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A salsa song with a lively rhythm blares through the speakers at a Santa Rosa entertainment venue, and DJ Rosie Rodriguez has a crowd of dancers on their feet, moving to the music as the dance floor seems to float amid a rainbow of balloons.

The mood is celebratory, as it typically is when the energetic Rodriguez is hosting an event. She’s been a disc jockey and emcee in Sonoma County for 40 years, playing music and bringing people together.

Forget that Rodriguez, 60, has had two hip replacement surgeries. Petite and dynamic, she’s a whir of motion, with an outgoing personality and a genuine desire to make others happy.

“If you catch me in a chair, I’ve sinned,” the Rohnert Park resident said. “I don’t even think about sitting down.”

She prefers to dance and engages party-goers to twist, spin, shake, rattle and roll.

Even when the playlist features easy-listening tunes during dinnertime, Rodriguez isn’t stationary. She’s tapping her toes, swaying, sometimes clapping to the beat.

Her recent anniversary dance party was four hours of nonstop action, a spirited fundraiser for The Living Room, a Santa Rosa day program for homeless women and their children.

Wearing a signature purple wig and sequined attire that sparkled from head to toe, Rodriguez was in her element.

“Music takes you away,” she said. “I bring my love of music. Making people happy and sharing their joy give me great pleasure.

“That’s what’s important to me. I’m the emotional ride you’re going to take for the day.”

Her anniversary party marked her four decades spinning tunes, with a series of poster boards showcasing her long career. Although she grew up dancing and listening to music, she never aspired to become a DJ.

Her Latino parents — her dad is from Mexico City, her mom is Puerto Rican — instilled a love of family, music and dancing. They remodeled the basement of their home in San Francisco into a room with a dance floor so they could host dance parties for family and friends.

“Those were the days,” Rodriguez said. “Man, we had party after party after party, and celebrations.”

Even church was an opportunity for dance and music following services.

“I didn’t go to church to go to church. I went to church to dance,” Rodriguez said.

Of four siblings, three became DJs. Rodriguez happened into the profession after getting a job at The Music Box bar and restaurant in Santa Rosa in the late 1970s. Benita Mattioli, a co-owner, invited Rodriguez to spin disco tunes.

“What she saw in me was something I didn’t see in myself,” Rodriguez said. Rodriguez was 20 at the time, “with two kids and no husband and no self-esteem. All I knew was to dance.”

It was the disco era, with Rodriguez playing 45s by stars like Donna Summers and The O’Jays and popular songs like “Funkytown” by Lipps Inc. and “Ring My Bell” by Anita Ward. She never looked back.

“My family taught me how to dance and party and play good music.”

That foundation provided her with enough knowledge to relate to a crowd and keep the energy moving.

Rodriguez worked at The Music Box for two years before becoming a mobile DJ with a popular DJ of the era.

“It took me out of the night scene and into weddings and corporate parties,” Rodriguez said.

Six years later she ventured out on her own, providing music for celebrations of every kind. At one point, she traveled to venues with about 4,000 CDs. She’s changed with technology; the record albums, cassette tapes and 45s of her early years, and the CDs that followed, have been replaced with downloads on a laptop.

She no longer needs a van for her equipment; today she loads her compact car with ease with her two speakers, laptop and mixer and three small laser lights.

The key, she said, is having clients provide her with a playlist of requests to span four hours. Personalizing every party, wedding, anniversary or even memorial service assures happy clients and crowd-pleasing music.

Nearly every festivity includes perennially popular requests such as “La Bamba,” “Celebration” and “The Twist.” Weddings often include “Unforgettable,” “Unchained Melody” and, in recent years, “A Thousand Years” from “The Twilight Saga” movie soundtracks.

“I will not shoot down Bob Seger or Kool & the Gang,” Rodriguez said. “And someone’s always going to request ‘Y.M.C.A.’ They’ve been repeated so much they’re ingrained in us.”

Her most memorable request? A groom wanted Willie Nelson’s “To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before.”

“I’ll never forget that one,” she quipped.

She’s always amazed by the impact music has on people — songs that evoke emotions, energetic dance tunes that always get people moving, lyrics or melodies that elevate moods and make occasions memorable.

She provides music for staff and residents of Sonoma Developmental Center in Eldridge, where not everyone can walk, talk or dance. That, she said, doesn’t matter.

“They can smile and wiggle, is what they can do,” Rodriguez said. “I didn’t really know the effect music has on people, but it has such an effect.”

Audience size has never determined Rodriguez’ enthusiasm. She’s played with as much abandon for an all-night birthday party for 10 women in their 30s as for an Alcoholics Anonymous party with 1,200 guests.

“I lip sync, I dance, I bring them out there and get them to dance,” she said.

She wants each person to have a good time, even if they aren’t dancers.

“I have been to parties where no one dances, and that was hard for me at first,” she said. “I rely on my clients to know who their (guests) are.”

Rodriguez has worked at several other jobs over the years to supplement her DJ income.

She’s been a substitute teaching assistant, a sandwich maker, barista and a real estate agent off and on. She also designs jewelry and has been a spiritual counselor with the Center for Spiritual Living in Santa Rosa for more than 20 years.

She’s taken dance classes and bookkeeping courses to enhance her DJ work.

She sometimes dresses up in her old wedding gown adorned with feather wings and a silver halo to spread love and cheer as Angel Rosie for church events, special occasions or at rehab centers.

Rodriguez also finds time to minister to people on the streets with her sister, sings in the One Heart Choir, is a grandmother and great-grandmother and appears regularly on KOFY-TV’s “Dance Party” on Sundays with her daughter Trina, 42.

She also teaches line dancing classes at her mobile home park.

One of her students, 70-year-old Svitlana Nelson, was among the dancers at Rodriguez’ 40th anniversary dance party. Like Rodriguez, Nelson never misses a chance to dance.

“Rosie, she’s very good. She can really facilitate any dance party,” Nelson said. “She can facilitate anything.”

With so many weddings, parties, memorials, school events and fundraisers on her resume, Rodriguez is a familiar face to many — and it’s something she appreciates.

“I go nowhere in Sonoma County that somebody doesn’t know me,” she said.

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