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Public School Programs

Teaching Excellence® Workshop



Join us for a fun and challenging two-week program for dance education professionals

August 25 - September 5, 2014

Teaching Excellence® participants are immersed in a highly focused and hands-on training in NDI New Mexico’s methodology, working daily with public school students in 3rd-6th grade. Trainees work closely with NDI New Mexico’s most experienced teachers to learn and practice a broad range of techniques and curriculum with students. Mornings are spent in the public schools, teaching in teams and observing and participating in classes. Afternoons are spent at the Dance Barns facility, working with master teachers and students from our advanced training teams. The program culminates in an exciting performance where teachers and students alike get to display their accomplishments for an audience of friends and families!


Participants leave the workshop not only with new skills and experience, but also with the Teaching Excellence® manual and curriculum. This 130 page resource will provide years of advice and reference as trainees go on to implement their new skills.

Applying for the Workshop

Applications are considered based on training and experience in dance performance, dance education and/or physical education, experience and desire to work with children. Applicants who are accepted are expected to have read through the training manual prior to the first class, and to be ready to work hard! Our teaching techniques are highly physical and require a fit body. Dance attire consists of sneakers and comfortable clothing.


The cost of the two-week program is $800. A down payment of $400 is necessary to secure a place in the workshop, and the balance of tuition is due on the first day of class. Trainees will be expected to arrange for their own transportation to Santa Fe. NDI New Mexico will provide a list of affordable housing options, and if possible, arrange for donated housing. Donated housing is not guaranteed.

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Teacher Training Staff

spa_russel_baker.gif Russell Baker, Executive Director
Russell began dancing while pursuing his B.A. in English from Vassar College. He received his M.F.A. in Ballet Teaching and Choreography from the University of Utah. Russell danced professionally with the Kansas City Ballet for ten years performing a wide variety of principal, soloist, corps de ballet, and character roles. The Kansas City Ballet premiered his ballet The Cloud Chamber in the spring of 2002. In 1999, he founded the Kansas City Contemporary Dance Ensemble, a pick-up company that presented free outdoor performances in Kansas City. Russell has been teaching with NDI-NM since 2002.
Emilyowman.jpg Emily Lowman - Santa Fe Outreach Director
Emily, the daughter of a theatre professor, began her career in children’s theatre and continued at the University of New Mexico, studying ballet, flamenco and modern dance including the techniques of Katherine Dunham, Bill Evans, Doris Humphrey and Jose Limón. During college, she traveled overseas with SUNY New Paltz to study the techniques of Martha Graham and Lester Horton and worked with the Readymade Dance Theater and Blythe Eden Dance Company in Albuquerque. After graduating from UNM in 2001 with an honors BA in Theatre and Dance, she danced with Murray Spalding Movement Arts in Santa Fe and apprenticed with NDI-NM’s Santa Fe Summer Institute, later becoming Director of this program. Emily was an Instructor for in-school, after-school and Advanced Training programs in Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico before becoming Associate Residency Director, then Residency Director in 2008.
no_image.gif Jackie Oliver, Albuquerque Artistic Director
Jackie has been dancing, performing, and choreographing throughout the Santa Fe and Albuquerque areas for over 19 years. She began her training under Patricia Dickinson and Suzanne Johnston in Albuquerque. Jackie has served on the faculty for the Annual Bill Evans Rhythm Tap Dance Jams and has performed for the Centrum’s Bill Evans Dance Intensive this summer in Port Townsend, WA. She has performed and choreographed for the New Mexico Ballet Company, the Bill Evans Rhythm Tap Ensemble, and the University of New Mexico Dance Department. Jackie has been a member of NDI-NM’s artistic staff since 2000.
Lizz.jpg Liz Salganek - Associate Artistic Director
Liz Salganek grew up in Santa Fe, where she trained and performed extensively in ballet, jazz, modern dance, and theater. She earned her B.A. in Dance from Barnard College of Columbia University, graduating summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. In New York she joined the faculty of the Barnard Dance Department, and worked as a modern dancer. Liz joined the NDI-NM staff in 2006, and has since taught in every branch of its programming. Her other work experience includes early childhood education, physical therapy, and Pilates.


no_image.gif Leslie Stamper, North Artistic Director
Leslie began dancing at an early age in her hometown of Columbia, Missouri, studying ballet, jazz and tap. She earned her degree in Theater Performance from the University of Missouri, while studying dance at nearby Stephens College. While in school, she was part of the "Golden Girls," a dance squad which won the ESPN National Dance Championship and performed throughout the country and in Japan. Upon graduation, Leslie performed professionally with the Missouri Professional Theater. Later, dancing took her aboard the Carnival Cruise Ship Jubilee, and then on to Los Angeles, where she danced in Annie Get Your Gun with Cathy Rigby at the La Mirada Theater for the Performing Arts. After two years in L.A., Leslie returned to Santa Fe and has been with NDI-NM since 2000.
bert.jpg Bert Dalton, Music Director
Bert has been with NDI-NM since 1996 and has served as Music Director since 1998. Bert received his music education at Northern Illinois University and has performed throughout the U.S., Australia, and New Zealand. His Latin jazz quartet Yoboso, won the 1995 B.E.T Jazz Discovery Competition and was twice awarded Best Recording of the Year by the New Mexico Music Industry Coalition. He was guest pianist and composer with the Allen Philharmonic Symphony in Allen, Texas, in December 2003, featuring an orchestral suite from "The Shamrock and The Feather," a sound track recording accompanying his wife Dori's novel of the same name.
no_image.gif Brian Bennett, Associate Music Director
Brian Bennett is a composer, pianist, bassist and teacher whose 30-year career in music has encompassed virtually the full gamut of musical experience. A native of Washington, D.C., his compositions have been performed and recorded in North America and Europe. Upon earning his doctorate in composition from UCLA following studies with William Kraft, Lukas Foss and Lawrence Moss, he worked in Lyon, France for five years. In his work as a pianist and bassist he has recorded extensively and performed in nearly every setting with many great musicians, including such world-class greats as John Taylor, Steve Swallow, John Scofield and Joe Diorio. Brian joined NDI-NM in 2003.