Page 1

the Essence

of Los Alamos and White Rock

The Frolic Air/Flight

by Jeremy Varela


Cookin’ in Tea World by Mandy Marksteiner

White Rock Insight Imagining White Rock By Katy Korkos

Tales of the WRTIC by Robert A Tobey

Arts & Culture

Growing Up Dancing at the New Mexico Dance Theatre by Angie Chipera

Calendar Of Events April and May

April–May 2009, Volume 2, Issue 3

Horsepower to Spare

Carbide-tipped Blade Renovated classroom at a local school

Now you can support needed schools improvements every time you buy building supplies, tools, and hardware with the Locals Care program. With Locals Care, the non-profit of your choice receives a percentage of your purchase every time you shop at participating local businesses. For more information, visit

Participating Merchants Bella Cosa Flowers & Gifts Blue Window Bistro Cook’n In Style Don Taylor’s Photography Home Run Pizza-Los Alamos Los Alamos Chiropractic Los Alamos Home Improvement/Ace Hardware Otowi Station Bookstore & Museum Shop Ruby K’s Bagel Café The CoffeeHouse Cafe (home of The Coffee Booth) The Finishing Touch Village Arts



Essence April/May 2009



April/May 2009

8 The Frolic

Air/Flight by Jeremy Varela

10 The Business Essence

Cookin’ in Tea World by Mandy Marksteiner

12 White Rock Insight Imagining White Rock by Katy Korkos

Tales of the WRTIC by Robert A Tobey

14 Essence Feature Essence Pictures

16 Arts & Culture

Growing Up Dancing at the New Mexico Dance Theatre by Angie Chipera

20 Community Matters

Kiwanis: The Essence of Community Service

22 Calendar Of Events April and May

About the cover: The cover photo is a rock formation on the Camp

Hamilton Trail taken by Jeremy Varela


Essence April/May 2009

Editor’s Note Aaaaachoooo! Aw, it must be spring. Even though I have developed some allergies since moving to Los

Alamos, spring remains my favorite season. Baseball season is starting, golf courses are opening, and much of the attractiveness of spring is the anticipation of summer and all of the events that come along with it. Gardens, trees, and our scarred mountain side come alive. The beautiful warm days seem to be in a volatile tug-a-war with Old Man Winter in April and May.

In this issue of The Essence It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s a kite! It’s time again for some good ol’ fun with kites. The skies will be decorated with community kites at the 12th annual Kite Festival. The Kite Festival has become a tradition every May. I sat down with Marlane Hamilton, and the memories from my own kite-flying days flooded my mind the more we discussed the Arts Council’s annual event. You have to make the time to go down to Overlook Park and be part of the old-fashioned fun in the wind. In the Business Essence section, Mandy Marksteiner sits down for a cup of tea with Liz Thomson. Cookin’ in Style has recently expanded and now our community has somewhere to go for “tea time.” Liz shares some facts about tea and speaks directly to the tummy when she talks about the new menu featured at Tea World. From cookware to cups of fresh tea to cooking classes, Cookn’ in Style and Tea World have something for everyone. Extra! Extra! We have doubled the Insight section in this issue. We have an amusing story from Bob Tobey. Bob shares stories from meeting people from all over the world at the White Rock Tourist Information Center. Katy Korkos has been very involved in the White Rock Master Planning. Katy gives us a glimpse of the past and a preview of what might be in store for the future of White Rock First position, plie, passé, rond de jambe! What am I talking about? It’s Ballet, of course. Angie Chipera visits New Mexico Dance Theatre (NMDT) and learns about what goes on at 149 Central Park Square. NMDT provides a versatile repertoire of dance classes. The owner of NMDT, Susan Baker-Dillingham, has provided a venue that encourages interested youth to pursue a career in dance and performing arts. Our CommunityMatters section features a story about Kiwanis. This service organization has been in our community for 61 years. As you might have heard, Los Alamos is celebrating our 60th anniversary this year, meaning Kiwanis has been a part of our community since before we were formally recognized as Los Alamos County. Spring events are upon us. Check out the calendar of events to be in the know of what’s happening in the community. For more information on the events please visit

Happy spring!

Jeremy Varela, Managing Editor Los Alamos Commerce & Development Corp. Events & Marketing Coordinator LA MainStreet Manager p: 505.661.4844 f: 505.662.8399

Check out what’s happening in Los Alamos!!


