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Buses and Dance: New York and New Mexico

Most people may not see a connection between the states of New York and New Mexico other than the use of the word "new." However, both states are home to two organizations recognized as leaders in their fields: Nova BUS incorporated and the National Dance Institute.

Nova BUS incorporated, with its parent company, Nova BUS Corporation, is the largest transit bus manufacturer in North America with plants in Roswell, New Mexico, and Schenectady, New York. The National Dance Institute is the leading program in providing dance programs in public schools in both New York and New Mexico. Both organizations are committed to raising the standard of excellence in their respective fields.

Now, with the assistance of the Roswell Interarts Organization (RIO), these two corporations, with disparate objectives but similar goals, have joined together to provide a program which will ensure future excellence. The National Dance Institute and Nova BUS incorporated are pleased to announce that NDI will return to Roswell for a two-week, intensive dance residency program in 1998. In March of this year, about eighty fourth grade students, some sixth grade students, and various teachers were involved in a program funded through a grant from the Threshold Foundation. The grant stipulated that future support for programs in Roswell was dependent upon acquisition of local funding support. Nova BUS incorporated stepped forward with a $7,000 contribution to fund the NDI program in 1998. This grant, along with additional funds provided by Threshold, will more than double the number of students who will participate in NDI’s innovative program.

NDI was founded in the belief that the arts have a unique power to engage and motivate children. The purpose of the distinctive dance programs is to help children develop discipline, a standard of excellence, and a belief in themselves that will carry over into all aspects of their lives. NDI serves children and educators by bringing programs directly into schools to foster a curiosity about the world, a love of the arts, and the pride of achievement.

It was this mission which convinced Nova BUS incorporated to fund the 1998 NDI Roswell residency. Other factors were the reports of employees involved in the program and the enthusiasm of the students, some of whose parents work at the Roswell facility.

Nova BUS incorporated General Manager David Hancock stated, "I am pleased to extend our Company’s support for the National Dance Institute. Nova BUS is committed to extending goodwill and being an active citizen in the states of New Mexico and New York. We actively seek ways to enhance the quality of life for our employees, their families, and our communities. Support of NDI fulfills these goals."

The National Dance Institute of New Mexico is an outgrowth of the National Dance Institute in New York City. Jacques d’Amboise, former George Balanchine protégé, founded the New York Institute in 1976. Since that time, the program has grown to serve over a thousand children a year in twenty-five schools in the New York area. Mr. d’Amboise has received many awards including the Kennedy Center Honors and a MacArthur fellowship for his achievements in arts education. The New Mexico organization was founded in 1990 by d’Amboise and Catherine Oppenheimer, a former New York City ballerina, and later, a teacher for the New York program.

"By providing this grant," Ms. Oppenheimer said, "Nova BUS incorporated will ensure an enriched educational experience for the children who participate. Nova BUS understands that quality arts education programs can, and do, make a difference."

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