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It's that time of year again! #ThankADanceTeacherDay is upon us, and we couldn't be more thrilled to celebrate. There is no holiday that's better fit for Dance Teacher magazine and our readership. May 2 is up there with Christmas, people!

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It’s that time of year again—time to thank a special dance teacher in your life. Tomorrow, the National Dance Education Organization is hosting its third annual #NDEOThankADanceTeacherDay, a social-media fundraising campaign for professional development scholarships.

Students shared their appreciation for their dance teachers during last year's #NDEOThankADanceTeacherDay.

Here’s how it works:

Donate $10 or more to NDEO’s Thank A Dance Teacher Fund, in honor of a dance teacher who has made an impact in your life.

Thank your teacher by sharing your story on social media tomorrow using the hashtag #NDEOThankADanceTeacherDay. Link to:

Donations will be accepted through the end of 2016. All funds go toward NDEO’s professional development scholarships. Dance teachers working in studios, K–12, higher education and performing arts organizations are eligible and encouraged to apply. For more info, visit:

Photos courtesy of NDEO

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The National Dance Education Organization’s first “Jazz Dance: Roots and Branches in Practice” conference is happening at Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island, July 31–August 3. The four-day conference contains movement workshops of a variety of jazz styles and in-depth panel discussions that cover jazz dance’s past, present and future. Special guest presenters include Bob Boross, Danny Buraczeski, Thom Cobb and Billy Siegenfeld.

The second day of the conference focuses on vernacular styles, homing in on jazz’s historical and cultural roots. The third day delves into theatrical jazz and how the dance form has evolved over time. Topics for discussion include: how to teach jazz dance that is relevant but historically rooted; what is the relationship between jazz dance and music; and how pop culture has changed the face of jazz.

Master teacher Bob Boross will be a presenter at the conference.

Photo by N_Link Photography, courtesy of Salve Regina University

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Sonya Monts with her contemporary class

The National Dance Education Organization awarded its first certificate in dance education to North Carolina studio owner Sonya Monts. Over the past three and a half years, Monts has earned credits by studying online, taking 13 courses in topics ranging from ballet theory and composition to implementing the national core arts standards.

Monts decided to pursue the certification program in 2012, the year it was launched by NDEO. Taking the courses online enabled her to complete her coursework in a time frame that was convenient for her. “I was able to immediately apply what I was learning to the lessons that I was teaching at my studio,” she says.

NDEO’s Online Professional Development Institute provides dance teachers with professional development, regardless of where they live. Courses are held each spring, summer and fall. There are currently 24 different classes offered, with new courses available each year.

Photo: by Henry Monts, courtesy of Sonya Monts

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David Dorfman teaching at Connecticut College

The National Dance Education Organization has announced that David Dorfman will be 2015 Annual National Conference Keynote Speaker. He will speak at the Grand Closing Reception and Dinner, held on Saturday, October 10, 6:308:30 pm.

Dorfman is a professor and the chair of the dance department at Connecticut College and founded his company David Dorfman Dance in 1987. He holds a BS in business administration from Washington University in St. Louis and an MFA in dance from Connecticut College, and he received a 2005 Guggenheim Foundation fellowship, in addition to numerous other honors and awards in the dance field.

This year’s conference, Focus on Dance Education: Engaging in the Artistic Processes—Creating, Performing, Responding, Connecting, takes place Oct. 7–11 at the Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort and nearby venues in Phoenix. For more info, visit:

Photo by Adam Campos, courtesy of Connecticut College.

The National Dance Education Organization has announced some stimulating class offerings for teachers through its Online Professional Development Institute.

Starting in July, there’s an introductory and broadly focused mini course—Developmental Domains—which lasts just four weeks and can give you a taste of online learning during the studio off-season. The class will cover physical, cognitive, social and emotional development in students and how teachers can learn to identify behaviors in each context to create an inclusive class.

Then, if back-to-school season has you itching to hit the books, NDEO offers a roster of 12-week fall sessions to choose from:





• Choreographic Explorations in Dance Since 1953 (September 7–November 29)

• Dance Kinesiology and Applied Teaching Practice (September 7–November 29)

• Creative Process for Dance Integration (September 14–November 22)

• Dance History: Global, Cultural and Historical Consideration (September 21–December 13)

 • Teaching Dance to Students with Disabilities (September 21–December 13)

Plus, two more mini courses—Elements of Dance and Developing Cornerstone Assessments for the New Dance Standardslaunch in October and November.

All classes’ credits go toward earning NDEO’s Certificate in Dance Education and are also available (at additional cost) for college credit from University of North Carolina–Greensboro. Visit or for class descriptions and registration information.

The cast of Why I Can't Not Dance

Dance Teacher is at the National Dance Educators Organization conference this week in Chicago, and we're loving the chance to meet and talk with so many folks in our community. Last night was the big kickoff reception and Bill Evans unveiled a new work, Why I Can't Not Dance.

A few years ago, Barry Blumenfeld (DT Ask the Experts columnist) told us about a special interest group he had formed for men in dance. Now, some might say that though men are a minority in dance, they are a highly visible and privileged minority. But as Barry told the NDEO crowd last night, there is an unaddressed need for balance in our field. "Every dance educator working with males today has questions." The group has been meeting to discuss those questions, and last night 21 of them performed this powerful and touching piece.

It's a long video but definitely worth 30 minutes of your time. We really love the part where Evans reveals how the piece came together. The men each created a movement phrase based on quotes like these (from research by Doug Risner) :

"Dance isn't gay or straight. Dance is my body and soul."

"I dance because I was forbidden to."

Photo courtesy of NDEO

Dance teachers, by profession, don’t often have extra time on their hands, making it difficult to take continuing education courses or explore professional development options. The National Dance Education Organization seeks to combat this problem by offering mini courses: Participants only need to devote six to eight hours a week, for four weeks, to an online course. (Those hours can be logged at any point during the week.) These mini courses can earn you continuing education credits, too.

NDEO’s newest mini course starts November 18 and is on assessment—finding ways to evaluate your students’ technique, choreography, performance and writing in a way that also conveys how they can improve in these areas. This course will be taught by none other than NDEO’s executive director, Susan McGreevy-Nichols. Tuition is $125, and registration will close after November 16, so act fast. You can learn more about course registration here, and be sure to check out NDEO’s upcoming spring course offerings here.

Photo by John Spicer, courtesy of San Francisco Ballet


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