Essence April/May 2009


Essence Jeremy Varela Managing Editor

Claire Roybal Ads Coordinator

Katy Korkos, Chelo Rojas Writer/Content Editor

Cindy Whiting, Kevin Holsapple Content Editor

Veenis Graphics Editorial Design



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Essence April/May 2009

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Essence April/May 2009

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Essence April/May 2009

The Frolic


By Jeremy Varela

Let’s see…Remote control car? Yes this will be fun…..Darn, no batteries. Lincoln Logs…..boring! Hey I haven’t played with this in a long time. A kite! All the kids in the neighborhood will see it flying high and yes, at the end of this towering wonder of flight will be me! I will be the envy of all the kids today! Ok the stick thing goes here, untangle the string. Skies get ready to be invaded by my Ninja Turtle kite of fury! And lift off! Crash and burn. Maybe if I run after I throw it. Nothing. So much for being the envy of every kid today, guess kites only work in May. ow as an adult I realize that April and May are windy seasons and the chances of catching a kite-flying day are more abundant. That day in July when I wanted to unleash my “kite of fury” was a beautiful windless day. I had all forgotten about this memory of kites I had locked away until I sat down and talked with Marlane Hamilton from the Los Alamos Arts Council. The Kite Festival has been a staple event for the Arts Council since 1996. In the infant days of the event it was called Air/Flight and changed its name to the Los Alamos Kite Festival in 1998. Marcia Zalbowitz was the president of the Arts Council when the idea of an event based on the old-fashioned art of flying was conceived. Back then, the kites were made from scratch and templates were used to cut out each and every sail for the event. The Arts Council took these homemade kits to workshops for kids both locally and regionally. Needless to say the committee and volunteers wore themselves out that first year. Not only did they put on these workshops, they also organized a reception which has evolved into the “Night Kite Demonstration.” Small lights are attached to kites before they are launched into the vast night sky which provides an amazing light show over White Rock. The Kite Festival has survived despite set backs. In 1999 due to a low number of volunteers

the Kite Festival was cancelled. The following year the committee came together and made sure that there were plenty of volunteers for the event. The Kite Festival looked to be ready for a thunderous comeback, until the Cerro Grande fire occurred, and for the second straight year the Los Alamos Kite Festival was cancelled. Since those couple of setback the Kite Festival has happened every spring. Los Alamos National Bank (LANB) has been the main sponsor since the festival’s inception. LANB has also been very active in the production of the event. They do not only support the event financially but also by providing in-kind donations such as the glow sticks and T-shirts. LANB employees are also avid volunteers and…kite doctors? Yes, Los Alamos National Bank is also home to the on site “kite hospital.” In 2002 the Kite Festival introduced the “Candy Drop,” where LANB’s gigantic kite is equipped with a massive bag of candy. The kite is then flown across the field and as the kite is performing its fly-bys, kids are frantically chasing the flight of the kite hoping to be showered with the candy. Cheryll Faust was one of the pioneers for the Kite Festival. Faust served as the Board President from 2002 to 2004 and the current logo for the event was adopted under her term. Cheryll Faust and her husband, Hillard Howard, who now live in Colorado, became kite enthusiasts when Cheryll took over as chair of the Kite Festival. They continue to be big supporters of the Kite Festival and make the trip to Los Alamos every May to volunteer for the festival.

In 2003 the Kite Festival started its collaboration with Gordons’ Concerts. This year the Summer Concert Series will kick off at the Kite Festival in White Rock with the band Rod Piazza & the Mighty Flyers. This collaborative effort provides a wonderful evening of entertainment with music, food and night kite flying demonstration. The Chair of the Board for the 2008 and 2009 Kite Festival is Janine Detter and she wanted to remind everyone that with this economic climate it is great weather to just get out and enjoy some nostalgic fun with a kite. Marlane Hamilton discovered the Arts Council in 1999. Her original title was office administrator, but she has had the position of Executive Director since 2002. Marlane moved to Los Alamos in summer of 1997 from Richland, Washington when her husband accepted a position at Los Alamos National Laboratory. She was originally a member of the LAAC board of directors and began chairing the Arts and Crafts Fairs in fall of 1998. She continues to do this to this day. Marlane shared the memorable story of the time she thought that a kite was going to take someone for a flight. It was the year that the Friday night’s festivities were rained out. She saw someone trying to put the LANB kite away and the wind nearly blew the kite and him off of the hill. Fortunately the gentleman was able to rodeo the kite and both the kite and he are still with us today. The 2009 Kite Festival will be held on May 15th, 16th, and 17th at Overlook Park in White Rock.

fyi —All it takes to show how much you appreciate the Kite Festival is a smile on your face, but sponsorships and volunteer hours are always appreciated. Many of the volunteers who have stepped up to help have gone on to leadership roles with the Festival, just because it’s so much fun! Los Alamos National Bank’s help has been invaluable, along with that of many other businesses, who donate hundreds of dollars worth of supplies.


Essence April/May 2009

There will be workshops in the elementary schools during April as well as at the library after school program. In the workshops youth will learn the history of the kite from its beginning in China to exploring with Europeans to the famous Ben Franklin incident. You will also be able to build and decorate your own kite. Come also to the Kite Festival on Saturday and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. to build a kite and receive a commemorative T-shirt furnished by LANB. Admission to the festival has always been free, but if you would like to support this and other programs of the Los Alamos Arts Council you can become member of the organization. The Arts Council web site is you can find the Kite Festival listed under “events�. It will have the workshops, dates, and times listed.


