a necessity,” said Dyrell Johnson, founder and president of Community Healing Project in a release. “We believe that each and every child is owed a quality education. Reading matters, education matters and our children’s futures matter.”

Pi Beta Phi is helping through a partnership with First Book, a nonprofit that provides new books to its national network of schools and programs.

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