top of page


To empower children in elementary schools statewide through dance and live music programs accessible to all students regardless of abilities and socio-economic status.


Officially, NC Arts in Action is one of 12 national independent associates of the National Dance Institute(, a nonprofit organization founded in 1976 by the former principal dancer of the New York City Ballet, Jacques d'Amboise, to bring dance and arts participation to under-served children in NYC public schools. Children discover the arts through dance and develop standards of excellence, a pride of achievement and a curiosity about the world that supports their success in school and in life.


The specific teaching methodologies and program philosophy of the NDI curriculum has been recognized internationally as the very best in arts education. Because of Jacques’s enormous contributions he and the NDI program have been recognized through the Kennedy Center Honors, the MacArthur Genius Fellow, the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities' Coming Up Taller Award and The National Medal of Arts to name just a few.

In addition, an Academy Award, six Emmy Awards, The Peabody Award, the Golden Cine Award and the Education Association Award for the Advancement of Learning Through Broadcasting were awarded for He Makes Me Feel Like Dancin', a 1984 film documenting Jacques' work with the National Dance Institute.

In 2006, NC Arts in Action began in Chapel Hill with one school, one class, and 100 children. Today NC AIA maintains multiple long-term school partnerships with elementary schools in Durham,
Orange and Wake counties, providing in-school dance and performing arts programs for an entire grade level at no cost to the individual child.

Since that first class in 2006, NC AIA has served thousands of area children with year-long in-school programs, after-school programs, workshops, summer camps and alumni programs that build confidence, teamwork and leadership skills, focus and tenacity using dance and the arts ascatalyst.



Our Team


To provide curriculum-integrated dance residencies to children in elementary schools using live music and a proven teaching methodology to develop self-esteem, resilience, critical thinking and collaboration.


We believe that the performing arts are a unique force to engage and motivate children to realize their full potential no matter their background, ability or socio-economic status. 

Founded in 2005, North Carolina Arts in Action (NC AIA) is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to transforming the lives of children through participation in the arts. As an associate of the National Dance Institute (NDI), NC AIA uses the award-winning teaching methodologies developed by NDI founder Jacques d’Amboise to inspire children to develop discipline, self-confidence and a sense of achievement, reaching a high standard of excellence and love of the performing arts.

NC AIA believes in nurturing the whole child by setting the highest standards of excellence and engaging children in dance activities that challenge their minds, strengthen their bodies and nurture their self-esteem. NC AIA in-school performance residencies provide a level playing field for ALL children to succeed!



NC AIA is guided by our belief that all children deserve the opportunity to succeed in life. Equity, diversity and inclusion are the cornerstones of our work. We stand with our Black, Latino, Asian and Multi-Cultural families, and demand that systems of racial inequities, which oppress and traumatize communities of color in our country, end.


Arts and education are key parts of the solutions to overcoming inequality. When children are given the same support and tools for growth and achievement, are taught to honor diversity, and are given models of integrity and inclusion to look up to, they discover their own potential and respect the potential of those around them.


NC AIA prioritizes education on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion within our organization with support from experts in the field. We want to help our students, staff and board be an active part of the solution to our problems in inequalities.

Shirley Berger

Founder, North Carolina Arts in Action


Shirley Berger arrived in Chapel Hill with a vision to reach, through dance, as many children as possible in the North Carolina schools. In 2005, Shirley created North Carolina Arts in Action an affiliate program of the National Dance Institute (NDI) of New York founded by Jacques d'Amboise, former New York City Ballet principal dancer. Under Shirley's leadership in January 2006, the pilot program for North Carolina Arts in Action was launched at Mel and Zora Rashkis Elementary School in Chapel Hill, NC and continues to grow. In Santa Fe, Shirley served for many years on the board of directors for NDI of New Mexico where she witnessed the transformation of the children through this unique dance program. She also sponsored a complete NDI program at Alvord Elementary School in Santa Fe.


Shirley was involved in many nonprofit organizations during her 13 years in Santa Fe. She founded and established a state-wide yearly competition in Santa Fe with Pro Musica of Santa Fe, and the Chamber Music Festival for young aspiring artists. She also sponsored a hospital program for qualified high school students to acquaint them with the career possibilities in the health care professions. In Cleveland, she continues to provide college scholarships to high school students.

Jacques d'Amboise

Founder, National Dance Institute of New York


Recognized as one of the finest classical dancers of our time, Jacques d'Amboise now leads the field of education with a model program that introduces thousands of school children each year to the magic and discipline of dance. In 1976, while still a principal dancer with the New York City Ballet, Jacques founded the not-for-profit National Dance Institute of New York in the belief that arts have a unique power to engage and motivate individuals towards excellence. His contributions to arts education have earned him numerous awards and honors from the Peoplefirst Honoree People Magazine to The National Medal of Honor to the Kennedy Center Honors, to name only a few.


An Academy Award, six Emmy Awards, The Peabody Award, the Golden Cine Award and the Education Association Award for the Advancement of Learning Through Broadcasting were awarded for He Makes Me Feel Like Dancin', a 1984 film documenting Jacques' work with the National Dance Institute.


With Jacques' assistance, there are now NDI affiliate programs throughout the country using NDI's teaching methodology to more than 45,000 children annually. These programs are in California, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas and Virginia.


bottom of page