NDI Youth Performance Returns Friday, Dec. 11

SOCORRO, N.M. December 4, 2015 – The youth dance extravaganza returns to Socorro with public performances Friday, Dec. 11. The National Dance Institute is now in its 20th year in Socorro and returns with a River theme this year.

“Rollin’ on the Rio” features original music, choreography and a theme about flowing water— the history of rivers, how they affect the culture and ecology around the world--including our own Rio Grande. And of course, more than 200 youths – mostly fourth-graders, will perform in the show.


Fourth-graders rehearse for the December 11 performances of 'Rollin' on the Rio'. 

Photos by Dana Chavez/New Mexico Tech



The National Dance Institute was founded in New York by Jacques D’Amboise, formerly the principal ballet dancer at the New York City Ballet, to give kids who would not otherwise have the opportunity, the chance to dance.  D’Amboise later founded the Santa Fe program through his student Catherine Oppenheimer.  Now NDI is in 34 communities around New Mexico, has taught more than 9,000 students in 96 school programs, Socorro being one of the oldest in-school programs in the state.

“NDI is awesome because it gives kids a hands-on experience,” said Ronna Kalish, director of the Performing Arts Series. “It’s an immersion in dance, music and theater. NDI builds self-esteem, teaches students about teamwork, discipline, and that striving for excellence leads to success. It also stresses the importance of healthy behaviors: eating good food and getting plenty of exercise.  It’s exciting to watch the kids because they bring so much energy and enthusiasm to their rehearsals and performance.” 

Each year, instructors travel around New Mexico conducting three-week residencies. This year’s director, Hannah Foss, has been working with local elementary students, rehearsing their routines in preparation for the public performances.

“Rollin’ on the Rio” will be performed three times: at 10am, 1pm and 7pm at Macey Center. The early shows are predominantly for Socorro schools. But for parents and community members who cannot attend the 7:00pm public performance, they may purchase a ticket for the 1:00pm performance.  There will be designated seating for adult attendees.  The evening show is open to the general public. Tickets are $6 for adults and free for youth, but they need to have a ticket.

In addition to all Socorro fourth-graders, older students – NDI alumni – form the SWAT and Celebration teams. One kindergarten class – the Tiny Tots – will also join the performance. The fourth-graders are from all schools in the district: San Antonio, Midway, Cottonwood, and Parkview. Sarracino, Socorro High School and Zimmerly Elementary are also represented.

“We have big SWAT and Celebration teams this year and they are really the anchor that holds the whole show together,” Kalish said. “This is the best hands-on arts experience I’ve ever seen and I’m so excited that we have this in Socorro and have had it for 20 years.  I encourage the community to come out and support the kids.  You will be amazed.  But get to Macey early, it’s going to be packed!”

This year’s sponsors are Don and Rosie Tripp, Wells Fargo, Econo Lodge, Walmart, McElvain Oil & Gas, Socorro County Alcohol & Drug Prevention Program and New Mexico Arts.

Tickets are on sale at Sofia’s Kitchen Drive Thru, Socorro Chamber of Commerce, NM Tech’s Fidel Center Cashier on the 2nd Floor and at the door.  For further information, call 835-5688.

– NMT –