In the early 90’s I joined a dance company called The National Dance Institute (NDI) which is based out of Manhattan, NY. The National Dance Institute (NDI) was founded in 1976 by New York City Ballet principal dancer Jacques d’Amboise to put on dance classes for inner city children.
NDI works with mainstream, bilingual, and special education classes. Each year, NDI helps over 35,000 New York City public school students, their parents, teachers and local communities through classes, residencies and performances.
The classes provided by NDI are taught by professional artists, who work with 4,000 New York City public school children each year in their partner schools throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx. The majority of NDI dancers come from low-income communities, and all NDI programs are offered to children free of charge. NDI is a not-for-profit arts education organization, and the dance programs are tuition free. Among NDI dancers, the diversity is amazing. Its like the United Nations, a big melting pot of culture.
When I was a kid dancing with NDI I had the honor of dancing with 1,000 kids on stage all at the same time at Madison Square Garden where we performed a show called Rose Bud. It was one of the best experiences of my life and I will never forget that moment. I also had to give NDI a shout out for their performance they had this past year at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I was so proud of them they did an amazing job and it was so awesome to see them perform.
I have made some great friendships within NDI especially when I attended their summer camp programs. The memories I have are forever imprinted in my heart and I will cherish them always.
Since I currently am located in the west coast NDI was kind enough to introduce me to CDI – California Dance Institute which is located out in Los Angeles, CA. Where I got to meet Carole Valleskey.
In 2001, Carole Valleskey, formerly a principal dancer with the Joffrey Ballet, founded California Dance Institute (CDI) as a West Coast affiliate of NDI. California Dance Institute teachers have all been trained in the rigorous NDI teaching methodology.
Mission for CDI: California Dance Institute (CDI) is an in-school and after-school non-profit arts education program that teaches life and learning skills through dance and music. CDI’s mission is to motivate children to develop a personal standard of excellence by instilling confidence, discipline and focus through the rigor and joy of dance. Founder and Director Carole Valleskey, formerly a principal dancer with the Joffrey Ballet, started CDI in 2001. During the current school year CDI is serving over 1600 children in ten public schools in underserved neighborhoods throughout Los Angeles. In its thirteen-year history, CDI has served over 14,000 Los Angeles area children.
CDI is the California associate of the National Dance Institute (NDI). The program is unique in the arts education world because its focus is not on achieving mastery of a particular dance form, but rather on recognizing and striving for excellence.
In 2016 I had the honor of helping teach a CDI dance class and boy did that bring joy to my soul. Seeing the kids experience what I got to experience made my day and made me realize how amazing NDI and CDI truly is. This coming 2017 I will be more involved with CDI and I can’t wait to see what great things we plan to do.
For more information please visit their social media pages down below and help spread the word about these amazing programs that I am honored to be apart of.