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Behind the Curtain Blog

NDEO's "Behind the Curtain" Blog features articles written by NDEO members about dance and dance education topics as well as periodic updates on NDEO programs and services. This is a FREE resource available to ALL.

Why should you start a chapter of the National Honor Society for Dance Arts™ (NHSDA) this fall? With all of the challenges currently facing both dance educators and students, an honor society may not be high on your priority list right now. However, the NHSDA program offers benefits that are especially valuable in this era of uncertainty. Establishing an NHSDA chapter in your school is one very important way that you can honor your students for their persistence in trying times, and help advance and advocate for both your program and the entire field of dance education.

A group of dance students with their arms over their head, palms facing the sky

The National Honor Society for Dance Arts, a program of NDEO, recognizes outstanding artistic merit, leadership, and academic achievement in students studying dance in K-12 schools, dance studios, cultural and community centers, performing arts organizations, and post-secondary education. Establishing a chapter is a benefit for NDEO Institutional Members. The NHSDA offers three levels of induction: The Junior Program for grades 6-8, The Secondary Program for grades 9-12, and The Collegiate Program for students in college or university dance programs. The benefits of establishing a Chapter are felt by students and Chapter Sponsors at every level. 

Here are just a few of the reasons why you should start an NHSDA Chapter this fall: 

  1. Keep your students motivated and engaged in their dance training. Working toward NHSDA induction can help motivate your students to strive for excellence in the dance studio. With many students still dancing online or in hybrid online and in-person classes, this extra incentive can keep them engaged in dance even under less than ideal circumstances. Each Chapter can establish their own path to induction using the national guidelines and point system, which allows Chapter Sponsors to create a program that best serves the needs of their students.   
  2. Encourage your students’ academic achievement. To be inducted into NHSDA, students must excel in three areas: dance technique and artistry, leadership and character, and academic achievement. NHSDA induction can provide students with a little extra encouragement to achieve academic success during an uncertain school year. Induction into this nationally recognized honor society helps students stand out in college applications and on their professional resumes. 
  3. Advocate for your program. It is no secret that dance programs across the country are facing unprecedented challenges right now. Whether you teach in a K-12 school, a university, or a privately owned dance studio, it is more important than ever to advocate for your program. Starting an NHSDA Chapter is a great way to set your school or studio apart, as the honor society concept is appealing to parents, families, and school administrators. Induction ceremonies allow you to publicly recognize your students and promote the benefit of dance in their lives. Your students can also share their dance experience by writing an article for Dance Arts Now!, the official NHSDA newsletter. 
  4. Create a sense of community for your students. In this era of social distancing, it has become more important than ever to help students feel supported as valued members of a community. The NHSDA program helps create community in two ways. First, establishing a Chapter at your school or studio provides inductees with a way to connect as their own special community. Secondly, students become part of a national network of thousands of other NHSDA inductees. Your Chapter can choose to participate in NHSDA events like Love Your Body Week (November 15-21, 2020) and Dance a Difference Week (March 7-13, 2021), which are celebrated by students from across the country. 
  5. NHSDA has gone virtual! At the NHSDA website, you can find great ideas for running your Chapter virtually. These  include safe, socially-distant ways that students can earn induction points, as well as ideas for online induction and recognition ceremonies. You can set up your chapter and induct students at the website, making it an easy and convenient option for schools that are running online. 

Do you want to learn more about the National Honor Society for Dance Arts™? Visit or email Kari Schrade at Are you ready to get started? Become an Institutional Member of NDEO here, and then head over to the NHSDA website to apply for your Chapter! 

Photo by Lijah Friedman, Courtesy of Barefoot Dance Company

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