Performing Arts Series Lands NEA Grant

SOCORRO, N.M. January 9, 2012 — The New Mexico Tech Performing Arts Series was selected to receive one of 162 grants of $10,000 to recognize that promote arts to underserved audiences.

 The Rhythmic Circus will bring "Feet Don't Fail Me Now" to Macey Center on Friday, Jan. 27. The event garned a $10,000 grant to the Performing Art Series at New Mexico Tech.

National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Rocco Landesman has noted, “Art works everywhere,” which is why the NEA’s Challenge America Fast-Track (CAFT) program supports projects from primarily small and mid-sized arts organizations that extend the reach of the arts to underserved audiences.

This is the second time the New Mexico Tech Performing Arts has received this award.  The first time was in 2009 for the presentation of Taos Pueblo musician Robert Mirabal in collaboration with Dancing Earth indigenous dance troupe.

The 2012 award is for the presentation of “Feet Don’t Fail Me Now,” by dance and music troupe Rhythmic Circus from Minneapolis. This joyous performance blends together hard hitting, rapid-fire, innovative tap dance with a seven-piece funk-world beat-jazz band, vocalist and beat boxer, all sprinkled with slapstick comedy.  The performance will be at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27, at Macey Center. Tickets are $10 to $20 (and free to full-time Tech students).

“I am so excited that we received this award,” says NMT PAS Director Ronna Kalish.  “’Feet Don’t Fail Me Now’ is such a fun show.  It will expose Socorro County to the classic American art form of tap dance, performed with so much youthful energy and good spirit that everyone from kids to grandparents to college students will become fans!  It is amazing that we have a federal agency that sees the value of supporting arts programs in our small communities.”

Rhythmic Circus will also present an educational youth performance for grades four thru six from Socorro, Magdalena and Alamo-Navajo Schools, plus dance and music workshops open to youth and adults.

“Taken together, these Challenge America Fast-Track grants provide an extraordinary sampling of the work that arts organizations do to reach underserved communities,” said Chairman Landesman. “With these grants, we are helping to ensure that art works for all Americans.”

The program is called Fast-Track because of its expedited review timeline.  The NMT Performing Arts Series was notified approximately six months after applying. Also, with 375 eligible applications submitted from across the country, there was significant competition for funding for these grants.  Socorro’s grant award is evidence of the artistic excellence and artistic merit of Rhythmic Circus’s “Feet Don’t Fail Me Now.”

Please see the complete listing of projects recommended for Challenge America Fast-Track grant support.

The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector.  To join the discussion on how art works, visit the NEA at

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