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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.

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by Jennifer Meckley, Assistant Professor of Dance at Ball State University ~~ As a gender non-conforming pansexual dance teacher in higher education, I have been conversing with colleagues and students about the challenges LGBTQIA and genderqueer students experience in academia and ways we can create safer and more inclusive spaces for these students. I will offer tips on how I have been proactively creating these spaces and will provide some insight on how everyone can contribute to creating he...
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By Jan Erkert, Head and Professor (2006-2022) Department of Dance at University of Illinois ~~ This 3-part blog series explores how dance artists can utilize embodied knowledge and choreographic process to interrogate systemic racism in dance programs. Dance departments and their curricula entered academia in the mid-20th century primarily reflecting the values of the dominant white culture in the United States. Ballet and modern often became the pillars of these curricula...
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By Jan Erkert, Head and Professor (2006-2022) Department of Dance at University of Illinois ~~ This 3-part blog series explores how dance artists can utilize embodied knowledge and choreographic process to interrogate systemic racism in dance programs. Dance departments and their curricula entered academia in the mid-20th century primarily reflecting the values of the dominant white culture in the United States. Ballet and modern often became the pillars of these curricula and other dance forms ...
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By Dr. Doug Risner, Professor of Dance, Wayne State University; Ruth Arena, Instructor of Dance, LeMoyne College; Meghan McLyman, Professor of Dance, Salem State University ~~ Sitting on the receiving end of a cancer diagnosis is a place no one wants to be. However, the stark reality is that 40% of adults will hear these shocking words, “You have cancer.” Advances in modern medicine and cancer research have certainly increased survival rates, but the diagnosis and treatments remain challenging...
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By Ashlea Sovetts, choreographer, teacher, administrator, advocate ~~ Throughout this summer I had the opportunity to partake in the Rensing Center’s two-week residency program alongside my collaborator Alexandria Nunweiler in Borseda, Italy. In 2020, we applied to the residency in hopes to develop and refine our creative process used for our premiere work 10 Recalling-20, where we interviewed ten individuals ranging in age from 4-85 about their life experiences and how they coped during an unp...
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By Shannon Dooling-Cain, NDEO Director of Special Projects ~~ As we wrap up another school year, we find ourselves reflecting on the tenacity and dedication of our members and their students. This year posed many unique challenges for the dance education community, even as the world slowly began to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic. In celebration of another year of persistence and innovation, we asked our members to share some of their accomplishments from the past year. Here is just a sample ...
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By Shannon Dooling-Cain, NDEO Director of Special Projects ~~ This summer, we find ourselves reflecting on the tenacity and dedication of our members and their students. This year posed many unique challenges for the dance education community, even as the world slowly began to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic. In celebration of another year of persistence and innovation, we asked our members to share some of their accomplishments from the past year. Here is just a sample of the responses we re...
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By Shannon Dooling-Cain, NDEO Director of Special Projects ~~ This summer, we find ourselves reflecting on the tenacity and dedication of our members and their students. This year posed many unique challenges for the dance education community, even as the world slowly began to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic. In celebration of another year of persistence and innovation, we asked our members to share some of their accomplishments from the past year. Here is just a sample of the responses we re...
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By Shannon Dooling-Cain & Shelby Bensinger, NDEO Staff ~ In this blog series, we are celebrating our member’s diverse, creative, and inspiring visions for the future of dance education. We recognize that our members come from a wide range of backgrounds, dance experiences, and work environments that influence their perspectives on the dance field today and their aspirations for the future...
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By Shannon Dooling-Cain, NDEO Special Projects Coordinator ~~ At NDEO, we are keenly aware of the need for a strong and clear vision for the future of dance education. Such a vision helps to direct our current and future efforts in the field, ensuring that the work we do now will have a positive and lasting impact over time. Our organizational vision statement reflects our desire to foster a future that is inclusive and equitable, with an emphasis on accessible, high quality dance education...
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By Anabella Lenzu, choreographer, teacher, professor, and writer ~~ For me, self-discipline is the key to working on the flexibility and strength of one’s mind, body, and spirit. Without self-discipline, the life of an artist is impossible. Self-discipline is a respect for what you love. It is your ability to continue choosing to work on your art despite being tired one day, sick another, or any other number of challenges that may arise.No one is going to scream at you and tell you what to do ...
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By Priscilla Hopkins-Smith, Director of Marketing and Communications for Arts Ed NJ ~~ We realized that this was the ultimate advocacy moment. There was no better time to share the need for arts education and the power of creativity. Since the onset of the pandemic and throughout the past two years, the landscape of arts education has changed dramatically. At schools throughout the state of New Jersey, students were forced to communicate and create from home, or through major restrictions durin...
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By Michael Montoya, Independent Dance Consultant ~~ In this guest blog post, Michael Montoya offers a brief discussion of the often-rigid gender and sexual identity expectations of the world of dance and the negative affects they have on LGBTQIA+ dancers.
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By Jennifer O’Neill, Program Director/Faculty at Ace Dance Academy, Master Teaching Artist at Center for Community Arts ~~ Perfection. I used to believe that my need for perfection, in all aspects of life but namely in dance, was a badge I should and could wear with pride. I likened being a perfectionist with validity, ....
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By Nikki Allred Boyd, Dance Teacher and Musical Theatre Director, Pine Crest School ~~ But what about the academic side of things? What can dance do for the mind and how does that translate academically.....
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