Essence April/May 2009

The Business Essence

Cookin’ in Tea World

iz Thomson, the owner of Cookin’ in Style, has a love for cooking that is infectious. Her new addition, Tea World, gives her an outlet to share her passion for natural, organic food and tea. If you aren’t into tea because you don’t know where to start, the high teas served every Thursday afternoon by Dotty Reilly will turn you into a connoisseur. Like wines, teas get their names from the various plant varieties and the times of the year that they’ve been harvested. Their extensive tea selection gives people a chance to sample different teas to find out what they like. Tea World features Rishi Teas, made by a company that only buys teas from socially conscious and eco-friendly tea producers. David Korkos has developed a light lunch menu that includes delicious soups, like sweet potato carrot with fresh ginger, pulled pork sandwiches on freshly made bread, tortas and calzones. He has over forty years of cooking experience and is the former chef and owner of Katherine’s Restaurant. Liz’s husband used to tease her because when he relaxed in front of the TV she would pore over cookbooks and food magazines, gathering ideas and finding new things to try. Before she opened Cookin’ in Style, she worked as a business advisor at the Small Business Development Center, helping other people launch businesses. It wasn’t long before she thought, “I should start my own business.” She spent a year researching the local market and planning. She knew that she needed to follow her interest in cooking. By constantly exploring, Liz’s expertise and business grew steadily. She opened the store in 2003 and moved to 1631 Central Avenue in 2005, where she shared the space with The Coffee Booth. When The Coffee Booth moved to its new location last November, she had to put the space and the kitchen to good use.

By Mandy Marksteiner

Liz specializes in fine artisan breads and her relaxed attitude toward experimentation gives students the confidence to improvise in the kitchen. After taking her pasta class I drove to the store, loaded my cart with ingredients that I’ve never bought before, and spent the next week cooking completely original pasta dishes. Dotty teaches the Italian Dinner course that shows off the versatility of ravioli. She said, when it comes to ravioli, “The sky is the limit.” She can show you how to whip up spinach ravioli stuffed with ricotta or chocolate ravioli for dessert stuffed with cream cheese. When people ask her if she if owns pasta maker she holds up her fingers and says, “Yes, ten of them!” Ara Whetten’s monthly classes featuring the cuisines of India, Japan, and Thailand are also extremely popular. Browsing through Cookin’ in Style gives you ideas. Exciting ideas about how to throw elaborate fondue parties, decorate the most beautiful cakes, cook authentic dishes and to be more generous and live life better. Liz doesn’t just sell cookbooks and kitchen gadgets. She sells inspiration.

Liz and her husband did most of the remodeling for Tea World themselves. The pretty teacups were a gift from a customer. Rock candy swizzle sticks are arranged on a glass counter that displays decadent homemade cookies, muffins and chocolate pecan pie bars. Their premium coffee is ground and brewed by the cup and everything is made from scratch. Eating lunch at Tea World makes you wish you could eat better all the time. Luckily their classes on Tuesday nights make it easy for everyone to learn to cook.

fyi —Liz Thomson is the classic example of someone who took advantage of all of the free counseling offered by the Small Business Development Center, and the free workshops that are included with Chamber membership. The SBDC can help you take your business from a mere twinkle in the eye to a strong community asset!



Essence April/May 2009


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Essence April/May 2009


White rock insight

Imagining White Rock By Katy Korkos

hite Rock in its heyday had six restaurants, a movie theater, a hobby shop, two grocery stores, one motel, two gas stations, a yarn store, a bakery, a little department store, a shoe store, an art gallery, a drugstore, three banks, a flower shop and greenhouse, two pharmacies, two pediatrician’s offices, and even Gordon’s Tapes and Records. Gordon’s was an ice cream shop as well, and hosted White Rock’s own summer concert series. The banks, gas stations, flower shop and one grocery store have survived, along with the Bandelier Grill, ChinShan Restaurant and Home Run Pizza. Those business owners are all optimistic about White Rock’s potential, and some newer businesses have chosen White Rock to be their home. Dance Arts Los Alamos continues to thrive. The Bilingual Montessori School, Sage Cottage and Ponderosa Montessori School all draw people off the Hill for early childhood education. The Hampton Inn and Suites has replaced the old White Rock Motor Lodge, and Smith’s grocery store has just completed an extensive remodel.


White Rockers enjoy their wonderful neighborhoods, the Banana Belt climate, and they love hosting the annual Dog Jog, Kite Festival and Fourth of July festivities. The two beloved elementary schools, Piñon and Chamisa, anchor many of the town’s activities, and people come from miles around to enjoy Overlook Park, with its trails, ball fields, great views, open space and dog park. White Rock has seen better days, but a more comfortable future is also in store if the White Rock Master Planning process is carried out. To make sure that happens, a dedicated committee of volunteers is working with county staff to create a staged plan to make the suburb match the vision of its residents. The master plan committee has representatives from all walks of life- business owners, retirees, people involved in the tourist trade and young families as well as representatives from the library board, the laboratory and Bandelier National Monument. In addition, the committee networks with local pueblos, regional development experts and county engineers and planners.

The committee has proposed several capital improvement projects to the county; all of those have been ranked in the top half of the projects looking for approval from Council at the end of April. They include creating plans to make State Route 4 safer and more attractive, looking at lengthening and improving the Cañada del Buey trail and planning to construct a new visitor center near the intersection of State Route 4 and Sherwood Boulevard. A new visitor center will be a place where people can stop for directions to Bandelier, the Valles Caldera, the Jemez Scenic Byway and Los Alamos, but also provide a place large enough to accommodate recreational vehicles and a transit hub for Atomic City Transit and regional busses. The coming years will see many more proposals in the pipeline, from a new municipal center complex to a wireless network in the town center. The strategy is the product of several community meetings that took place beginning in August of 2007, and continued for almost a year, at the direction of the County Council. What came out of those meetings was a vision statement that incorporated everything that White Rock residents love about their town, and everything they would like to see it become. The town meetings bubbled over with ideas and enthusiasm, as people shared their dreams for a more comfortable place to live. The beloved aspects of White Rock are its walkability and safety, and any plans for future growth will only enhance those. The community meetings that were held in 2007 and 2008 were facilitated by the urban planning firm of Moore Iacofano Goitsman (MIG) who produced a report with a development scenario to guide the town in making its improvements. “White Rock Center is envisioned as a vibrant, active place that provides places to socialize and bustles with businesses that are attractive to visitors and residents,” the report says. Although that vibrant, active center is not much of a reality at this point, the county has promised $20 million to contribute to the revitalization of the town. It is up to White Rockers to “hold the council’s feet to the fire” to see the project through.

