Amadeus: A Huge Impact

This story was published by on January 7, 2016


When Amadeus Hernandez was in the 4th grade, his elementary school participated in an outreach program with us. He didn’t know anything about dance, or about the non-profit organization bringing dance instructors and musicians to public schools each week.   Once the first class began, as Amadeus put it, “I was hooked! It was so much fun!”

Our outreach instructors teach with an exuberant and inclusive approach that uses dance as a vehicle to teach children discipline, a standard of excellence, and a belief in themselves that carries over into all aspects of their lives. When speaking of one of his first instructors, Associate Artistic Director Jackie Oliver, Amadeus says that she “is like family to me…she boosted my confidence level  and had a huge impact on my life.”

Amadeus, now in his senior year in high school, has been participating in our programs for eight years. In elementary school he joined one of our after-school programs, the Super Wonderful Advanced Team (SWAT). At that time, our outreach programs had been in Albuquerque Public Schools for ten years, but we didn’t have a facility for our after-school programs. Amadeus and hundreds of other students met for rehearsals in rented spaces on the weekends where they learned choreography, jazz and tap technique, and pushed themselves to meet new challenges year after year in culminating performances.

In 2011, we completed a major capital campaign and renovated The Hiland Theater on Central Avenue. It now serves as a permanent home for our programs in Albuquerque, and allow for growth of after-school programs to serve more youth with our affordable and award-winning programs. We believe that all children have the capacity to discover excellence within themselves especially when they see examples of excellence around them and are exposed to art at the highest level. To that end, we often partner with guest artists, who not only bring something special to Albuquerque audiences, but also affect the lives of these young students, inspiring them to dream about possibilities in their own lives, and giving them personal experience with the rewards that come with hard work and perseverance.

On February 19 and 20, Amadeus and 55 other students, will be performing in “Winter Dance Escape” at The Hiland Theater, and will share the stage with professional guest artists from the internationally renowned Boston Ballet, as well as members of the local New Mexico Ballet Company. The Hiland students’ blossoming technique will be on display in Carnival of the Animals, with music by Camille Saint Saens performed by a live chamber orchestra, featuring choreography by Evelyn Cisneros-Legate, The Hiland Program’s Artistic Director.

Ms. Cisneros-Legate came to New Mexico three years ago to direct the program after an illustrious career as a principal dancer with San Francisco Ballet. As the first Hispanic principal dancer with a major American ballet company, she has a special place in her heart for bringing the ballet to children who might not ordinarily have exposure to the art form, which has so much to teach children about discipline and excellence.

See this excellence on display, February 19 and 20, 7pm.

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Learn more about our statewide programs here:

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