Nationally Award Winning NORDC/NOBA Center for Dance Celebrates 25th Anniversary

Tuition-Free Dance Program Has Become National Model for Public/Private Partnership

New Orleans, LA (June 1, 2016) - This September, the nationally award winning NORDC/NOBA Center for Dance, a partnership of the nonprofit New Orleans Ballet Association (NOBA) and the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission (NORDC), will commemorate its 25th anniversary. 

The NORDC/NOBA Center for Dance was founded in 1992 with the mission of providing tuition-free, high quality dance training for any youth in Orleans Parish. It has since become a national model for public/private partnership, earning accolades like the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities Award and catching the attention of renowned dance institutions all over the world. Annually, over 5,000 tuition-free classes and activities are provided to participants ages 3-80+.

"For 25 years, this award-winning collaboration between the New Orleans Ballet Association and the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission has introduced thousands of young people to dance classes at no cost.  It is an excellent example of an effective public/private partnership.  We appreciate their continued investment in our city's youth," says New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu.

Since the partnership's inception, NOBA has provided more than 50,000 tuition-free classes and activities to more than 16,000 community participants of all ages, ethnicities and socio-economic backgrounds as part of the NORDC/NOBA Center for Dance. Every week during the academic year, classes include ballet, Haitian, modern, hip hop, jazz, tap, senior dance fitness, yoga, tai chi, adults with disabilities, early childhood development, and more.

"I've worked with NOBA since 1994. It is an incredibly progressive and positive organization that exposes youth to some of the industry's most notable teachers, choreographers, directors and dancers. It is unparalleled in its reach. Having worked all over the world for the past 30+ years, I don't know of another program that offers young people the kinds of opportunities that these students are afforded," comments Complexions Contemporary Ballet Artistic Director Dwight Rhoden. "NOBA sets a standard for excellence through diversity on all levels. Having watched the various classes and collaborations over the years, NOBA is using the art of dance to create unity within a community that is an example of a world we all hope to live in."

The NORDC/NOBA Center for Dance Pre-professional Program is one of the things that sets NOBA apart from other dance organizations. The curriculum, which trains students for careers in dance, is taught by an exceptional local faculty and world-renowned artists throughout the year - like Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, San Francisco Ballet, Martha Graham Dance Company, Dance Theatre of Harlem, and The Joffrey Ballet, to name a few -  many of whom perform as part of NOBA's Main Stage Season.

NOBA Summer Intensive guest artist and Juilliard graduate Chanel Da Silva of Trey McIntyre Project agrees that the program is crucial to the success of aspiring young dancers. "I am a product of something like this - a program like NOBA," Da Silva shares. "It has to happen, it just has to. There are so many beautiful young people that are destined for success and if they miss that one opportunity, they just become another person that could've danced."

For many of its participants, the NORDC/NOBA Center for Dance program has opened doors to scholarships, college acceptances and further professional development. Students often go on to perform on national stages and are hired by top dance companies. One such student is New Orleans native Courtney Ross, who began her studies with the NORDC/NOBA Center for Dance at the age of nine and now dances with Ailey II.

"Without NORDC/NOBA Center for Dance support, I would have never been afforded the opportunities and exposure that have carried me to my budding professional career. NORDC/NOBA has always been by my side as I achieve my dreams. It has been an honor to be able to say that I am an alumna of such a great organization," says Ross.

So how is a public/private partnership like the Center for Dance able to provide such a broad scope of services to the community completely free of charge? After all, the program provides more than $1 million in classes and activities each year at nine NORDC sites across the City of New Orleans. NOBA's Executive Director Jenny Hamilton says it's the quality and life-changing potential of the program that perpetuates its generous funding and community support.

"The NORDC/NOBA Center for Dance keeps growing and expanding with classes consistently filling up and waiting lists at many centers. Our community sees the demand for this program and the impact that it has on our participants, and they want to be a part of what makes it possible. Whether it be jump-starting a young dancer's professional career or helping one of our senior citizen participants regain their mobility, this program is literally changing lives through the art of dance," says Hamilton.

In September, the NORDC/NOBA Center for Dance will commemorate its 25th Anniversary alongside its broad community of supporters - both from the Greater New Orleans region and across the world. Event details will be announced in the coming months

For more information, connect with NOBA on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, or visit Images and video pertaining to the NORDC/NOBA Center for Dance can be provided upon request by contacting Christine Rigamer at or 504-324-4242.

NOBA is the Central Gulf region's premiere presenting and service organization dedicated solely to the art of dance.  NOBA's dynamic Main Stage season annually features a diverse array of world-class companies and artists.  Each year NOBA provides concerts, classes, workshops and lectures to more than 30,000 area dance enthusiasts of all ages.  In addition, NOBA's nationally recognized award-winning education programs provide the youth of our community access to quality arts programs with over 5,500 tuition-free dance classes and workshops annually at thirteen sites throughout the Greater New Orleans area. 

NOBA is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts; a grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation & Tourism, in cooperation with the Louisiana State Arts Council as administered by the Arts Council New Orleans (ACNO); and a Community Arts Grant made possible by the City of New Orleans and administered by ACNO.

New Orleans Ballet Association | 935 Gravier St., Suite 800 | New Orleans, LA 70112


Media Contact:
Christine Rigamer
Gambel Communications