The White Rock Master Plan, as developed in a series of public meetings in 2007 and 2008, would create a town center at the intersection of State Road 4 and Sherwood Boulevard. The new town center would make way for development on the land transfer parcel called A-19, which runs parallel to the highway on the north side from that intersection to Pajarito Road. Also included in the plan are a new branch library, youth and senior centers, landscaping and improvements to the Canada del Buey and Sherwood, an entrance marker for White Rock, and many other improvements. Stop by the Chamber of Commerce to see the plans! 12


Essence April/May 2009

Tales of the WRTIC

by Robert A Tobey A typical visitor to the White Rock Tourist Information Center (WRTIC) requests information on Bandelier National Monument and little else. As a result of interaction with WRTIC staff and volunteers, visitors leave with information on Bandelier and other sites of interest including the White Rock overlook, Los Alamos museums, Valles Caldera/ Jemez Mountain Trail, restaurants, motels/bed and breakfast facilities and local businesses. Depending on their available time and interests, the visitors then pick and choose which of these attractions they will visit. A typical reaction is, “Wow, I never realized there was so much to see and do in the Los Alamos area. I wish I had more time here” Our response is to encourage a return visit. The original WRTIC opened in 1991 in a charming building along State Road 4 across from the former Pizza Hut. We remained there until, in 2006, we were forced to move due to construction of the new White Rock fire station. We settled into our present location on Rover Boulevard, opposite the old fire station, in May 2006. Although we anticipated a dramatic drop-off in visitation at the new site, fortunately, visitation at our new building remains


strong. We have helped more than 325,000 visitors since our 1991 opening. The WRTIC serves locals as well as out-oftown visitors. Residents of White Rock and Los Alamos frequently stop in to pick up information for upcoming visits by friends and relatives. We pass out Los Alamos Visitor Guides to those expecting large groups, such as weddings or reunions, and also help locals assemble information packages for out-of-state students preparing reports on Los Alamos and New Mexico. One might expect that relaying the same general information repeatedly might become boring. Fortunately, this is not the case, given the diversity of visitors from all fifty states and dozens of foreign countries. Nearly all visitors are on vacation, and consequently, they are relaxed, happy and appreciative of the information they receive. We find out where they’re from and inquire whether they are enjoying their trip. During the conversation with our guests, we frequently ask what they most like about their visit. They usually comment on the spectacular beauty of the area. A typical reply is that “New Mexico is called the Land of Enchantment because if you don’t like the immediate scenery in a given area, drive another fifteen minutes or so, and the view changes dramatically.” We also ask if there are things in New Mexico which they don’t like. The most common complaint is a scarcity of highway identification signs. For most visitors, this is a minor irritation, but for a few, signage elicits a truly angry response. One day a red-faced couple (who had obviously been arguing) stomped into the visitor center and told me they were completely lost. Over the years, I had discovered that frequently it is possible to disarm frustrated, lost visitors by greeting them with, “Welcome to Colorado.” The usual response is a laugh, and then I can help them find their way. This red-faced couple, however, was not amused when I used the phrase with them. The wife turned toward her husband and shouted, “I TOLD you the sign back there said we were near Alamosa.” I quickly jumped in and explained that the sign indicated “Los Alamos” and that they were still in New Mexico, a good twoand-a-half hours away from that Colorado city. They both glared at me and left without signing our guest book. Many easterners fail to comprehend the huge size of New Mexico. One Sunday morning, a couple from New York came into the visitor center with plans to visit Bandelier and the Jemez Mountain Trail. As they headed out the door after receiving information on these attractions, the wife asked if they had time to see these and still catch a flight out of the Albuquerque Sunport at 3:00 that

