Rio Arriba County Emergency Preparedness Director Volunteers To Dance! 

RAC's Mateo DeVargas greets the crowd during his performance. 

Every year the National Dance Institute (NDI) trains students from around the state to participate in their end of the year event. This event, which has several showings in Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico, showcases hundreds of students, from different schools performing in their respective areas, for over 1,000 audience members. Each show has a different theme and this year, Rio Arriba County’s (RAC) very own Emergency Preparedness Director, Mateo DeVargas, participated and represented RAC in “Reach Out! The Sweet Sounds of Motown.”

“It’s really great to be part of something so positive and to represent a government entity which advocates community involvement from its staff,” said DeVargas. “To see the positive impact that this program has on the youth is inspiring.”

DeVargas performed with 550 students, teachers and staff from Pojoaque Valley Schools and Espanola Public Schools and fellow representatives from Santa Fe County Fire Department and the New Mexico State Police. The entire production included emergency responders, police officers and a live professional band. Performers prepared from October 2011 to May 2012 for two days of performances, one of which took place for classmates and one for family and friends.

According to the NDI New Mexico website, the organization is the state’s only non-profit organization working with low-income students via dance to improve their overall self-esteem, discipline and grades.

For more information on NDI, please go to

-Erika L. Martinez, May 2012