National Dance Institute raises $1.5 million at gala to support arts programs

The event featured performances by New York City public school students who benefit from NDI’s programming.

Matt Oner /

The National Dance Institute held its annual gala at the Ziegfeld Ballroom on Monday night and raised over $1.5 million to support arts education and programming for children in New York City. This was the first in-person event held by NDI since the pandemic began. The event featured performances by children from New York City public schools, many of whom benefit from NDI’s programming throughout the year. 

NDI, a nonprofit arts education organization founded by New York City Ballet principal dancer Jacques d’Amboise, provides arts education programming that reaches 60,000 children every year. The organization has made dance education accessible to more than two million worldwide since its founding in 1976. 

“It was so great to have the entire NDI family under the same roof to celebrate dance, music, and the art of performance,” said Juan José Escalante, NDI’s executive director. “We were delighted to see so many new faces as our circle of supporters keeps growing and a new generation of donors is joining us for the first time. The last time the children of NDI, who are students in New York City public schools, performed together on stage in a venue of this magnitude was back in April of 2019. The night was moving and uplifting, and the presence of our late founder, Jacques d'Amboise, was felt deeply throughout the evening.”

The night also celebrated Tony Award-winning actor Brian Stokes Mitchell as an artistic honoree, Ellen Weinstein, NDI’s artistic director emerita, with the Susan Newhouse Dream Maker Award, and Carlos Rodriguez, CEO of ADP, as a corporate honoree.

Juan Jose Escalante, NDI’s new executive director, noted donations have continued coming in post-gala, a sign of the New York community's strong support for public school students’ access to the arts.