National Dance Institute (NDI) believes that the arts have a unique power to engage all children and motivate them toward excellence. Founded in 1976 by the legendary ballet dancer Jacques d’Amboise and rooted in the belief that every child should have access to quality arts education, NDI has celebrated and empowered children to achieve more than they ever dreamed possible for over 45 years. More than two million children have been impacted through work with professional teaching artists who foster a love of arts, a curiosity about the world, and a desire to achieve.
NDI serves children of diverse backgrounds, abilities, and socioeconomic positions—transcending systemic barriers and expanding opportunities for all. Currently, NDI works with more than 6,500 students every week in partnership with 44 schools across the New York City region. The inclusive In-School Program ensures success for every child through a rigorous and well-defined structure that allows teaching artists to develop close working relationships with classroom teachers. These programs culminate in celebratory presentations where students perform for their peers, families, and communities.
Students who have demonstrated hard work, enthusiasm, and talent are invited to deepen their dance and music study by joining NDI’s advanced training programs—the SWAT Team (Scholarships for the Willing, Achieving, and Talented), Celebration Team, or the Irene Diamond Summer Institute. The NDI DREAM Project (Dancers Realize Excellence through Arts and Movement) is an inclusive dance program that provides children with and without disabilities the opportunity to perform together. NDI uses social media, YouTube, and Zoom to allow children everywhere to experience the joy and magic of NDI programs free of charge.
The NDI Collaborative for Teaching & Learning disseminates NDI’s acclaimed teaching method through a professional development program for teaching artists, dance educators, musicians, and organizations worldwide. Every year, professional artists and educators from around the globe participate in trainings and emerge from this transformative experience with an advanced set of teaching tools and a deepened understanding of the power of the arts in education.
NDI has seeded programs both nationally and internationally. Currently, there are 12 Associates of National Dance Institute (ANDI) thriving in the United States that utilize NDI’s pedagogy to serve more than 30,000 children every year. Internationally, NDI has been working in Shanghai and Beirut to train teachers in NDI’s groundbreaking methodology and to promote the social development of children, helping them gain confidence through the study of dance, the arts, and international collaboration. These international programs serve more than 8,000 children annually.
The NDI Artist-in-Residence Program offers a one-year residency to a dance-artist of color, providing the opportunity for them to develop their creative process and skills in dance while giving students the opportunity to learn from these talented artists. The current artist-in-residence for 2020-2021 is Camille A. Brown and Dancers whose work explores the African American experience.
In 2011, NDI opened the doors to its permanent home, the National Dance Institute Center for Learning & the Arts (NDI Center), in Harlem. The 18,000-square-foot NDI Center is home to three dance studios, two art galleries, green rooms, administrative offices, and the Howard Gilman Performance Space, which has seating for 175 people and has been used for NDI classes, rehearsals, performances, and events.
During COVID-19 and a time of remote and in-person learning, access to the arts has never been more vital, both in terms of physical health and social-emotional wellbeing. NDI has continued to provide arts education to public schools in New York City and throughout the country through live, synchronous classes, recorded videos, and virtual performances. The new NDI Dancemobile enables the Celebration Team to perform live outdoors, bringing joy to dancers and new audience members alike.
NDI is governed by a 33-member board of directors, led by Chair Helen Stambler Neuberger through September 30, 2021. Marc Solomon will become the Chair on October 1, 2021. The 57-member staff includes 18 full-time employees, two part-time employees, and more than 37 teaching artists and musicians. For the fiscal year ending September 30, 2020, NDI reported a total revenue of $5.8 million, with $4.2 million from contributions and grants and $1 million from program services. Total expenses were $5.5 million.
The Executive Director of NDI will serve as a hands-on, operational leader responsible for helping to set organizational priorities and enabling NDI to achieve its short- and long-term financial, programmatic, and strategic objectives. Reporting to the board of directors and working in partnership with the Artistic Director, the Executive Director will manage all aspects of administration and ensure the implementation of the artistic vision that is at the heart of NDI’s mission. They will also guide the next phase of growth and innovation for the organization. A proven leader with business acumen, this individual will expand revenue and enhance partnerships with local, national, and international partners. Advocating for arts education and committed to equity, the Executive Director will be an engaging speaker and collaborator, as well as a transparent decision maker. They will cultivate deep connections with the board, staff members, and community partners.
Roles and Responsibilities
- Grow and oversee the organization’s administrative functions and day-to-day operations while ensuring commitment around key priorities.
- Evaluate organizational systems, roles, and responsibilities to improve effectiveness and expand staff capacity.
- Lead the finance, development, facilities, administration, and communication/marketing teams.
- Supervise the care, maintenance, and quality of the 18,000-square-foot NDI Center.
- Oversee the health, safety, and wellbeing of all NDI staff, children, and artists at the NDI Center and all program sites, with a deep level of care, compassion, and authority.
- Mentor, guide, and support the staff with a culture of collaboration and accountability to organizational goals.
- Maintain a strong and cohesive staff with an atmosphere of camaraderie, trust, transparency, and shared vision throughout the organization.
- Exemplify NDI’s work towards becoming an anti-racist, multicultural institution.
