Born in Havana, Irene Rodríguez graduated in 1999 as a professional performer of Spanish dances and joined the Ballet Espanol de Cuba. After becoming Prima Ballerina of the company in 2007, she also worked extensively with Alicia Alonso and the National Ballet of Cuba. Rodríguez founded her own company in 2012, and made her Pillow debut with the engagement seen here. Two years later, the company gave its first performances in the Ted Shawn Theatre, including Amaranto, and she returned to that venue in 2022 with My Roots. Pena Negra was inspired by a poem entitled Romance de la Pena Negra, written by Federico Garcia-Lorca.