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About Us

About Us




NDI New Mexico is founded with the knowledge that the arts have a unique power to engage and motivate children. The purpose of our distinctive programs is to help children develop discipline, a standard of excellence, and a belief in themselves that will carry over into all aspects of their lives.

Our work is guided by our belief in children, as well as our commitment to social responsibility, excellence, sustainability and financial integrity.



children reached by statewide programs
public school teachers
audience members
NDI-NM programs in elementary schools
schools on the waiting list
children and families served from minority ethnic groups
children and families served by NDI-NM live in poverty







NDI New Mexico’s kinesthetic teaching methodology was developed by former NYCBallet dancer and MacArthur Fellowship recipient, Jacques d’Amboise, who founded NDI in New York City in 1976. In 1994, Catherine Oppenheimer, formerly of NYCBallet and Twyla Tharp Dance Company, co-founded NDI-NM in Santa Fe. Over the last sixteen years, NDI-NM has grown from serving 100 children in one school to reaching more than 60,000 children through in-school, after-school, summer and advanced training classes in 36 communities across the state.



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NDI New Mexico brings award-winning arts and physical education programs to underserved children in urban, rural and Native American communities throughout New Mexico.

Outreach Program
Partnering with public schools, NDI New Mexico provides dance classes as part of each school’s curriculum for children ages five to thirteen. A certified NDI New Mexico instructor and pianist teach every class. At the conclusion of each program, students celebrate their success through a public performance or assembly.

Children who are motivated and capable of learning advanced choreography are invited to participate in after-school Advanced Training and summer programs.

The Dance Barns and The Hiland at NDI New Mexico
We also offer rigorous performing arts classes for all ages with sliding-scale tuition at The Dance Barns in Santa Fe and The Hiland in Albuquerque. For more information about classes in Santa Fe, visit or in Albuquerque, visit

Teaching Excellence®
Teaching Excellence® introduces NDI New Mexico's proven teaching techniques to current and future NDI New Mexico instructors. This pedagogy program includes a two-week introductory course and year-long apprentice program. For more information visit

HIP to Be Fit®
In 2004, NDI New Mexico received a three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education to develop fitness and nutrition curricula for elementary school teachers and students, and to measure the program’s impact. Today, the HIP to Be Fit® curriculum addresses nutrition and healthy living in a fun and accessible way so that children can learn to adapt new, healthy behaviors.


Community Support

Join our NDI New Mexico family of donors! As a nonprofit organization, NDI New Mexico relies on community partnership and support to continue to bring our programming to more than 6,000 children each year throughout the state. Federal, state and city governments; foundations, corporations and generous individuals provide critical funding. To make a contribution, contact 505-983-7646  or click here!

The Dance Barns and The Hiland Theater

The Dance Barns in Santa Fe is NDI New Mexico’s home base for statewide programming. In addition to after-school, summer and advanced training programs, it provides a creative center for staff, dancers, families and community members. More than 600 children come each week for performing arts classes at The Dance Barns.

NDI-NM is developing the historic Hiland Theater on Central Avenue in Albuquerque, NM. Once renovated, The Hiland Theater will be a vibrant, safe, inviting space for Albuquerque children and families, a centerpiece in the revitalization of the Highland neighborhood and a hub for Residency programs in the central/southern part of the state. For more information, click here!

Our Goals

NDI New Mexico strives to reach children who need our programs the most regardless of language, culture or physical challenges. We teach that teamwork, tenacity, discipline and joyful effort can equal success—that hard work and an uncompromising standard of excellence result in a genuine sense of achievement and self-respect that can change the life of a child, any child.


NDI New Mexico programs are designed to:

  • help children develop discipline, a standard of excellence, and a belief in themselves that will carry over into all aspects of their lives;
  • improve self-confidence, school attendance and general behavior in and out of school;
  • improve grades and standardized achievement test scores;
  • promote good health through vigorous physical activity;
  • provide children with an opportunity to gain attention from peers, teachers and family members in positive ways;
  • foster better relationships between teachers and students by having teachers participate alongside students in the program;
  • form friendships among children and adults from vastly different economic, cultural and geographic backgrounds;
  • and make going to school a productive and joyful experience.

Impact and Evaluation

NDI New Mexico’s culture of assessment and evaluation ensures that our programs and instructors have a positive impact on children. We contract with RMC Research Corporation to conduct a rigorous independent evaluation of our programs. For more information, click here!