- Embrace other opportunities to achieve organizational excellence as needed.
Strategic and Collaborative Leadership
- Embody NDI’s mission and guide strategic direction, working collaboratively with the board, Artistic Director, and staff to facilitate the success of the organization and the individuals within it.
- Identify, develop, and evaluate new mission-appropriate opportunities.
- Develop an open and effective partnership with the Artistic Director and board of directors.
- Serve as a key advocate for NDI, participating in the cultivation of a broad range of supporters, patrons, and artists.
- Advance NDI’s position as a model of excellence in the arts and education fields.
- Embrace other strategic and collaborative leadership responsibilities as needed.
Revenue Expansion, Communication, and Community Engagement
- Lead efforts and strategies to bring contributed and earned income revenue streams to altogether new heights.
- Nurture existing relationships and build new ones to expand interest and investment in NDI.
- Guide efforts to further diversify and achieve sustainability in foundation and individual funding.
- Foster collaborative and productive partnerships with NDI’s key stakeholders and staff to support the organization’s mission and increase its public visibility.
- Effectively grow contributed support and develop authentic relationships with individuals, foundations, government agencies, and corporations.
- Develop and implement a strategy to build robust reserve funds that ensure the organization’s sustainability.
- Engage with NDI’s alumni and the broader cultural and educational community as a positive, active, and visible spokesperson for NDI in a variety of contexts.
- Build NDI’s brand awareness and outreach initiatives.
- Represent NDI through active participation in local and national programs and convenings focused on the arts, creative youth development, and relevant social and community issues.
- Embrace other revenue expansion, communication, and community engagement responsibilities as needed.
Governance and Financial Stewardship
- Inspire and build the board and its committees, in collaboration with the Board Chair, with a commitment to sustain a shared and deep understanding of NDI’s priorities and processes.
- Empower and support the board in its policymaking, fundraising, governance, and community ambassadorship roles for NDI and its programs.
- Identify, cultivate, and assist in the recruitment of board, committee, and council members whose diversity, skills, experience, connections, and capacity meet the organization’s current and future aspirations.
- Present reports to the finance committee regularly, maintaining and enhancing appropriate internal controls for all financial matters.
- Provide regular communication and strategic updates to the board to enable all members to exercise their full governance and service potential.
- Embrace other governance and financial stewardship responsibilities as needed.
Traits and Characteristics
The Executive Director will be a dynamic leader who builds authentic relationships and values frequent engagement with a range of stakeholders. Ready to help NDI meet its strategic goals, this individual will be versatile and resourceful in addressing challenges and embracing opportunities. The Executive Director will be a natural collaborator who values creativity in an altruistic and harmonious environment. They will be a diplomatic leader who is able to negotiate sensitive issues in a transparent way.
Other key competencies include:
- Leadership and Teamwork – The capacity to prioritize strategic initiatives while motivating and creating a sense of direction embedded in the active participation of a variety of staff, board, and community members to achieve collective goals.
- Diplomacy and Interpersonal Skills – The dexterity to address difficult and sensitive issues, demonstrate respect, treat others fairly regardless of personal biases or beliefs, and foster positive and productive relationships internally and externally.
- Time and Priority Management – The flexibility to prioritize key goals and ensure that operational tasks align to deliver desired outcomes within allotted time frames.
- Professional and Personal Accountability – The ability to assess the risks of various options; anticipate the human, financial, and technological resources needed to achieve extraordinary results; and be held accountable for decisions and actions.
A bachelor’s degree (or equivalent experience) and five to 10 years of direct experience with increasing responsibility in a senior management role, including supervision, are required. A genuine, demonstrated commitment to and interest in fundraising are essential. The ideal candidate will have business-oriented experience and a track record of strategic and operational success in highly collaborative and creative environments. Previous experience in the performing arts is helpful and a dedication to the arts, education, and children is essential. Experience working directly with boards of directors and exposure to production and event-intensive operations are a plus. Exceptional writing abilities and verbal presentation skills are expected.
Compensation and Benefits
NDI provides a competitive salary, commensurate with experience. Benefits include paid vacation, sick leave, personal days, and holidays; health, long-term disability, and life insurances; flexible spending accounts; a health reimbursement account; and an employer-sponsored 403(b) retirement plan.
Applications and Inquiries
To submit a cover letter and resume with a summary of demonstrable accomplishments, please click here or visit artsconsulting.com/employment. For questions or general inquiries about this job opportunity, including anticipated salary range, please contact
Bruce D. Thibodeau, President
Wyona Lynch-McWhite, Senior Vice President
Arts Consulting Group
292 Newbury Street, Suite 315
Boston, MA 02115-2801
Tel (888) 234.4236 Ext. 201 (Dr. Thibodeau) Ext. 225 (Ms. Lynch-McWhite)
NDI is committed to creating an environment that honors the humanity of all people. NDI believes that diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) are fundamental principles that guide its work in the arts, and that the arts enable NDI to do its jobs best only when these values are their foundation.
Placing DEIA at the center of NDI’s engagement with children, families, schools, artists, and other communities is essential to the vitality and integrity of its work.