afternoon. Since it was already noon, I suggested that they turn around immediately and head for Albuquerque via Santa Fe. The husband held up his hand and said, “I waited around half the morning while my wife fooled around shopping in Santa Fe, so now I’m going to see what I want— first Bandelier and then the Jemez Mountain Trail, and I don’t care about the time. The last I saw of them, they were headed in the direction of Bandelier. Another time a well-dressed woman approached staff member Sandy App and announced her intention to visit Bandelier, Chaco Canyon, and Mesa Verde all in one day. When Sandy told her that this trip was too ambitious for a single day, the lady replied, “It’s no problem. I’m driving a Lincoln.” Sandy then provided information on the vast distances and visitation times, again stressing the impossibility of visiting all three sites in a single day. The lady listened politely, then shook her head and replied, “As I said, I’m driving a Lincoln.” With that, she took off, presumably intent on visiting Bandelier, Chaco and Mesa Verde before nightfall. We’ve also had a few really unusual visitors. One day an elderly man with a flowing white beard and purple eye patch wandered into the visitor center. He walked around examining the exhibits, all the while frowning and mumbling to himself. Was he upset by the material in the displays? Should I be worried? Could he be an anti-nuke crazy? An ax murderer? Finally, he turned to me and said, “You still bothered by them giant ants?” “Giant ants?” I told him that the biggest ant I had ever seen in New Mexico measured a little less than three-quarters of an inch in length. He shook his head in disgust and said, “No, No, I mean them four story high ants in the movie.” It took me a while before deciding that he probably was referring to the 1954 sci-fi film, Them! In that movie, atomic tests conducted at Los Alamos created giant, mutant ants which terrorized the southwest until they finally were wiped out in the storm drains of Los Angeles. “They’re all dead, sir, “ I told him, struggling to maintain a straight face. He nodded, said, “Good,” and then, without another word left the visitor center. To this day, I am unable to decide whether he was joking or serious. As I said before, the overwhelming majority of our visitors are pleasant, happy people, and it’s a pleasure to serve them. But it is the unusual few whom I remember most vividly. With that in mind, on my way home tonight, I think I’ll keep a watchful eye out for “them giant ants,” just in case….

For those of you who have never been in the WRTIC, we encourage you to stop in and pay us a visit. Our winter hours of operation (through March 14th) are from 10:00AM-2:00PM. The rest of the year, from March 15th through October 31st, we’re open from 9:00AM to 4:00PM. The only days we are closed are Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.


Essence April/May 2009


the Essence


of Los Alamos and White Rock


Essence April/May 2009

EARTH DAY 2009 WEDNESDAY APRIL 22 To celebrate Earth’s life and beauty and to alert earthlings to the need for preserving and renewing the threatened ecological balances upon all life on Earth depends.


Essence April/May 2009

—Earth Day Founder, John McConnell


Clay Dillingham

Arts & Culture

Growing Up Dancing at the New Mexico

atter, patter, patter, patter. A dozen leotard-clad preschoolers, some boys, some girls, are running in a circle, one arm stretched high in the air, a scarf clutched in their fingers. It’s Creative Movement class at the New Mexico Dance Theatre School. When their teacher, Susan Baker-Dillingham, called to them to jump or switch or check their balance, they did, in some fashion. One child, dressed in blue, caught sight of her reflection in the mirror and stopped momentarily, as if seeing herself for the first time. With her eyes locked on her mirrored image, she spun, twirled her scarf, and balanced on one foot, but her movements this time were slow and deliberate, like she’d been transformed into a ballet dancer, poised and graceful, her body in tune with the music. Creative Movement is one of many classes taught at the New Mexico Dance Theatre School. Other classes include Mommy and Me, Boys Ballet, Stretch and Strengthen, Jazz, Tap, Pointe, Partnering, and all levels of Ballet, including adult. The school’s four faculty members have had extensive careers in professional dance, and focus on proper and safe professional-level training. The New Mexico Dance Theatre is, however, two entities. One is the school. The other, called the New Mexico Dance Theatre Performance Company, offers a professional-level setting, including choreography, music, costumes, sets, and props, where intermediate and advancedlevel students can perform. Susan Baker-Dillingham is the heart and soul of the New Mexico Dance Theatre. Says BakerDillingham, “My greatest passion about teaching dance is the students themselves. No matter their age, watching them grow and develop into the best they can be is rewarding for me. Helping them figure out their bodies and how they work and seeing them “get it” is wonderful.” Baker-Dillingham also learns a lot from her students. She shared this story. “One day last week, I asked a Creative Movement class of five year olds if they could count to sixteen. One girl said, ‘I can’t but I will.’ That comment moved me, since that is part of the philosophy I teach. I may not be able to do it today, or other people may not think I can do it at all,

Clay Dillingham

Dance Theatre by Angie Chipera

but guess what...I can and I will.” Other comments her students have shared with her include, “I want to wear white because I’m an angel,” and “We should go to my grandma’s house. She’s real nice but she has a mean kitty.” Her students start as early as age three. As they grow and progress, they learn discipline, structure, a healthy competitive spirit, and the important elements of team work. It is not until about age nine that her students make a conscious decision for dance to be an integral part of their lives. It is around that same age that Baker-Dillingham sees much improvement in their abilities. That’s not to say that starting young is not beneficial because dancing is great for a person’s health and well-being, no matter what age. Younger students develop a more musical base and a creative mind-set, and are more open to contemporary choreography or movement. They are also more likely to stick with dance and, in general, feel less insecure and inhibited. The instructors at the school devote the time necessary to help each student find their talent and express it to the upmost. Several of Baker-Dillingham’s former students have chosen to make dance or the stage a career.

