Honor Thy Dancer


The National Dance Education Association (NDEO) has just re-launched their wonderful National Honors Society for Dance Arts ™, a program “created to recognize outstanding artistic merit, leadership, and academic achievement in students studying dance in public and private schools in K-12 education, dance studios, cultural/community centers, performing arts organizations, and post-secondary education.”


There are 3 different programs designed for 3 different age groups. The Junior Program is for students in grade 6-8 or the local Middle School equivalent, the Secondary Program is for students in grade 9-12 or the local High School equivalent, and the Collegiate Program is for students studying in a post-secondary institution offering dance courses for credit.  Each program rewards high academic standing, promotes a life-long learning in the field of dance and encourages an understanding and appreciation of dance as an art form.

The Secondary Program also allows nomination for the NDEO Artistic Merit, Leadership and Achievement Award, one of the highest honor programs for dance in the US.  Membership in groups like this shows social engagement and helps students to show their passion and dedication when applying for college admissions.

The Collegiate Program promotes standards in dance education and develops future leaders in the field, along with providing wonderful networking opportunities.

Dancers receive Induction Certificates and chapters can also provide them with Honor Society pins. Upon graduation, chapters can provide honor chords for dancers to wear as they graduate.

Dance Studios especially can benefit from the NHSDA program as a way to engage their teenage students. “Making NHSDA  available to our students has been key for retention in the high school years,”  says Misty Lown, of More Than Just Great Dancing. “NHSDA makes it easier for kids to receive credit for what they are already doing: balancing academics, service and studio life.”

Shannon Dooling, Director of NHSDA, said it perfectly in a recent e-mail:

“The NHSDA program is a wonderful way to recognize your students’ outstanding artistic merit, leadership, and academic achievement. Starting an NHSDA Chapter at your studio or institution helps you to bring honor and prestige to your dance program, and helps to advocate for the field of dance education centered in the arts by raising the profile of dance in your community.”

All the programs have membership requirements in NDEO – a wonderful organization whose members are “educators, artists, administrators, students, professionals, and advocates working in diverse environments. Members come from dance studios, K-12 education, professional preparation programs, performing arts organizations and academies, professional dance companies, colleges and university dance programs, and cultural and community programs.”  NDEO offers networking, peer communities and job opportunities to all its members and has online courses, mini-conferences and an annual conference with robust courses for professional development.

For more information and how to set up your own chapter, visit: www.nshda-ndeo.org

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