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NDEO recognizes the achievements of outstanding members through the annual awards program. The major awards for the organization are: Lifetime Achievement, Outstanding Leadership, Outstanding Dance Educator, Outstanding Dance Education Researcher, Executive Director's Award for Service to NDEO, and President's Commendation for Excellence for Service in the Field.
The NDEO Ruth Lovell Murray Book Award honors outstanding book-length publications in dance education and recognizes authors who conduct exemplary inquiry that advances the field. In recognition of Ruth Lovell Murray (1900-1991), a pioneer in the field of dance education, the annual award honors books published in the English language during the last two calendar years. The Ruth Lovell Murray Book Award, NDEO’s inaugural book recognition honor, contributes significantly to the visibility of dance education professionals and their work, as well as the vitality of outstanding scholarship and publication excellence in dance education.
The Doug Risner Prize for Emerging Dance Researchers recognizes excellence in dance research for unpublished scholars. The prize honors Dr. Doug Risner, Editor Emeritus of Journal of Dance Education and his passionate commitment to dance education research. Dr. Risner has published over 200 papers, essays, journal articles, book chapters, and eight books; received the NDEO Outstanding Dance Education Researcher Award in 2014; was appointed Distinguished Faculty Fellow at Wayne State University in 2017; was elected to the Academy of Teachers at Wayne State University in 2021; and received Dance Teacher magazine’s Teacher of the Year Award (postsecondary) in 2021.