Feast your eyes on NMDT’s ‘Garden Festival’

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By Special to the Monitor

The School of New Mexico Dance Theater (NMDT), directed by Susan Baker-Dillingham, will present its sixth annual spring recital, “A Garden Festival,” at 7 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday at the Duane W. Smith Auditorium.


Advance tickets are available at Uli’s Cottontails and cost $10 for adults and $5 for students and seniors. Children age 4 and younger are free.

“I like to incorporate a theme into each year’s recital,” director Baker-Dillingham said. “A theme not only gives the many students involved a sense of belonging, but also provides the faculty a realm in which to work and provides a well-rounded feeling to the entire event.”

This year’s recital includes 210 students performing 36 dances in styles ranging from jazz, tap and flamenco to all levels of ballet.

NMDT also welcomes back the Los Alamos Hilltappers for their second year in a row in a dance choreographed by Brooke Davis.

Dance is a performing art and Baker-Dillingham has put emphasis on the performing aspect.

In the last three years alone, her non-profit 501c3 organization NMDT-Performance Company – made up of intermediate and advanced dancers from the NMDT school – has performed full-length ballets such as “Dracula,” “Snow White,” “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” “Cinderella,” “Alice” and most recently “The Sleeping Beauty.”

“Students learn to perform by getting onto the stage at every opportunity they can,” Baker-Dillingham said. “That’s why it is important for me to include every age group on the largest stage our community offers during NMDT spring recitals,” she said.

“All of my students, whether they are 3 or an adult, are getting the feel of what it is like to perform in front of a large audience, in a large space, surrounded by lights and applause. It is also important to me that after all the hard work the teachers and students put into their dances, they have the chance to perform twice.”

Baker-Dillingham always honors the graduating seniors leaving her program. This year’s seniors include Kelsey Mann, Zoe Martin, Kendra Smale, Patricia Stan, Elizabeth Stockton and Hannah Taylor. Each dancer will present a solo variation and bring the recital to a close.

The NMDT School provides 35 classes per week to more than 230 students in the heart of downtown Los Alamos at 147 and 149 Central Park Square.

The NMDT faculty, which includes Carol Liebmann Selena Offenberg, Daren Savage, Ellen Walton and Baker-Dillingham, teach professional-level classes in creative ballet, creative jazz, tap, jazz, flamenco, young boys ballet, men’s ballet, pointe, partnering and all levels of ballet including adult.

Summer programs to be offered at NMDT this year include the fourth annual Prince and Princess Lessons, fourth annual Young Dancers Workshop, fifth annual Summer Dance Intensive for intermediate and advanced dancers and a month-long summer term.

Please call 920-9134 or visit www.NMDT.org for more information about “A Garden Festival” or NMDT summer programs.