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Dance 2050

The NDEO initiative, DANCE 2050, has been working since its inception to widen the circle in dance education and to highlight inclusion and collaboration among the sectors. Based on dialogue within the thinktank in 2020, the planning committee proposed that the title of this initiative change from "Dance 2050: A Think Tank for Dance in Higher Education" to "Dance 2050: A Think Tank for Dance in Education."  This change was approved by the NDEO membership later that year.

Dance 2050: A Think Tank for Dance in Education

Now familiar to hundreds of dance educators, DANCE 2050 refers to a think tank for dance in education that is sustained by the National Dance Education Organization.

The goal is to disseminate forward thinking, to integrate dance knowledge, technology, and diverse body practices, to drive progress and positive change in education, not to be reactive to forces outside the field of dance. DANCE 2050 gathers to share, commiserate, inspire, and problem solve. This includes annual sessions held during the NDEO National Conference in addition to virtual meetings intended to provide access to those who are unable to join in person. DANCE 2050 provides opportunities to connect with educators, practitioners, and advocates who may not be members of NDEO.

If you would like to get involved or speak with the DANCE 2050 leadership team, please email us at

The History of Dance 2050

At Temple University in the spring of 2012, a group of 48 educators working in higher education were selected by a blind-reviewed vision exercise to gather in Philadelphia to “DANCE 2050: What is the Future of Dance in Higher Education?” The goal was “to function proactively, articulating and substantiating potentially radical innovation in dance in higher education, while fostering the leadership required to forge structural change” (Katja Kolcio, 2013). The think tank emulated the work of the previous generation of educators, led by Alma Hawkins, who published a vision for dance in higher education in the Impulse dance journal.

The Vision Document for DANCE 2050 was written collaboratively in 2013, following retreats at Temple and Wesleyan Universities, and later ratified by a group of conference participants in Chicago in 2014. A two-page Executive Summary can be read here.

Since 2014, a dedicated group of individuals has met each year to generate an open, critical dialogue about the future of dance in education. Each year, a different theme drives the colloquy with the intention to engage new voices. A few volunteers across the country continue the inquiry, moving thinking into the next year.

In 2020, as the field reckoned with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the rise in social justice movements in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, DANCE 2050 pivoted to widen the conversation beyond higher education in order to build community across all sectors of dance education—a goal that was highlighted often at past annual meetings.

More than a special interest group, these dance professionals form a collective of imaginative and mindful analysts, to identify the cultural changes that inevitably precipitate new definitions of dance as art in education everywhere.

A chronology of DANCE 2050 events held between 2012 and 2022 can be read here.

Frequent Contributers

DANCE 2050 has been made possible through the hard work and contributions of hundreds of dance educators. The following individuals have been frequent contributors. If we have missed any names that you would like to recognize, please email us at

DANCE 2050 Co-Founders: Luke Kahlich, Thomas Hagood

Vision Statement Writing Committee: Barbara Angeline, Luke Kahlich, Robin Lakes, Marissa Nesbit, Lynnette Young Overby

Additional Vision Statement Contributors: Linda Caldwell, Donna Davenport, Ellen Gerdes, Lisa Gibbs, Melissa Hauschild-Mork, Susan Kirchner, Susan Koff, Katja Kolcio, Susan Lee, Diane McGhee Valle, Susan McGreevy-Nichols, Ray Miller, Hannah Park, Missy Pfohl Smith, Cynthia Roses-Thema, Sheryl Saterstrom, Karen Schupp, Elizabeth Shea, Juanita Suarez, Jessica Van Oort, Catherine Young, Anne Wilcox

DANCE 2050 Contributors (past and present), in addition to those named above: Susan Lee, Lisa Morgan, Stephanie Thibeault, Karen Bond, Karen Bradley, Jan Erkert, Susan Gingrasso, Kathleen Isaac, Yoav Kaddar, Kathleen Klein, Kristin Kusanovich, JoAnna Mendl Shaw, Ilana Morgan, Myron Nadel, Jennifer Petrie, Heather Roffe, Jessica Van Oort, Kariamu Welsh, Jessie Levey, Shaahida Samuel, Carlos Jones, Amira Davis, Ashlee Rapoza.

Former DANCE 2050 Chair: Kelly Ferris Lester (NDEO Past-President)

Current DANCE 2050 Co-Chairs: Donna Davenport, Stephen Ursprung

Additional Resources

Free Webinar: Widening the Dance Circle: Envisioning a Collaborative Future - Recorded live on Wednesday, 8/5/20 - Watch this Webinar