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Ruth Lovell Murray Book Award

The National Dance Education Organization is pleased to invite nominations for the NDEO Ruth Lovell Murray Book Award, honoring outstanding book-length publications in dance education and recognizing 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.

2023 Ruth Lovell Murray Book Award Winners!

Masculinity, Intersectionality and Identity: Why Boys (Don't) Dance

Doug Risner, Beccy Watson

This volume, international and innovative in scope, examines and analyzes the dynamic tensions between masculinity and dance. Introducing a lens of intersectionality, the book’s content examines why, despite burgeoning popular and contemporary representations of a normalization of dancing masculinities, some boys don’t dance and why many of those who do, struggle to stay involved. Prominent themes of identity, masculinity, and intersectionality weave throughout the book’s conceptual framework including the following sections: Education, Schooling masculinity in dance education; Culture, Gendering dance participation, pedagogy and performance; and Identity, Moving identities in dancing bodies. Incorporating empirical studies, qualitative inquiry, and reflexive accounts, Lead editor and author, Doug Risner and co-editor, Beccy Watson have assembled an incomparable volume of original chapters from established scholars and emerging voices to inform the future direction of interdisciplinary dance scholarship and dance education research. The book’s scope spans several related disciplines including gender studies, queer studies, cultural studies, social foundations of education, performance studies, and sociology. The volume will appeal to dancers, educators, researchers, scholars, students, parents, and caregivers of boys who dance. Accessible at multiple levels, the content is relevant for undergraduate students across dance, dance education, and movement science, and graduate students forging new analyses of dance, pedagogy, gender theory, and teaching praxis.

Milestones in Dance in the USA

Elizabeth McPherson

Embracing dramatic similarities, glaring disjunctions, and striking innovations, this book explores the history and context of dance on the land we know today as the United States of America. Designed for weekly use in dance history courses, it traces dance in the USA as it broke traditional forms, crossed genres, provoked social and political change, and drove cultural exchange and collision. The authors put a particular focus on those whose voices have been silenced, unacknowledged, and/or uncredited– exploring racial prejudice and injustice, intersectional feminism, protest movements, and economic conditions, as well as demonstrating how socio-political issues and movements affect and are affected by dance. In looking at concert dance, vernacular dance, ritual dance, and the convergence of these forms, the chapters acknowledge the richness of dance in today's USA and the strong foundations on which it stands.

Honorable Mention: 

Eco Soma: Pain and Joy in Speculative Performance Encounters

Petra Kuppers

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Modeling a disability culture perspective on performance practice toward socially just futures

In Eco Soma, Petra Kuppers asks readers to be alert to their own embodied responses to art practice and to pay attention to themselves as active participants in a shared sociocultural world. Reading contemporary performance encounters and artful engagements, this book models a disability culture sensitivity to living in a shared world, oriented toward more socially just futures.

"Petra Kuppers breathes us through connections between embodiment and the earth, weaving queer studies and disability studies into self-guided explorations. Her imagistic text evokes dancing—the pull of gravity and the shifting perspectives of bodies in flow. She moves, she writes, we respond to her autobiographical narratives of environmental spaces and social places."—Anita Gonzalez, cofounder, Racial Justice Institute, Georgetown University

"There is absolutely nothing like Eco Soma in any field. Petra Kuppers provides a much-needed model for what interdisciplinary arts-based research can be, and her work is always put into the context of the lived reality of minoritized communities. She shows us how to write about bodies as she does—unflinchingly, while maintaining respect and dignity."

— Carrie Sandahl, director, Program on Disability Art, Culture, and Humanities, University of Illinois at Chicago

Eco soma methods mix and merge realities on the edges of lived experience and site-specific performance. Kuppers invites us to become moths, sprout gills, listen to our heart’s drum, and take starships into crip time. And fantasy is central to these engagements: feeling/sensing monsters, catastrophes, golden lines, heartbeats, injured sharks, dotted salamanders, kissing mammoths, and more. Kuppers illuminates ecopoetic disability culture perspectives, contending that disabled people and their co-conspirators make art to live in a changing world, in contact with feminist, queer, trans, racialized, and Indigenous art projects. By offering new ways to think, frame, and feel “environments,” Kuppers focuses on art-based methods of envisioning change and argues that disability can offer imaginative ways toward living well and with agency in change, unrest, and challenge.

Traditional somatics teach us how to fine-tune our introspective senses and to open up the world of our own bodies, while eco soma methods extend that attention toward the creative possibilities of the reach between self, others, and the land. Eco Soma proposes an art/life method of sensory tuning to the inside and the outside simultaneously, a method that allows for a wider opening toward ethical cohabitation with human and more-than-human others.

Past Winners


In the spirit of Murray’s achievements and legacy, eligible books for nomination should comprise research-informed texts that encompass a range of theoretical and practical application of knowledge in dance education, teaching, pedagogy, curriculum, and artistic praxis. Examples of eligible dance education texts comprise:

  • Inquiry-based monographs (sole author or multiple authors),
  • Innovative teaching texts (author/co-authors, editor/co-editors or contributing authors)
  • Original edited volumes and collections, and multiple-contributor volumes that address numerous and complex facets of dance education. (editor or co-editors)

Books consisting of previously published essays, reviews, or articles are ineligible.


Authors, editors, and contributing authors may self-nominate or may be nominated from NDEO members in the field. In order to be nominated, books must have been published in the current or previous year. Nominated books that do not receive the Ruth Lovell Murray Book Award may be re-nominated once within the designated time schedule. Author nominees are responsible for securing copies of their book for reviewers (e-books are accepted) and send them directly to review committee members. Most publishers provide gratis copies when a book is under consideration for a national or international award. Self-nominations from author(s), editor(s), and publisher are welcome, as well as nominations by NDEO members in good standing.

You will be asked to answer the following question: Does the book address diversity, equity, inclusion, and/or access issues?

Please use this guide to inform your response and learn more about NDEO's working definitions of JDEI terms.


Books will be evaluated based on originality, critical rigor, innovation and potential contribution to the field of dance education including texts that engage, challenge, and motivate dance educators across sectors and populations. Click here to see the evaluation process.

There will be three rounds of evaluation:

Round 1: 2/10/2023-3/1/2023

After initial submission, the review committee will determine if the nominations are eligible to move forward based on this review criteria

Round 2: 3/20/2023-3/31/2023

During this round, reviewers may ask for additional information from you including but not limited to a formal recommendation letter.

Round 3: 4/1/2023-6/1/2023

The review committee will thoroughly read each nominated book using this rubric to determine eligibility. 

Submission Information

Please briefly describe why you are nominating the book. Include relevant information to support the nomination, including your relationship to the candidate. In the subject line, enter “Ruth Lovell Murray Book Award Nomination.”

Nominated authors will be responsible for providing a copy of the book (e-books preferred) for each review committee member. Nominated authors are strongly encouraged to contact their publisher for assistance in securing and providing book access for all reviewers. NOTE:  Do not send books to the NDEO national office.