Michelle Lynch is majoring in modern dance at the University of California at Santa Barbara. Anna Bridge is majoring in Ballet Performance in the School of Classical and Contemporary Dance at Texas Christian University. Her current student, Larissa Fortson, has auditioned and applied for the North Carolina School of the Arts and is waiting to hear if she’s been accepted. Another current student, Bethany Sullivan, recently auditioned with over 2500 others for the University of Oklahoma’s drama department. She and eleven other females have been accepted into this prestigious program. Baker-Dillingham was seventeen years old when she made the decision to pursue professional dancing. “While attending a summer intensive workshop in Steamboat Springs, Colorado,” she says, “my teacher commented on my talent. He asked if I wanted to dance, and I responded with a resounding, “YES!” Two weeks later, I was moving into a dorm room at the North Carolina School of the Arts as a senior in high school, where I spent two years before I began my professional dancing career.” It’s been almost five years since she opened the New Mexico Dance Theatre. In the spring of 2004 Baker-Dillingham was chosen as a New Mexico Woman of Distinction and was celebrated along with nine other women at the Governor’s Mansion in Santa Fe. In the fall of 2005, the New Mexico Dance Theatre was chosen as the “Most Successful New Small Business,” in Los Alamos, and was recognized along with seventeen other small businesses on the floor of the New Mexico House of Representatives. Since those first days, enrollment has grown from 17 students to 192 presently. In fact, the New Mexico Dance Theatre has outgrown their existing space and will be expanding soon. Baker-Dillingham has this advice for young people, “You will learn much more from committing to one thing and doing it well, than you will from trying to do many things in a mediocre fashion. When you are over-extended, you may think you are becoming well rounded, but you aren’t. You are becoming scattered. Choose two activities at the most and give them your all. It is extremely hard to become an artist in any field, or an athlete, a scientist, a doctor, or a salesman. Work hard and be

fyi—The spectacular performances put on by NMDT draw hundreds of people from across the community to the Duane Smith Auditorium. These truly professional performances have excellent original choreography, beautiful lighting, gorgeous sets, and flattering costumes for the dancers, none of which would be possible without the hundreds of volunteer hours.



Essence April/May 2009

Clay Dillingham

determined. Take the bull by the horns and make your dreams happen. Believe in yourself and your dreams no matter what.” Kendra Smale, age 16, a student assistant in Ballet at New Mexico Dance Theatre School, started dancing when she was three or four. At age ten, she says she went “on pointe” (standing on the tips of her toes), because she knew dancing was going to be a major part of her life. She loved dancing so much, she was willing to endure bleeding toes, a lot of blisters, and being sore every night and every morning. Currently, she’s looking at colleges that have an active dancing program. She likes the sense of discipline she receives from the New Mexico Dance Theatre School but she loves that she can express herself in ways that are unique to her, even while performing the same movement as other students. “Every dancer puts something different into every move,” Smale says. “Dancing is very therapeutic. It can make a bad mood good, and a good mood even better.” Youth that grow up in the dance environment learn proper stretching and body alignment at the barre, as well as balance, form and technique. “It’s about training your muscles to remember,” says Smale. “But there’s so much more. There are many different feelings incorporated into one show. The dancer’s movements must be calm and sustained for slow music, exciting and quick for peppier tunes. Even facial expressions must reflect the mood.” According to Smale, Susan Baker-Dillingham is a master choreographer and visionary, but that alone

does not make a great performance. It’s up to the student to demonstrate correctly the technique and choreography and to connect with it on an artistic level. Smale says, “It helps when you see someone else achieving the right effect because, then, you want to achieve also.” Parents can be helpful to their child’s dance training as well. They can let their child move and learn at their own pace and not worry about the class level. Encouraging their children is good but pressuring them to be the best in the class may turn them off all together. It’s best to let the child grow into their own, prove their own skill level, and find their own rhythm. The most important thing is that

the child feels good about what they are doing. If they love to dance more than anything else they do, the parent may also consider removing a few other activities so the child can focus on dancing. Students in the New Mexico Dance Theatre School are provided with two opportunities to perform on an annual basis, the holiday show during December and the annual spring recital. They will present their fifth annual spring recital, “Games and Puzzles,” on Friday, May 8th at 7:00 and Saturday May 9th at 2:00 in the Duane Smith Auditorium and will include all age groups and classes. In December, they’ll perform “The Magic Toy Box,” as well as an annual spring recital in May 2010. Students in the New Mexico Dance Theatre Performance Company also have two opportunities to perform in addition to dancing in their class level during the annual spring recital, which makes a third opportunity for them. High school seniors are given a special performance at the end of each annual recital, either in a group setting or as separate solos. The Performance Company has performed BakerDillingham’s creative versions of Dracula, Snow White, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and Cinderella. They also performed two “Mixed Bill” productions. Their performances for the 2009/2010 season include Susan Baker-Dillingham’s version of Alice in Wonderland in November and The Sleeping Beauty in February. For more information about the New Mexico Dance Theatre, see their website,, or call 505.920.9134.


Located in White Rock next to Smith’s

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Essence April/May 2009


CommunityMatters Kiwanis: The Essence of Community Service

On the evening of April 17th the Kiwanis Club of Los Alamos will host the 7th Annual Kiwanis Auction. The Auction is an outstanding evening of fun and fundraising. Kiwanis celebrates the cooperation of individuals, businesses and community generosity and support which is the very essence of Kiwanis community service. The Kiwanis Club of Los Alamos was founded in 1948. It is the oldest Los Alamos service organization. Last year Kiwanis donated over $36,000 to numerous community organizations and young people. Over 6,000 people attend the annual fireworks presentation at Overlook Park – a professional display of pyrotechnics presented for the last 20 years.

