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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.

Archive by category: Personal NarrativeReturn
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 Becca Santone, Teacher at Little Red School House ~~ As we settle in and start making dance class agreements- things we’ll do to keep ourselves safe over the next two weeks- one child’s fears really stuck with me. A first-grade boy was adamant that he did not want to dance. He’d taken dance outside of school, had a bad experience, and was clearly terrified to be in the class...
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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 Anabella Lenzu, Dancer, Choreographer, Writer and Teacher ~~ The period of my greatest creative and technical growth as a dancer came over the course of four years (1995-1999) in my home city of Bahia Blanca, Argentina, where I directed my own school, “L’Atelier” Centro Creativo de Danza. Every morning I would teach...
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Gina Spears, Dance Educator, Portage Park Elementary. Calling my first years of teaching in Chicago Public Schools a baptism by fire is probably an understatement. I had trouble connecting with the middle school students and found them to be disrespectful. My car was broken into three times. One afternoon, an angry parent was waiting by my car with a baseball bat because I sent his son to the office for spitting at me. The littlest dancers loved my class, though, and I had two after school clubs...
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By Megan Taylor Morrison, Editor of Dance Adventures: True Stories About Dancing Abroad~~In 2018, I began the journey of helping artists from around the world document their stories about the epic experiences they’d had dancing abroad. Now, two and a half years later, these educational, first-person narratives are part of my forthcoming anthology...
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By Maggie McCaig, Student at the University of South Carolina and NDEO Intern Summer 2019 ~~ Junior year of college: a time when most emerging adults are starting to feel the pressure of having an internship or a summer job that will benefit their future careers. That was exactly what was going through my mind during my junior year at the University of South Carolina. I am a lifelong dancer, and am currently studying dance education under Dr. Stephanie Milling, who helped me discover NDEO’s int...
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By Maggie McCaig, NDEO Intern 2019 ~~ As the summer intern for the National Dance Education Organization, I was thrilled to be able to travel to New York City to work and attend the Emerging Pathways within Somatic Movement and Dance Education special topics conference, hosted by NDEO and the International Somatic Movement Education and Therapy Association (ISMETA). I went into the experience with many expectations, and a lot of uncertainty. As my of my internship, I had the opportunity to creat...
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By Susan Pope, MA ~~ I was asked by my church to dance for Father's Day in 2016. In preparation for this dance, I listened to different songs and prayed that God would give me just the right message. I settled on the song “There is a King in You” by Donald Lawrence. As I started working on choreography, I realized how important this message was, not just to the men who would be in the congregation, but to my dad as well. Daddy used to get depressed because...
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By Susan McGreevy-Nichols, Executive Director/CEO ~~ In 2016, NDEO established the Priorities for Dance Education as a way to focus our ability to advance the field of dance education over the next 10 years. “Cultivating Leadership” is one of three priorities that were determined as a result of an in-depth strategic planning process. Because of NDEO’s focus on leadership and the role I play in the organization, I have been asked by many people, “What made you the leader you are today?” I th...
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By Laura Helm, Dance Department Head, Baltimore School for the Arts ~~ My one dimensional teenage brain was determined to become a professional dancer in a big world-renowned company, because I was absolutely certain that was not only the ultimate pinnacle of success, but the only measure thereof in the dance world. Baltimore had given me a great foundation, but offered nowhere to stay, no professional company of the caliber I envisioned in which to grow and become something greater. I first fou...
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By Rachel Berman ~~ Legendary modern dancemaker Paul Taylor, one of the seminal artists of the last two centuries, passed away on August 29th, exactly one month after his 88th birthday. What can I add to the list of accolades already bestowed upon my old boss? He was an icon of the dance world, a giant, a ground-breaking pioneer of American modern dance, a naughty boy, a mischievous spy, a brooding introvert, an internationally-decorated choreographer, a genius. He was once deemed the “greatest...
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By Lisa Barker ~~ I have been hurled forward to thinking differently about dancing in my environment thanks to the work of Efva Lilja. Lilja is a choreographer, artist, researcher and author. She writes beautifully about her experiences. At one point in time, she was awarded the opportunity from the Swedish Royal Academy of Science to be part of an expedition to the North Pole. She went to explore movement...
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By Maria Daniel, Founder and Artistic Director of iDance Ministry and mentor for the Youth Dance Ambassadors ~~ t was in this lowest moments that my Dance of Healing story began. On Christmas Eve, I would take a leap of faith and attempt a Liturgical dance performance. Completing the performance would be a miracle, as I could not even perform a walk-through of my dance without severe pain. Since my body was failing me, I practiced the dance...
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