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National Awards

2024 Phase 2 Applications Open

2024 National Award nominations closed on April 30th, 2024.  All who have been nominated have been notified to complete the second, more in depth, awards application.  If you have any questions please contact Shelby Bensinger at

Awards Guidelines & Required Materials

Award Evaluation Criteria


Detailed Award Descriptions

Read on to learn more about each of NDEO's National Award Categories in 2024.

Lifetime Achievement

Collage of headshots of all the 2023 NDEO national award recipientsThe most prestigious award conferred, the Lifetime Achievement Award is given for exemplary leadership, scholarship and/or artistry, and philanthropy or service to dance education. The honoree will have contributed to the field of dance education at the national and / or international levels for a period of at least fifteen (15) years.

Lifetime Achievement - Living Artist / Educator

Lifetime Achievement - Posthumous

Outstanding Leadership

There are four categories of Leadership Awards in the following areas: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Higher Education, PK-12, and Independent Sector. These awards are given to an individual who has demonstrated excellence in creating ideas for programs, curriculums, and/or projects that have had a significant impact on their specific field of dance education and who has demonstrated leadership on a national level. Additionally, the recipient of this award should inspire and cultivate vision and leadership in others.

Outstanding Leadership Award in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Outstanding Leadership Award in Higher Education

Outstanding Leadership Award in PK-12

Outstanding Leadership Award in the Independent Sector

Outstanding Dance Educator

This award acknowledges a stellar dance educator. The award is granted on a yearly rotating basis to a dance educator from a different teaching environment each year. Additionally, the recipient of this award should inspire and motivate their students and have a significant impact in their school community. 

Outstanding Dance Educator in Higher Education - Established (6+ years of experience)

Outstanding Dance Educator in Higher Education - Emerging (less than 6 years of experience)

Outstanding Dance Education Researcher

This award recognizes an individual who has made a unique contribution to the field of dance education through creative and/or scholarly research. The recipient of this award should cultivate the importance of scholarly and creative research throughout the field of dance education.

Outstanding Dance Education Researcher

NEW! Outstanding Dance Education Organization Award

This is a new category in 2024! This award recognizes an exceptional dance organization that is either non-profit or private sector that has been established for at least five years. This organization has made a unique and impactful contribution to the community, at a local, national and/or international level through the field of dance education through creative and/or scholarly efforts. This organization has made a social impact and has a commitment and awareness to inclusion, equity and diversity.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Nominees DO NOT need to be members of NDEO at time of application for an award.
  • The nominator does not need to be a member of NDEO.
  • A person may nominate themselves (self-nominate), except for Lifetime Achievement.
  • Current NDEO Board of Director Members are not eligible for a National Award.
  • No person that has received a National Award in the past five years (2019-2023) is eligible for a National Award in 2024

Application Guidelines for All Awards

  • The nominee’s name should be submitted as they wish it to appear on all NDEO printed materials, including the actual award.
  • To apply for the award, nominator/nominee should complete the quick nomination form by April 30th, 2024. Nominees will then be emailed a longer application form in May 2024.
  • Nominators (individual or organization) may nominate only one (1) candidate in each category.
  • Nominators and award recipients should expect to attend the Virtual Awards Ceremony in September 2024. Exact date is TBD.
  • Awards will be given only when warranted at the sole discretion of the Awards Committee.
  • The committee, at its discretion, may hold interviews with appropriate persons from the candidate’s work environment.
  • Nominations will not be held over for submission the following year.
  • Only the required materials will be reviewed. Additional materials will not be forwarded to the evaluation committee.
  • NDEO is committed to recognizing dance educators that are representative of our membership, with that, NDEO considers presenter demographics when adjudicating award nominees to ensure accurate representation of the field.