Kay Gayner, To New Role As Artistic Leadership Role Of Harlem Based National Dance Institute

August 7, 2021

National Dance Institute (NDI), the organization founded by Jacques d’Amboise and dedicated to transforming children’s lives through the arts, announced today that Artistic Director Ellen Weinstein will retire on September 30, 2021. Ms. Weinstein began her tenure as Artistic Director in 1995 and has taken NDI to national prominence in arts education and teaching-artist training. NDI’s Associate Artistic Director Kay Gayner will step into the Artistic Director role.

Under Ms. Weinstein’s visionary leadership, National Dance Institute based in Harlem has scaled its operations across multiple program areas including: restructuring its signature In-School Program to increase the organization’s reach and deepen its impact on school communities; overseeing national expansion through the Associates of National Dance Institute (ANDI); and launching the NDI Collaborative for Teaching & Learning to disseminate NDI’s pedagogy and support the professional development of teaching artists.

During the pandemic, Ms. Weinstein led an organization-wide pivot to digital learning and spearheaded the NDI Dancemobile, a performance series that brought the joy and restorative power of live music and dance to communities and parks throughout NYC.

“It has been exhilarating to lead National Dance Institute through these last 25 years — a time of tremendous growth for the organization. I am so proud of all the work that NDI’s teaching artists, choreographers, musicians, and staff accomplish every day. Their talents, passion, and dedication to the mission have transformed the lives of tens of thousands of children,” said Ms. Weinstein. “With the support of NDI’s extraordinary Board, we have established a strong and stable foundation upon which the organization can build. I am confident that NDI will continue to grow and flourish in this next chapter and with leaders ready to serve Jacques’ original vision — to give children the best of everything.”

Ms. Weinstein will continue in an advisory position through 2022 working with NDI’s Board of Directors and staff to ensure a seamless transition as she passes artistic leadership to Kay Gayner.

Ms. Gayner has worked closely with Ms. Weinstein and Mr. d’Amboise for the last 20 years and has been intimately involved in developing and teaching NDI programming.

She is co-founder of the NDI DREAM Project for children with disabilities and has led the organization’s international expansion in China and Lebanon.

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Ms. Gayner has also been instrumental in facilitating NDI’s initiatives in diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility.

“Kay and I have been working together for much of both of our careers. She is a brilliant and creative artist who has brought many opportunities to the organization,” said Ms. Weinstein.

National Dance Institute (NDI) is a non-profit arts education organization founded in 1976 by ballet star Jacques d’Amboise.

Through school partnerships, after-school classes, public performances, and teaching artist training, NDI’s inclusive and joyful arts programming provides an environment where children celebrate cultural diversity through dance and music.

Since its founding, NDI has empowered the lives of more than 2 million children. NDI’s core programs are offered to children free of charge.

Since its founding, NDI has empowered the lives of more than 2 million children. NDI’s core programs are offered to children free of charge.

For more information: nationaldance.org

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