Kiwanis Auction

The 7th Annual Kiwanis Auction is a premier event in Los Alamos and one of several events where everyone can support the community. Entertainment, dancing, live and silent auctions are presented with a full dinner. The formal affair shows off the best of Los Alamos in a festive atmosphere. The success of the event is due in part to the broad community support. Many businesses provide excellent items for the auction. Kiwanis members prepare “baskets” to auction with themes that range from chocolate to wine. Local artisans provide jewelry, paintings, bowls and wood work that spark interest in each attendee. The evening is exciting as bidding begins in the live auction. Outstanding auction items including: vacation accommodations in Hawaii donated by Roger Waterman and Emily McGay,a ruby & diamond necklace, earrings from Bennett’s Fine Jewelry and the art of Janis Muir, this year’s featured artist.

Kiwanis Club of Los Alamos has provided funding for youth-oriented organizations including Key Club at Los Alamos High School, Little League and the Sister City Program, YMCA, Special Olympics, scholarships to graduating high school seniors and science fair prize money. For parents of newborns Kiwanis provides safety equipment, smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.

Join Us

Kiwanis membership is open to men and women. There are no special requirements other than a desire to serve the community and an interest in current affairs in the community. With over 55 members, Kiwanis has demonstrated year after year its commitment to children in Los Alamos The Auction is an opportunity to join us also. Get your tickets now for an outstanding event with equally important goals. The Auction is April 17, 7 P.M.–10 P.M. at the Hilltop Best Western on the 3rd floor. Tickets are available from Kiwanis members or by calling Cheryl Pongratz, Auction Chairwoman, at 662.2728.

Kiwanis Organization

Kiwanis Club of Los Alamos meets weekly on Tuesday at noon. The meetings feature speakers on topics important to Kiwanis and the community. Speaker topics have ranged from local school building plans to county road projects. Global topics like “green” initiatives and nuclear proliferation add thought provoking issues. Service projects and fundraisers are scheduled and staffed by the members. Co-sponsored by the County of Los Alamos, the Fourth of July fireworks entertain while celebrating Independence Day. Music, children’s games and vendors serving food and souvenirs fill the day that is completed with a 30 minute display of fireworks.


Do you have ideas of you own you would like to add to this list. Email them to and we will collect them for a future issue. In the meantime, go do something small! the

Essence April/May 2009

34 SMALL STEPS TO A BETTER COMMUNITY Things that make our community a better place happen all the time and come from actions big and small. No doubt you have done or helped with a number of things this week that were communityminded and made our town better. The Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government has studied the concept of social capital and has cataloged the little things that people do that help build stronger community. Here is an extract of some favorites: 1. Organize a neighborhood social gathering to welcome a new neighbor 2. Support Los Alamos and White Rock merchants 3. Volunteer your special skills to a local organization 4. Donate blood (with a friend!) 5. Avoid gossip 6. Get to know the clerks, salespeople, and wait people at local stores and restaurants 7. Answer surveys when asked 8. Attend community events and parades; express appreciation for others 9. Help coach Little League or other youth sports – even if you don’t have a kid playing 10.Offer to rake an elderly neighbor’s yard or shovel his/her walk 11. Take a “Walking Tour” of our historic district 12. E at breakfast at a local gathering spot on Saturday or Sunday 13. Host a block party 14. S tart a fix-it group–friends willing to help each other clean, paint, garden, etc. 15. S ay “thanks” to public servants – police, firefighters, town clerk… 16. Join a nonprofit board or committee 17. Hold a neighborhood barbecue this summer 18. B  ake cookies for new neighbors or colleagues 19. U  se public transportation and start talking with those you regularly see 20. Go to a local art or crafts festival 21. Say hello to strangers 22. V  olunteer to drive an elderly friend or neighbor on an errand 23. S ay hello to an acquaintance in a store 24. Take in the programs at our libraries 25. Pick it up even if you didn’t drop it 26. G  o with friends or colleagues to a ball game (and root, root, root for the home team!) 27. Hire young people for odd jobs 28. Be nice when you drive 29. Make gifts of time 30. Volunteer at your neighborhood school 31. S end a “thank you” letter to the Editor about a person, organization, or event that helped build community 32. O  pen the door for someone who has his or her hands full 33. O  ffer to watch your neighbor’s home or apartment while they are away 34. A  ttend a church or faith gathering other than your own as a guest


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Los Alamos Heart Council We teach you how to "Love Your Heart" for information on our programs visit: or e-mail us at

Laboratory Retiree Group PO Box 546 Los Alamos, New Mexico Need Board Members Need Retirees to help with reunion Call Dale Thompson for details 505-660-2144 after 6 pm Dues: $12.00 per household/ per year

Reminder: Los Alamos Homecoming June 12,13,14, 2009


Essence April/May 2009



April 2009

14 Tuesday

23 Thursday

60th Anniversary Lecture Series – Dorothy Hoard, Historic Roads and Pathways of Los Alamos Author Dorothy Hoard, has traversed numerous trails and pathways in the county and the region and will share many experiences. 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm

Poetry Talk: Michelle Holland Michelle Holland’s poem, Out of Ourselves We Continue to Rock appears in Book Lung - Poetry’s Spin on Art. 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

