|Legislative/PED Summer and Afterschool Enrichment Spotlight!
In April 2014 and 2015, the New Mexico state legislature earmarked over one million dollars for each year for afterschool and summer enrichment programs throughout the state. Take a look at how one program used their funds.
Between June 8 and June 26, 2015, National Dance Institute (NDI) New Mexico held its Santa Fe Summer Institute with 152 New Mexico public school students in 4th- through 9th-grade. The Summer Institute provided children with immersion in the performing arts, vigorous physical activity, nutrition education, opportunities to work together collaboratively and games and activities that taught core curriculum.
Students participated in three weeks of high quality, intensive dance and choreography training along with supplemental curriculum study and nutrition lessons. Lessons, activities and materials from NDI New Mexico's Health Initiative Plan (HIP) to Be FitŪ curriculum were intertwined with dance technique, choreography and academic learning. Students attended La Vida Verde, the Institute's conservation-themed summer program at The Dance Barns, Monday through Friday for seven hours each day for three weeks.
Instructors, students and guest teachers talked about conserving our natural resources and students spent time outside experiencing and learning about the environment. During the first week, NDI New Mexico partnered with River Source, the Santa Fe Watershed Association, the Wildlife Center and the New Mexico Wildlife Federation, providing students with a fun, informative, multi-faceted outdoor experience at Alto Park and the Santa Fe River. Students tested water quality and stream flow, identified plants, planted trees, learned how to make animal tracks and calls, and met some beautiful wildlife creatures.
Each student also completed a craft project, recycling old T-shirts that were sitting in storage and needed new lives. Students created tank tops, dog chew toys, headbands, belts, and shopping bags. Their creations were used in the culminating dance performances.
Seven choreographers explored many perspectives on conservation and the environment, and the students performed a wide range of creative, artistic dances. Performances included a story of a long-extinct bird, the auk, and warned about the perils of overusing a natural resource. Performances also included an African inspired dance about the Three Sisters (corn, beans, and squash), a trio of crops that support each other when planted together in a garden, an explosive hip hop dance performance about recycling, and a dance about Cesar Chavez and his historic efforts to bring attention to the plight of American farm workers. Other groups of students showed off their diverse performance skills with a contemporary dance about the state of our environment. This included a joyous, fast-paced dance celebrating a long-awaited rain, demonstrations of how common trash items can become creative inspiration for rhythmic tap sequences, and also a dance performance exploring the idea of connection across the many generations inhabiting our planet. The three-week program culminated in two performances on Friday, June 26, 2015.