The Santa Barbara Dance Institute is celebrating a decade of helping low-income, at-risk children throughout the county learn critical life skills, build confidence, improve their health and set a new standard of excellence for themselves through its unique educational dance programs.

Ten years ago, SBDI’s founder, Rosalina Macisco, created an expressive outlet for Santa Barbara’s underserved children using methods developed by the National Dance Institute. Since then, over 3,000 students have participated in SBDI’s programs.

Starting with just two schools and 80 students, SBDI has grown quickly to serve 12 schools and organizations with over 550 students per year.

“Every year more students attend our classes, more teachers see the positive effect of our programs and more schools request our services,” said Rosalina Macisco, executive and artistic director.

What We Do

Through highly structured educational dance programs, SBDI helps children discover their potential by empowering them to believe in themselves, work together in a team and develop a personal standard of excellence. We teach high energy, joyful, physically and mentally demanding classes that instill confidence, pride, work ethic and a mentality of never giving up. Our programs increase neuroplasticity in children’s brains through the utilization of medically proven movement sequences and dance routines (e.g. cross-boy moves).

In SBDI’s Partner Programs, classes are held weekly over a 30-week period.

Children experience an immersion in dance and music to promote achievement, teamwork and dedication. SBDI’s Residency Programs are held either during the school day or after-school for six-eight weeks. For every program, no matter the length or number of participants, SBDI has a close working relationship with the school.

All SBDI programs conclude with a performance event. SBDI’s Event-of-the-Year is a professionally written original show involving students who attend SBDI’s full-year programs to perform for their community, family and friends at the Marjorie Luke Theatre.

Bill Cirone, county cuperintendent of schools says about the performance, “This is one show you won’t want to miss!” The show has been coined the “feel-good show of the year,” by county arts commissioner Ginny Brush.

Past themes include:

» 100 Years of American Music and Dance
» Literature
» Imagination and the possibilities it brings
» Bullying

— Kaila MacKenzie is a producer for the Santa Barbara Dance Institute.