16 Thursday Los Alamos Winter Farmers’ Market Help Northern New Mexico growers while enjoying their fresh produce. 9:00 am to 1:00 pm Family Friendly Film Series – Bolt. The canine star of a fictional sci-fi/action show that believes his powers are real. 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm

17 Friday Kiwanis Fundraiser Dinner/Dance and Auction. Supports Kiwanis programs including scholarship fund. 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm 60th Anniversary Concert: Los Alamos Symphony Orchestra. Brahms: Symphony No. 3 In F Major, Op. 90 Barber: First Essay For Orchestra, Op. 12 Brahms: Symphony No. 3 In F Major, Op. 90. 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm

18 Saturday Dog Jog 2009. Enjoy a jog with your pet and more at this popular annual event. 8:00 am to 12:00 noon

18/19 Saturday/Sunday & 26 Sunday Big Brothers Big Sisters Fundraiser Bowling for Kids’ Sake. Have fun and help kids! (check for times and locations)

19 Sunday 60th Anniversary Living Treasure Ceremony. This year’s ceremony will pay tribute to our living “treasures” who were here in 1949! 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm

24, 25, 26, 30 Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Thursday Olions presents Bye Bye Birdie. Olions,the high school drama group will present a theater performance of this popular play. 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm

25 Saturday Earth Day Festival 2009 The Earth Day Festival will feature displays by community groups of their earth-friendly products and practices and their information about our environment on the Pajarito Plateau. 10:00 am to 2:00 pm 60th Anniversary Event–Earth Day Dedication of Nature Trail This is a gift to Los Alamos on it 60th Anniversary. This dedication is part of the Earth Day Festival at PEEC. 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm Hershey Youth Track and Field Meet This local meet is part of the Hershey Track and Field Games which hopes to attract 500,000 participants to compete in local, district and state meets held across North America from April to June. 9:00 am to 1:00 pm

26 Sunday Atomic Man Duathlon The course provides spectacular views of wildflowers, pinon and ponderosa pine forests, and the Jemez and Sangre de Cristo mountain ranges. 7:30 am to 1:00 pm Party for PEEC Dine and socialize with us at the annual Party-forPEEC, a benefit dinner for your community Nature Center. 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm

22 Wednesday Earth Day Talk. Charles Darwin talk by Dr. Howard Snell. 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm



Essence April/May 2009

May 2009 2 Saturday

16 Saturday

Spring Arts and Crafts Fair This outdoor fair is one of the first fairs of the season and will feature over 130 artists. 9:00 am to 4:00 pm

Jemez Mountain Runs Awards to all finishers and first finisher in each event will be original pottery by Birdell Bourdon, Santa Clara Pueblo. 5:00 am to 11:00 am

3 Sunday Concert: Violinist Julia Fischer. The phenomenal German violinist. Gramaphone Magazine “2007 Artist of the Year.” 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm

7–9 Thursday–Saturday NM Dance Theater will present 60th Anniversary performances (check for details)

8 Friday Art Center at Fuller Lodge Opening Reception –“Sculpturing Ideas” Opening receptions are great opportunities to socialize with artists, members, and other interested parties. 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm

9 Saturday Community Health Council Spring Festival at Ashley Pond 10:00 am to 2:00 pm 60th Anniversary concert by Los Alamos Symphony Orchestra 7:00 pm to 9:30 pm

12 Tuesday 60th Anniversary Event Ice Cream Social featuring the “80th Anniversary of Fuller Lodge” with Craig Martin as speaker. 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm

14 Thursday Outdoor Farmers’ Market begins for the season and continues every Thursday The bounty it northern New Mexico farmlands for you to see, appreciate - and - buy! 7:00 am to 12:00 noon

Classical Music Concert. Legends of the Rings performed by the Los Alamos Community Winds Excerpts from “Der Ring des Nibelungen” - Richard Wagner, Symphony No. 1 “The Lord of the Rings” - Johan de Meij. 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm

16 Saturday & 17 Sunday 10th Annual Kite Festival Music, food, kite-building workshops, lots of kite flying and stunt kite flying! 10:00 am to 6:00 pm

28 Thursday Archaeology on the Caldera See firsthand some of the most unique and previously unseen historic and prehistoric archaeological sites in the Jemez Mountains. 9:00 am to 2:30 pm Author Speak Series: Marta Wiegle Wiegle has written many books on the southwest. 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

30 Saturday Spring Ballet Recital Enjoy the artistry of Dance Arts Los Alamos’ intermediate and advanced dancers, performing ballet. 9:00 am to 1:00 pm Pajarito Punishment Bike Race The course is entirely above 9,000 ft so expect thin air, green forests and challenging riding. 9:00 am to 1:00 pm 60th Anniversary Hike The Lujan Trail (check for times and locations)

15 Friday 10th Annual Kite Festival Friday night Concert and night kite-flying. 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm 2009 LA County Summer Concert Series The Red Elvises 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm


Essence April/May 2009 Community calendar, searchable business directory, full event details, more events, and contact information at 23



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April/May 2009 TheEssence_Vol2_Iss3_full draft  

Arts & Culture April–May 2009, Volume 2, Issue 3 Growing Up Dancing at the New Mexico Dance Theatre Imagining White Rock April and May T...

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