ZUNI, NM (Sept. 21, 2022) — To conclude the summer, the Zuni Youth Enrichment Project and the Zuni Education & Career Development Center collaborated to offer a Hi-Intensity Dance Camp designed to bring professional dancers into the community to teach dance techniques, performance skills and life skills. The camp welcomed 60 youth participants, ages 5-24.

Taught by JD Harris and the staff of Hi-Intensity Sports Dance Concepts, the three-day camp took place at Shiwi T’sana Elementary and Zuni High School. More than 50 community members attended the showcase and celebration on the camp’s final day.

“The Hi-Intensity Dance Camp was an incredible experience, and seeing the excitement of the participants and their ability to learn choreography at different levels was exhilarating,” said Tara Wolfe, ZYEP’s program manager. “The amount of love, energy and compassion was felt throughout the entire camp.  

“We will continue to bring unique, quality programming to the Zuni community that allow our kids to build positive relationships and increase social skills, mental health capacities and confidence,” she continued. “Collaborating with partners such as Hi-Intensity Dance Sports Concepts is important, as these relationships give our children experiences and exposure that they may not typically get.”

ZECDC Director Bernadette Panteah agreed, observing, “(We) support Hi-Intensity Dance Camp collaborative efforts for youth and young adults to help build self-confidence, increase self-esteem, and improve overall mental wellbeing. Dance is important to our community because it benefits the physical, mental and emotional health of participants.

“As a program, we strive to provide opportunities and resources to help cultivate our youth and young adults to flourish, motivate and learn the value of work ethic,” she added. “Dance allows inclusivity, helps boost a positive mood an provides an opportunity for participants to get out of their comfort zone and/or enhance their dancing skills. Most importantly, dance helps develop essential like skills such as resilience, determination, discipline and teaches them to be persistent with their goals despite adversity.”

 Twenty-one ZYEP Summer Camp counselors attended the dance camp, which provided a space where they could learn something new, gain experience, express themselves, have some fun and build solid relationships with their colleagues.

“The Hi-Intensity Dance Camp taught me choreography, which is something I didn’t imagine myself doing although dancing is my favorite thing to do,” said Aidan Banteah-Yuselew, 2022 Summer Camp counselor. “It also let me have a good time with my fellow counselors.”

To learn more about the Zuni Youth Enrichment Project and its programs, and for information about making donations, partnering with ZYEP, and volunteering, call (505) 782-8000 or visit zyep.org. And, to stay up to date on the latest news and events, follow the nonprofit youth organization on Facebook (/zuniyouthenrichmentproject), Instagram (@zuniyouthenrichmentproject), YouTube (/ZuniYouth), and TikTok (/zyep09)

Founded in 2009, the nonprofit Zuni Youth Enrichment Project is dedicated to promoting resilience among Zuni youth so they will grow into strong, healthy adults who are connected with Zuni traditions. ZYEP fulfills its mission by providing positive role models, enriching programs, and nurturing spaces that contribute to the healthy development of Zuni youth. ZYEP strives to provide every child with the encouragement and opportunities they need to reach their full potential.