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National Dance Institute films dancers in 3 gorgeous NM locations

National Dance Institute of New Mexico took students out to White Sands National Park last October for a short film. (Courtesy of NDI New Mexico)

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

White Sands National Park.

Abiquiú Lake.

Valles Caldera National Preserve.

These are the locations that National Dance Institute of New Mexico chose for its film, “Vastness, A Socially Distanced Dance Film for a Global Pandemic.”

The short film will premiere at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday on New Mexico PBS’ YouTube and Facebook pages.

“The film was during last September and October,” says Cynthia Delgado, government & corporate relations director for NDI New Mexico. “All of the music was composed by one of our music directors.”

The film features more than 50 advanced student dancers ranging in age from 13 to 18.

The script and choreography were also done by NDI New Mexico staff and students.

Delgado says the film highlights the amazing geographic beauty of the New Mexico landscape and its inspiring creative energy that fuels the performance. “With dancers unable to perform in a theater, the beautiful landscapes of New Mexico become the stage,” Delgado says. “The visual elements and thematic messages of the film bring together the exquisite beauty, unique character, diverse cultural elements, and artistic expression of our beloved state. This wealth has been a deep source of hope, inspiration, and peace for so many New Mexicans during the dark times of the pandemic.”

A scene from the short film, “Vastness , A Socially Distanced Dance Film for a Global Pandemic” was filmed at the Valles Caldera National Preserve. (Courtesy of NDI New Mexico)

The production followed social distancing guidelines, working in very small groups, rehearsing in masks, and filming at a distance.

“We undertook this project because we know that young people thrive, gain life skills, and build grit and resilience when they are offered opportunities to learn and express themselves through high-caliber artistic experiences,” says Russell Baker, NDI New Mexico executive director. “At NDI New Mexico, the arts have a power to engage and motivate young people, and what we created in this film brought connection, solidarity, and hope to the dancers through extraordinary challenges, and we are excited to share that experience with audiences around the state.”

A special “¡COLORES!” episode will also air at 4 p.m. April 17 on New Mexico PBS, Channel 5.1.

The series will have a behind-the-scenes look at the short film.

“Once I saw the film ‘Vastness,’ I was intrigued to learn what went into its creation,” says Tara Walch, ¡COLORES! producer. “These young artists worked so hard to find a way to express the culmination of their dance practice to an audience during a pandemic. … The students, dance instructors and the whole team at NDI New Mexico are wonderful to work with. They really love what they do.”

National Dance Institute of New Mexico students filmed a short film at three locations including Abiquiú Lake. (Courtesy of NDI New Mexico)

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