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One important goal of our organization is to build, promote, and share knowledge that impacts teaching and learning in and through dance. We aim to achieve this goal by identifying research priorities, and expanding the scope and depth of opportunities for research in dance.
Our research work is supported on the NDEO Advisory Council by the Research Adviser, who provides leadership for NDEO on matters related to research on a national level. The Research Advisor works alongside the Research Committee, a group of seven NDEO members invested in dance research from diverse approaches, sectors, areas of specialties, and geographic locations in the US and abroad, selected from an application process.
Major research initiatives undertaken by the organization itself throughout our history include research reports and surveys. Much of our focus, however, is on disseminating research and promoting access and collaboration within our community across sectors. Estrada explains the importance of this work, even beyond the field: “Dance research is transformative in that it allows researchers the opportunity to expand knowledge across the field and beyond the self. Dance research broadens points of view, understandings, and empathy, and reveals how interconnected apparent dissimilar dance forms are.”
We disseminate research through our scholarly journals, Dance Education in Practice and the Journal of Dance Education, our blog, Behind the Curtain Guest Blog Series, and our database, The Dance Education Literature and Research descriptive index (DELRdi).
The DELRdi serves as a repository and way to share dance education research. It contains descriptions of thousands of literary works from over two hundred different publications. The DELRdi was established in 2004 as the culminating product of a three-year research project supported by the United States Department of Education. It recently underwent enhancements spearheaded by Bonbright and Anne Dunkin, who serves on the NDEO Advisory Council as the DELRdi Advisor.
To help elevate the status of research within dance education, NDEO offers two major annual awards. The Outstanding Dance Education Researcher National Award recognizes an individual who has made a unique contribution to the field of dance education through creative and/or scholarly research. The Doug Risner Prize for Emerging Dance Researchers recognizes unpublished, emerging scholars who conduct outstanding empirically-based dance inquiry.
In an effort to develop the next generation of dance education researchers, and support those who want to further their research skills, NDEO offers OPDI 105: An Introduction to Dance Education Research through our Online Professional Development Institute. This course provides a survey of current research paradigms in dance education inquiry with particular emphasis on research process, design, methodology, and pedagogical implications for dance teaching and curriculum.
Moreover, NDEO provides resources and tools that can help researchers stay abreast of current trends, delve into dance education research history, conduct a review of literature, and find inspiration for their work. Joan Finkelstein, a doctoral candidate at Teachers College at Columbia University, cites a number of NDEO programs and initiatives that have impacted her work as a researcher:
A number of articles published in the NDEO journals have been cited in my writing. Forum discussions and conference presentations–panels, papers, and workshops–are stimulating and have led me to new research inquiry. The DELRdi houses materials related to my topic, and “NDEO Reports” on the state of the field have illuminated the research gaps. The Justice, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (JDEI) work has stimulated questions that have informed my research.
Photo Credits from Top to Bottom: Jenni Girtman From the NDEO 2022 National Conference; Courtest of Rachel Swenson