Institute for Spanish Arts (Santa Fe, NM)

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  Large group of female flamenco dancers, arms raised in a dramatic moement of the dance

Students in Flamenco’s Next Generation, part of the Institute for Spanish Arts’s children and youth programming, perform in a 2005 Christmas recital.    Photo courtesy of the Institute for Spanish Arts

Founded in 1970 by Maria Benitez, the Institute for Spanish Arts (ISA) has grown from one dancer -- Benitez -- and a guitarist into an organization whose extensive programming reaches 25,000 people each year.  Each of its programs is designed to preserve and strengthen the region’s Spanish and Hispanic culture and arts.  Its primary company, Teatro Flamenco, tours nationally and internationally, while its second company, Estampa Española -- made up of young, emerging, native New Mexican dancers -- brings the New Mexico region professional training and performance experience.  Every summer ISA provides workshops in dance and music, the success of which has inspired in-school programs for children ages 5-14.

In FY 2005, the Institute for Spanish Arts received an NEA Learning in the Arts grant of $30,000 in support of its Children and Youth programming, which includes year-round after-school programs, summer workshops, and professional development.  The program, which focuses on underserved Hispanic youth, works to instill in the students an appreciation and understanding of their Spanish culture by teaching flamenco dance and Spanish guitar classes.  Taught by members of Estampa Española, this program reaches 150 students each year.  At the end of each nine-week session, students display their new skills to their families and community in an open recital at the Maria Benitez Theatre.  New students and those who wish to continue their study of dance and music also can participate in scholarship summer classes and the International Spanish Dance & Music Workshop, an intensive two-week workshop that usually includes 60-80 scholarship students.

(From the NEA 2005 Annual Report)