The National Dance Institute is an art-based education program in New York City. It teaches important life skills through the form of art that includes dance and music. NDI is a nonprofit, Harlem-based program founded by Jacques d’Amboise who shared the belief that all children despite origin, gender or skill should be allowed to access the physical use of art.
NDI’s free in-school program, which currently encompasses 41 New York City schools and more than 6,500 students per week, offers a mesmeric experience and participation offers the reward of knowledge. NDI dancers represent a diverse population: 16 percent are African-American, approximately 34 percent identify as Hispanic or Latino, 20 percent are Asian and 28 percent are Caucasian. The majority of NDI dancers come from low-income communities.
There are 12 associate programs across the country and an international exchange program in Shanghai, China. In 2011, NDI unveiled its National Dance Institute Center for Learning and the Arts, on West 147th Street in Harlem, allowing the organization to work toward reaching its goal of giving art to thousands of students.
Shelley Harwayne, educator and former district superintendent for the New York City Department of Education, stated “There are children who live each day struggling with academics, with complicated family lives and with emotional and physical challenges. I have seen these children leave the dance floor with a renewed spirit of hope, better able to handle the problems they face because of the inner peace they derive from the beauty of dance.” Since the founding of National Dance Institute, more than 2 million children’s lives have been influenced by this free program.
NDI is located 217 W. 147th St. between Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard and Frederick Douglass Boulevard. For more information about future classes that start September 16 through December 21, please visit http://www.nationaldance.org/index.htm.