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Cisco, National Dance Institute and Tata Communications Collaborate to Connect Children with the Arts Globally
Posted on Tuesday, April 5, 2011

New York – April 5, 2011 – Cisco, National Dance Institute (NDI) and Tata Communications today announced that they are undertaking a first-of-its-kind collaboration that will allow NDI to conduct highly synchronized virtual global arts programs via telepresence – connecting children from all over the world – from its new home, the National Dance Institute Center for Learning and the Arts, in Harlem, New York.

NDI brings award-winning arts and learning programs to thousands of school children each year.  Through the use of its new telepresence environment, NDI will extend its reach by conducting global dance and music programs – in which students from the NDI Center will dance as one unified troupe in coordinated performances with children from cities around the globe.

Telepresence delivers a powerful, real-time and fully immersive interaction that connects people regardless of where they are located in the world, giving them the feeling that they are in the same room. It heavily reduces the need to travel, brings diverse cultures and artistic traditions together, and will expand the reach of NDI's world-renowned arts and learning programs.   

Cisco will provide NDI with Cisco TelePresence solutions and Tata Communications will provide the connection that allows the interactions to take place, enabling the world's first virtual global dance program, complete with managed services support.

Cisco's TelePresence solution will deliver full high definition (HD) video, complimented by outstanding audio quality.  It will be integrated with NDI's audio/visual capabilities in the Harlem facility to create a powerful - yet fully flexible - virtual dance studio.

NDI's telepresence room will be connected to Tata Communications' telepresence network via its Global Meeting Exchange which enables meetings to take place between any private or public room on its network; as well as rooms on the networks of Intercarrier-Exchange partners. Tata Communications currently has the largest global network of public telepresence rooms and is present across five continents, with 33 rooms spanning 17 countries. It is this reach that will connect NDI's program to viewers and performers anywhere in the world.

This collaboration represents the impact that technology can have on the arts, and constitutes a major advancement in the way that the arts are shared, practiced, delivered and consumed. 

"Nothing communicates better than dance and music, which cross barriers – east, west, north, south…globally," says Jacques d'Amboise, founder of National Dance Institute. "And to have children present as a major component in this communication is vital.  After all, isn't everything about children?"

"We are pleased to work with NDI and Tata Communications to provide dance students around the world with the opportunity to collaborate and learn from one another like never before," said O.J. Winge, senior vice president, TelePresence Technology Group, Cisco. "As the National Dance Institute uses the power of dance to bring together diverse cultures globally, Cisco TelePresence delivers the power of immersive experiences that can help remove barriers created by geographical separation, promoting new opportunities for artistic collaboration."

"Previous sessions were very exciting and rewarding for student, parents and instructors", says Peter Quinlan, vice president, Telepresence Managed Services, Tata Communications. "We are very pleased to be proving this service to NDI, in collaboration with Cisco. It opens up an unprecedented collaboration opportunity for the children. Cooperation was seamless because NDI, Cisco and Tata Communications share a common goal to drive and facilitate open collaboration through technology with anyone around the world."