Our Story

The Dance Institute of Washington was founded by the late Fabian Barnes in 1987. Barnes founded the organization with the mission of improving the lives of underserved children in Washington, DC through the arts. In 1996, he retired from his highly acclaimed career as a professional dancer, to devote himself to this mission. Today, DIW is the leading minority-led dance equity organization in the DMV, supporting students from underserved communities and securing top DC arts foundation funding. DIW performs multiple times annually at the Kennedy Center and THEARC as well as at multiple venues and festivals around the region and country. DIW offers a holistic set of extra-curricular key services to support their students including physical therapy, nutritional seminars, and career development training, along with arranging college tours for prospective students. After Fabian’s tragic passing in 2016, Kahina Haynes was chosen as the Executive Director of the Dance Institute of Washington. Haynes, a former dancer, alumna of Princeton and Oxford Universities, founder of two independent dance companies, and a veteran of both the World Bank and the United Nations, served as School Director starting in 2013 before taking on the role as Executive Director in 2016. Under Haynes guidance, DIW continues propelling its mission into the future with visionary leadership and enthusiasm. Since DIW’s inception, many students have gone on to professional careers with prestigious dance companies and continued studies at top ballet conservatories and universities.

Fabian Barnes

Kahina Haynes, Dance Institute of Washington

Kahina Hayes