Barry Rochester was introduced to the Center for Modern Dance Education by his wife, Katonya Rochester, who is also an instructor at the Center. Mr. Rochester comes to the Center with a third-degree black belt in combat ju-jitsu. He also holds a first-degree in samurai sword, and is a tai-chi instructor. At CMDE, Mr. Rochester teaches non-combat martial arts. It is his opinion that there is a definite connection between
dance and martial arts. He sees his work as choreography, breathing, balance, and internal strength. For him each discipline is a form of moving meditation, a way to develop a person’s ability and to help them learn and evolve.
Mr. Rochester’s objective in all of his efforts is to share his experience and knowledge with his students, and to give them the sense of the freedom of movement while giving them the strength and confidence to live a safe and enjoyable life.
Mr. Rochester is the recipient of a number of awards, including a Russell Berrie Foundation Award for outstanding community service, a recognition of his work volunteering and running a mentoring program to interest and keep black students enrolled in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics field.
Mr. Rochester is an engineer by profession and is a fitness instructor at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT). Mr. Rochester is a former Marine who served his country during the Vietnam conflict. He is proud to say that he participated in the retrieval of the container ship, SS Mayaguez, which had been overtaken by a unit of the Cambodian Khmer Rouge.
Mr. Rochester graduated from NJIT with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering Technology. In addition to his work at CMDE, Mr. Rochester also instructs police officers, correctional officers, and bodyguards. He is a member of the Athletics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA/NASM) and is certified as a Personal Fitness Trainer and professional group exercise Instructor. Mr. Rochester is
also a member of CMDE’s Board of Trustees.