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For five days every Labor Day weekend, up to 75 young dancers-in-training from all over the world descend on Santa Fe, a small city at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in Northern New Mexico. Known for its dynamic energy, the city has far more artists (musicians, visual artists, designers, writers, songwriters, performing artists – you name it!) than any other comparable in size. Santa Fe manifests a remarkable creative spirit unlike few other places on Earth. 

The young artists accepted into the Preprofessional Dancer Institute (PDI) have the unique opportunity to be swept up by this spirit while they are challenged through hours upon hours of technical and artistic training, as well as being equipped with knowledge, tools, and resources for their future career in dance. The experience of dancing here is not something you can easily describe (except for the dehydration caused by an altitude of 7,300 feet above sea level). You just know it is special because you can feel it.

When the fifth and final day arrives, our dancers and faculty both understand that they have gone through something new and have been forever changed. That’s PDI – in good part because of the magic of Santa Fe. It’s been said that “this is a city where the wounded come for healing, and seekers come to find.” To be honest, we didn’t set out for PDI to call Santa Fe her home. But, given that many graduates have indeed started a process of healing since the institute’s inception in 2017, and discovered a renewed purpose and passion during their stay, it seems a grand plan was in the works from somewhere far beyond the limits of our own thinking. PDI and its high-desert home has become a sanctuary for young dancers journeying toward their future as a professional.