This story text was copied from the
text archives of the News and Observer. The story
includes several statements from Kirstie Tice regarding
her positive experiences with NDI and D'Amboise.
Published: Friday, March 21, 2003 12:00AM EST
Jacques D'Amboise is looking for 100
enthusiastic kids for a dance workshop.
The News & Observer
March 21, 2003
D'Amboise's dancing feat
Author: Orla Swift; Staff Writer
Section: What's Up
Grace, rhythm and flexibility
will get you far in a typical dance class.
But legendary dancer Jacques D'Amboise won't insist
on any of those things from the children he'll teach
in a special workshop in Cary this summer. All he demands
"I don't think I've ever worked with anyone that I couldn't
get to dance and perform," says D'Amboise, 68, former
principal dancer for the New York City Ballet and founder
of the nonprofit National Dance Institute. "As long
as they want to try, as long as they make the effort,
they will achieve success."
D'Amboise is hoping to gather 100 children 9 to 14 years
old for a six-day workshop that will culminate in a
performance at the Carolina Arts Festival on July 3
at Cary's Regency Park amphitheater. Children from throughout
the Triangle will be selected at an audition March 29.
The program is a collaboration by Carolina Arts Festival
and Applause! Cary Youth Theatre. The audition and the
workshop will be at the Herbert C. Young Community Center.
The workshop costs $165 for Cary residents; $195 for
others. Scholarships are available.
Those selected will work with D'Amboise from June 28
to July 3. D'Amboise will collaborate with all the children
on a new dance titled "First in Flight" to celebrate
the centennial of the Wright brothers' first flight.
Broadway star Terrence Mann, D'Amboise's son-in-law,
will write and perform an accompanying song. About half
of the youngsters will also perform in a piece D'Amboise
choreographed called "Free Rides of the Planet," which
is set to a poem by E.L. Doctorow and music by David
The festival will also include a concert version of
Mann's forthcoming musical adaptation of "Romeo and
D'Amboise founded his institute in 1976 to help engage
and motivate children no matter what their aspirations.
Each day, he says, about 2,000 children in mostly public
schools in New York and Jersey City, N.J., take institute
classes in dance, music history and related subjects
as part of their regular school curriculum. The lessons
culminate in an annual megaperformance called "The Event
of the Year." NDI has affiliate programs in seven states.
"We have no dropouts," D'Amboise said of the NDI classes,
in a phone interview this week. "That's how seductive
Still, he adds, the workshop schedule will be demanding.
"It's intensive," he says. "It's as if they were doing
a Broadway show."
Raleigh dance teacher Kirstie Tice can attest
to the effectiveness of D'Amboise's approach. She studied
teaching techniques through NDI and will assist D'Amboise
at this summer's workshop. D'Amboise will also
offer a workshop on teaching techniques while he's in
Cary. Teachers of any subject, from dance to math, are
"He is very focused on each child," says Tice,
who is assistant director [correction:
Artistic Director] of the North
Carolina Dance Institute. "Even though there is a room
full of 100 people, he takes the time to point out each
kid's success. Every child is important. Every child
counts. And he won't give up. He will work and work
and work until each child succeeds. It's superpositive."
D'Amboise's approach may come as a welcome relief
to dancers accustomed to the stern atmosphere of many
dance classes, says Tice, who graduated from North Carolina
School of the Arts.
"Everything has to be so perfect. Perfect, perfect,
perfect. Technique, technique, technique," she says,
recalling her strict dance upbringing. With NDI, she
says, "You don't have to be perfect. You just have to
try, and have a great time doing it."
Tice says her students are jazzed at the prospect
of auditioning to work with such a famous dancer. But
even if he weren't famous, she says, he'd still leave
"I think studying with Jacques and getting to
be in the same room with him leaves a lasting impression
on the kids," she says. "They feel so special, and the
energy he gives to them is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."
What: Auditions for National Dance Institute workshop.
When: March 29, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Call for appointment.
Where: Herbert C. Young Community Center, 404 Academy
More info: 469-4061, www.townofcary.org.