Hailing from a Staten Island, Italian family, transfer student Jodie Dellaventura’s road to the University of Miami has been anything but ordinary.
A laid-back artist with a love for penguins, Dellaventura began with a job at her family’s pizzeria, continued with a career in the local pro-wrestling circuit and is now culminating her professional career in technical design for various productions in South Florida.
“While I always love to build things, I expected to stay in the restaurant business or stick to wrestling,” said Dellaventura.
Known as Jodi X in the ring, she wrestled for about seven years, worked as a ringside manager, and promoter, and co-founded Future of Wrestling Incorporated.
Dellaventura had not planned to enter into the world of professional wrestling.
“I was doing a little managing and suddenly I was getting hit in the head with metal trash cans, and wrestling 200 pound guys,” she said. “I loved performing and basically that’s what wrestling is, a performance.”
It was this love for performance that led to a larger decision to go into theater after her company folded in 2003.
“When I graduated from high school I thought I was done with school,” she said. “But I took one class at Broward College in stage crafting and I knew it was something I wanted to do.”
After graduating with her associates degree, Dellaventura was prompted by her professor and UM alum Michael Williams to put together a portfolio and applied to the University of Miami for admission in the fall 2008 class.
Since then, Dellaventura has dived into the world of technical design, inside of the walls of UM and outside. Her work ethic is astonishing.
In this semester alone, she designed the entire set for “RENT.” She also designed sets for “Peter Pan” at the Coral Springs Institute for the Arts and “Going to see the Elephant” with the Women’s Theatre project. Simultaneously she balanced a full class schedule and a job in the machine shop.
“Jodi is good at what she does because she is passionate about her work and strives for excellence,” said April Soroko, resident scenic designer for the Jerry Herman Theatre. “She doesn’t settle for less than what she feels is necessary to tell the story.”
Dellaventura will graduate in two weeks with a BFA in technical design, which she says is one of her biggest accomplishments.
“Jodi is determined to be a successful designer,” Soroko said. “She is an incredibly hard worker.”
The future is still uncertain for Dellaventura.
“I’m not sure what’s next, but I’d like to stay in the area, get some consistent jobs,” she said, and then added, “I’ll see where theater takes me.”
Kelly Burns may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.