Chamber FAN Club Features DALA Dancers

Dancers perform during the Chamber of Commerce FAN Club at Dance Arts Los Alamos Wednesday evening in White Rock. Photo by Carol A. Clark/

The Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce monthly after hours Food & Networking (FAN Club) event showcased the world-class training underway for students enrolled at Dance Arts Los Alamos.

Dance Arts Los Alamos is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that is dedicated to promoting dance in Los Alamos and Northern New Mexico by providing safe, professional instruction and quality performances.

Dance Arts Los Alamos is now in its 20th year and offers more than 45 classes a week at its three studio locations.

Students of all ages and abilities are studying classes in ballet, pointe, contemporary, jazz, tap, hip hop, modern, musical theater, creative movement and pilates.

Executive Director and Instructor Valerie Silks trained for 12 years at the New Jersey School of Ballet and continued her training as a dance major at Butler University.

She has been actively involved with DALA for the past decade, having served as president of the Board of Directors,costume mistress, pianist, director, choreographer and faculty member.

Silks became DALA’s Executive Director in March 2009. She has more than 20 years of experience in music and dance education.

She also holds a B.A. in biology and chemistry from Boston University and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of South Carolina.

Dr. Silks has been the organist at Trinity on the Hill Episcopal Church for 19 years.

She explained that DALA has the largest faculty in Los Alamos and is proud to include the AMERICAN BALLET THEATER® National Training Curriculum, a breakthrough 8 level program that combines high quality artistic training with the basics of dancer health and child development.

The ABT® National Training Curriculum consists of a comprehensive set of age-appropriate, outcome-based guidelines to provide the highest quality ballet training to dance students of all ages and skill levels. Primary through Level 5 will be taught by ABT® Certified Teacher, Christin Severini, who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Primary through Level 5 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum.



Ballet Program Director and Instructor Christin Severini. Photo by Carol A. Clark/

Severini serves as DALA’s Ballet Program Director and Instructor.

She was a dancer with American Ballet Theatre in New York City from 1997-2002 and has appeared in numerous full length and repertory ballets nationally and internationally.

Severini also trained at the School of American Ballet and the North Carolina School of the Arts while on full scholarship, and has worked with some of the leading teachers and dancers of our time, Silks said.

Photo by Carol A. Clark/

Several DALA trained dancers have been accepted and are studying in top ballet academies throughout the world, Silks said.

Dance Arts Los Alamos was created in 1992 by Diana Wilcox.

Originally offering classes in the downtown Community Building, DALA soon got a permanent home in the old bowling alley in White Rock.

DALA now offers classes at two locations: the White Rock Studio at 111 Longview Dr. and Trinity on The Hill Episcopal Church in Los Alamos.

Photo by Carol A. Clark/


DALA’s Spring Show Performance will showcase older dancers in two evening performances at 7 p.m., May 18 and 19.

Younger dancers will have their own matinee performance at 2 p.m., Saturday May 19.

All of the shows will take place at the Duane Smith Auditorium.

For more information, visit

Photo by Carol A. Clark/

2011-2012 DALA Board Members:

  • Alison Bailey (President)
  • Jennifer Oliver (Vice Pres.)
  • Venita Chavez (Secretary)
  • Aaron Menefee(Treasurer)
  • Dana D’Andrea
  • Vicki Erkkila
  • Alicia Kirkland
  • Sharon Marinuzzi
  • Nancy Jo Nicholas
  • Eric Schmierer
  • Kim Hoch (Admin, Ex-officio member)
  • Valerie Silks (Exec. Director, Ex-officio member)
  • Erin Burr (Student Representative, Ex-officio member)


LOS ALAMOS website support locally by OviNuppi Systems