Glenn Giron is happily immersed in the musical-theater scene in and around New York City. He’s appeared in many regional productions, including Anything Goes and My Fair Lady. “If it wasn’t for the training I received at the National Dance Institute [NDI New Mexico], my life would be completely different,” said Giron, who began taking classes with NDI when he was a fourth grader at Nava Elementary School. While most of the thousands of New Mexico students who go through NDI’s statewide program don’t become professional stage performers, many of them benefit from the support and training they receive.
NDI was founded in New York by Jacques d’Amboise, while he was still a principal dancer with New York City Ballet. He began teaching boys ballet, creating a method for helping children develop discipline, standards, and a belief in themselves through the performing arts. D’Amboise took his program into the city’s schools, and in 1976, NDI was formally established. Catherine Oppenheimer, a New York City Ballet alum, started NDI New Mexico in Santa Fe in 1994 with the help of d’Amboise and founding board chair, Val Dicker. “Jacques’ New York program was successful, so when I moved to Santa Fe to start NDI New Mexico, I knew I was bringing something tried and true.”