Harlem’s National Dance Institute Announces New Executive Director

National Dance Institute (NDI), the arts education organization that delivers award-winning dance and music programs to thousands of children worldwide, 

announced that Juan José Escalante has joined as Executive Director.

Mr. Escalante is well known in the field of dance and the arts.  He brings extensive experience in non-profit leadership to NDI, having served most recently as Executive Director of José Limón Dance Foundation.

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National Dance Institute, founded by New York City Ballet principal dancer Jacques d’Amboise, engages children of diverse backgrounds and abilities through its unique teaching pedagogy, an approach that has become a widely adopted model for arts education worldwide.

In addition to delivering transformative programming to children in New York City and online, 12 Associates of National Dance Institute (ANDI) across the U.S. utilize NDI’s pedagogy to inspire children through the arts.  Collectively, 60,000 children participate in NDI’s programs each year.

“After an extensive search, it is with great enthusiasm that we welcome Juan José Escalante to NDI,” said Marc Solomon, NDI Board Chair.  “Juan José is passionate about arts education and understands the unique value and life-changing experience that NDI brings to children through the arts.  His visionary leadership and experience in the field of arts management will be invaluable to NDI as we look to our future,” Mr. Solomon added.


Mr. Escalante was selected as part of a national open call for applications that took place over the last six months led by Arts Consulting Group (ACG).  Juan José Escalante joins National Dance Institute at a time when the organization is embarking on its next phase of growth and will work alongside NDI’s new Artistic Director Kay Gayner and Board Chair Marc Solomon.

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Juan José Escalante joins NDI from the José Limón Dance Foundation where he served as Executive Director for over eight years.  Previously, he held various executive positions with well-known dance organizations, Miami City Ballet and New York City Ballet where he worked in arts management and campaign development.

“I am very much looking forward to joining the extraordinary team at NDI and to continue building and enhancing the great work the organization has been doing for decades, as well as expand upon the foundation that Jacques d’Amboise built,” said Juan José Escalante.  Adding that, “I have fond memories of Jacques from when I was a member of the staff at New York City Ballet.  I am honored to work alongside the talented teaching artists, management and staff at NDI who are truly dedicated to creating a better society and life journey for children through the arts,” he said.

Mr. Escalante currently serves on the Board of Dance NYC.  He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration, a Master’s Degree in Global Management, and has completed the Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management Program at Harvard University.  Mr. Escalante has chaired the national committee for small and medium companies for DanceUSA, and the Cultural Executive’s Committee for the Palm Beach County Cultural Council.

National Dance Institute

National Dance Institute (NDI) was founded in 1976 by New York City Ballet principal dancer Jacques d’Amboise and leads the field of arts education with a model program that is replicated worldwide.

Since its founding, NDI has impacted the lives of more than two million children through engagement in immersive, participatory dance and music programs.

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Through school partnerships, after-school classes, public performances, and teaching artist training, NDI’s inclusive programming deliver invigorating and joyful responses to the critical need for transformative and relevant arts education for all children.

Each year, NDI delivers its award-winning arts and learning programs to more than 6,000 public school children per week throughout New York City and reaches thousands more through 12 NDI associate programs across the United States.

Associates of National Dance Institute (ANDI) include California Dance InstituteCelebrate the BeatTreasure Valley Institute for Children’s ArtsKids Dance OutreachNew Hampshire Dance InstituteTrenton Education Dance Institute (TEDI), NDI New MexicoArts in ActionArt SparksMomentumKids Excel El Paso and Minds in Motion.

In 2011, NDI opened the doors to the National Dance Institute Center for Learning & the Arts in Harlem, furthering its mission and expanding its reach to serve more children.

For more information, visit NDI online at nationaldance.org, on Twitter @NationalDance, Facebook and Instagram @NationalDanceInstitute; and YouTube and LinkedIn @NationalDanceInstitute.

Photo credit: Chris Jones

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