The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
May 9, 2003

Mrs. Bush's Remarks at National Dance Institute Gala
National Dance Institute
Sante Fe, New Mexico

Thank you, Roland. Thank you, Governor Richardson, Mayor Delgado, and distinguished guests, for your warm welcome to Santa Fe and to the new home of the National Dance Institute. With its extraordinary dancers and impressive stage this new center is a welcome addition to the already dynamic art scene in Santa Fe.

Thank you, Catherine, for expanding the National Dance Institute in New Mexico. Tonight's performance was yet another example of your dedication - and a great example of what can happen when children are inspired to share their gifts with the world. And the dancers deserve another round of applause for tonight's performance. I wonder if the President would consider video games and unlimited candy to be good campaign promises.

With good humor, this production teaches a valuable lesson for children, and every one of us. Each of us should strive to be a good citizen. The National Dance Institute helps children feel good about themselves - and you should feel good about supporting this great program for New Mexico's children.

Tonight, we celebrate children - their talent and creativity, and the dedication of the teachers who inspire them to leap, clap and dance out their dreams. Jacques d'Amboise is one of those dedicated teachers. Jacques has never forgotten where he came from or the teachers who helped him become one of the world's great dancers. Through the National Dance Institute he is sharing the gift of dance with children who otherwise might never have the chance to study the arts.

Just as Jacques's love of dance inspired him to succeed, National Dance Institute programs inspire young people to succeed. Today, almost four thousand kids across the state - from cities to reservations - are gaining a greater sense of character and confidence.

Through programs at NDI, New Mexico's young people are growing up stronger and smarter - and more prepared for what the world holds. More children are tuning into tap and jazz instead of television. More participate in performances than in violence. Rather than give up, they give in to the joy of dance and music.

Here in Santa Fe and in every NDI program, children learn in a safe environment where they make new friends and spend time with caring adults. Through performances and exhibitions, children are recognized and applauded for their accomplishments. As they express themselves and have fun, they learn self-discipline and teamwork.

Catherine once said that NDI "isn't really about teaching kids to dance, it's about teaching kids life skills." Catherine knows these skills affect every part of a child's life - especially their education. A study of the arts is vital to a child's development - helping to develop vocabulary, critical thinking and an appreciation of different cultures.

I commend Catherine, Jacques, and all of the students here for their hard work and commitment. And thanks to all of you for supporting the National Dance Institute. A special thanks to the Santa Fe Public School Board for donating the land for this new center so that even more children will benefit from the arts and dance - so that like Jo every child can dream of being President and have the confidence to follow their dreams. Thank you.


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