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PADI's Dance Alive provides after-school program for Gadsden elementary students

The New Mexico State University Pan American Dance Institute's Dance Alive Program will begin running this month for its second semester, providing free, after-school dance lessons for grades 4-6 in nine Gadsden Independent Schools.

Dance Alive coordinator Katherine Million and six instructors will travel to nine Gadsden elementary schools Mondays through Thursdays throughout the school year, teaching students a variety of dances including hip-hop, jazz, modern, rhythm and partner work.

"The students will also have the chance to work on choreography which gives them the opportunity to work together to build dance routines," Million said.

Students participating in the Dance Alive Program meet two days a week and at the end of the semester perform at a family night in which their parents and families are invited to attend.

The Dance Alive Program is funded by the 21st Century Grant, which also sponsors the Science, Engineering, Mathematics and Aerospace Academy (SEMMA) at NMSU. In addition to funding the program, supplying after-school snacks to participating students, providing funding for buses to make an extra trip to pick up students, the grant also provides salary and mileage compensation for instructors, and pizza for attendees at family night.

Million says she hopes the program will have 25 students at each of the nine elementary schools, totaling 225 students each semester.

"A lot of the students we work with come from low-income households. This program provides them with snacks, an after-school program and the opportunity to show what they've learned at the end of the semester," Million said.

PADI also offers Dance Alive dance and fitness programs for NMSU students, faculty members and the community. Pilates, yoga and zumba are offered for adults and flamenco, hip-hop, jazz, world dance, creative movement and modern dance are offered for children ages 4-14. Fees from these classes help pay the instructor's salary and provide scholarships for students in the dance program.

Dance Alive under PADI will eventually become part of NMSU's Center for the Arts and will continue to provide community and university programs. For more information on Dance Alive programs call the NMSU Dance office at (575) 646-2070.