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About Dance Education in the United States




SC ballet trio
Photo by Scott Nilsson.  Courtesy of South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts & Humanities.


NDEO frequently receives requests for information from journalists, dance educators and administrators, and NDEO members on a wide range of issues about the state of dance and dance education in the United States. Common requests include questions on the following topics:

  • The number of dance programs and students receiving dance education in PreK-12 education, colleges and universities, studios and private schools of dance, and performing arts organizations.
  • States that require state dance certification.
  • State licensure requirements in dance.
  • The distribution or penetration of dance programs in various environments.
  • Employment opportunities for dancers and dance educators.
  Core Arts Standards in Dance
NDEO has created and identified various resources to help address these requests. However, in all cases, the statistics change year to year as policy and funding impact
 dance and dance education in each state.

Evidence: A Report on the Impact of Dance in the K-12 Setting 


Photo by John Spicer. Courtesy of San Francisco Ballet.
With support from the National Endowment of the Arts, NDEO published Evidence: A Report on the Impact of Dance in the K-12 Setting in July 2013. NDEO researchers undertook a review of recent studies of how dance impacts learning, with particular attention to several areas determined to be under-researched in the 2004 Research Priorities in Dance Education: A Report to the Nation (Bonbright). These areas included: Creative Process, Neuroscience/Brain Research, Student Achievement, Affective Domain, Student Performance, Equity, Cultural and World Dance, and Children-at-Risk. A group of researchers combed a variety of databases, including recent theses, dissertations, and articles within the Dance Education Literature and Research descriptive index (DELRdi), the Fast Response Survey System (FRSS), and a newly discovered collection of reports from the U.S Department of Education’s Arts-in-Education programs in professional development and model programs. The researchers prepared evaluations and summaries of each study, article, or report that provided insight into the evidence of how dance education impacts teaching and learning in the first decade-plus of the 21st century. To read more about the report, click here. To read the report, click here.

Statistics: General US Education and Dance Education


To view Fast Response System Survey (FRSS) data from the U.S. Department of Education, click here.


To view National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) data for US education and NDEO data

for dance education in the U.S., click here.


  Employment and Job Outlook

To view Bureau of Labor Statistics data on dance employment, job outlook, projections data, earnings, and related occupations, click here


State Certification for K-12 Education


To view a map of the United States with a list of states that require dance certification in K-12 education in 2014 & 2010, click here. (These statistics are subject to change depending on state policies and funding.) 

  Photo by Eric Alberg. Courtesy of Hope College.
  Credential, licensure, and certification requirements for K-12 education differ from state to state due to lack of standardization in terminology, state legislation and policies, and funding. To download a chart comparing the credential requirements for dance in the United States, click here.


Fast Facts: Dance Education Fact Sheets


Every year NDEO assembles one-page advocacy papers for Congressional leaders, encouraging them to support the inclusion of dance in US education. These "fast facts" provide a snap shot of the state of dance education, including information on the impact of dance on SAT scores, research on multi-cultural populations as kinesthetic learners, states that require K-12 dance certification, and the number of children receiving, or denied access to, quality dance education in the United States. To download these fact sheets, click here.

Photo by David Gibson. Courtesy of Meghann J Snow.

Evolution of Dance in Arts Education


To read about the transition of dance education from physical education to the arts, click here. To read about the difference between dance in the arts and dance in physical education today, click here.


To learn about the role the national arts education agenda has played in shaping the evolution of dance in arts education, click here.