Elementary Students in New Mexico Learn Flamenco During Critical After-School Hours

Imagine a room full of third, fourth, and fifth graders completely engaged, excited, and focused on learning learn to flamenco. 

At Enos Garcia Elementary in Taos, New Mexico, they didn’t have to imagine it; it happened for an entire week after school, all at no cost to the students or the school, thanks to the DEA Educational Foundation Youth Dance Program (DEAEF YDP).

“We’re so happy with this drug prevention and dance program. Our boys and girls loved this so much. It was really big deal in our school and for these kids!”

Paula Oxoby-Hayett, Community School Coordinator
La Emi from EmiArteFlamenco Academy performing at the end of week performance. EmiArteFlamenco Academy performers. Performance crowd. EmiArteFlamenco Academy and youth performers.

The DEAEF Youth Dance Program partnered with EmiArteFlamenco Academy, a dance company in New Mexico, to conduct the class. EmiArteFlamenco Academy is co-produced and co-directed by celebrated dancer, La Emi and is comprised of an ensemble of artists, dancers and musicians from New Mexico and across the globe. They are renowned for embodying the power, passion and virtuosity of the art of flamenco. Their mission is to promote the history and culture of traditional flamenco through cutting-edge performances and classes, captivating people of all ages, which made them a great fit for the DEAEF YDP.

At the end of the week, students’ parents were invited to watch their kids perform, learn more about the DEAEF’s drug misuse and abuse education, and as a special treat, dancers from EmiArteFlamenco Academy also performed. It was the first live event that Enos Garcia held in their auditorium since COVID and parents took it very seriously, with some even bringing flowers for their kids.

“All of the dancers with EmiArteFlamenco Academy were so generous at the assembly,” said Paula. “They were preparing for a sold-out show that night, but they came to our school to perform for free for our parents and students.”

Paula pointed out that after conducting a student survey, many students said that the DEAEF Youth Dance Program was the highlight of their year. “La Emi is an excellent teacher,” said Paula. “She connected in a loving yet firm way and treated the students like little professionals. They loved it.”

The DEAEF looks forward to expanding the program in Enos Garcia Elementary School in the near future.

by Meredith Liepelt

Updated May 31, 2023

YDP, Partnerships