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Behind the Curtain

#NDEO2018: Staff Reflections
By Susan McGreevy-Nichols
Posted on 10/30/2018 2:11 PM

Another National Conference is in the books, and the NDEO staff wanted to take a moment to reflect on our experience in La Jolla, California at the 20th annual convening. The theme of “Connection, Knowledge, and Leadership: A New Era in Dance Education,” proved to be particularly inspiring, and we were thrilled to celebrate the many ways that NDEO and our members are having an impact on the field of dance education. We always value the opportunity to connect face-to-face with members and colleagues to learn more about the important and exciting work that you are doing. Here are just a few of the moments that stuck with us this year!   

Photo by Ryan Orion Beck

Conference for me is about reconnecting with folks that I only see once a year and meeting new members. I enjoyed welcoming our new Board Members, hearing updates members all over the country, and sharing information about the growth and development of NDEO this year at the Membership Town Hall. Focusing on NDEO’s Priorities for Dance Education: Connecting the Field, Building Knowledge, and Cultivating Leadership, was the perfect way to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the National Conference. - Susan McGreevy-Nichols, Executive Director

I love seeing our members in person. It’s always great to put a name with a face after communicating via emails all year long! The excitement and energy in the air, particularly on the first day, is palpable. I enjoy helping members, especially first-time conference attendees, check in at registration. Being a part of the NDEO sessions such as NHSDA and State Affiliates meetings allow me to connect with smaller groups of members to learn more about what interests and affects them. Most importantly, knowing that 800+ dance educators are gaining new knowledge, new ideas, and new inspirations that they will take back to their students is a great feeling.  - Melissa Greenblatt, Managing Director


I think the moment with the most impact for me was looking around at the Opening Dinner and physically seeing all of us in one room. About 850 dance educators, artists, contributors, and movers in the same time and space sequence. Watching our members connect with old friends, chat with new ones, and change the pace for dance education right in front of our eyes. From the heartwarming and inspiring speeches of the keynote speaker and award recipients, to the hopeful conversations overheard at some of our student tables -  I was moved. I was reminded of why I dance, teach dance, and do anything else I can for dance. All of the hours of preparation, planning, decision-making, contracts, and tasks to ensure our conference ran smoothly were well worth it. I am so excited for Conference 2019, and hope to see even more wonderful members at our dinner tables next year! - Ariana Spinelli, Administrative Assistant - Member Services

I loved that I was able to meet so many wonderful people, many of whom I’ve corresponded with but never met. There was this lovely dichotomy of order and chaos, fun and seriousness and it blended together so well. I can't wait for Conference in 2019! - Kari Schrade, Administrative Assistant - Program Services

As I was reviewing photos shared on Instagram using our conference hashtag: #NDEO2018, I looked at the hashtags that Instagram had suggested based on the platform's algorithm that finds similar topics it's users might be interested in and saw that their formula had recommended #authenticconnection as the hashtag most related to our conference posts. I felt my eyes immediately well with tears as I saw that a mathematical formula on a social media platform had somehow perfectly captured the essence of NDEO. That's it. That's the feeling that overwhelms NDEO Conference each year. It's the excitement of old friends reuniting and new friendships beginning. It's the anxious absorption of new insights and ideas that is almost palpable in the air. It's the warm atmosphere that comes from passionate dance educators bonding together to help lift and inspire each other as they work to change lives. The National Dance Education Organization is not just a space for traditional professional development and networking, it's a space for enthusiastic learning, beautiful sharing, and above all, authentic connection. - Tiana Chambers, NDEO Social Media Consultant

There were two particular moments during the Conference that caused me step back in joy and gratitude. The first was listening to Dr. Lynette Overby give her acceptance speech after receiving the NDEO Lifetime Achievement Award. Not only did I find her remarks inspiring in their own right, I also realized in that moment that I am who I am in large part because of the strong, amazing people in the field of dance education. Whether I have been impacted by them personally or only their work and legacy, I am grateful for their example and proud that my own career has been shaped by such an amazing group. The second moment was at the closing reception, when the music came on and we all danced underneath the stars. Watching our community - students, professionals, retirees; from all over the country and the world; of all different backgrounds - come together through movement was a great reminder of why we do what we do as dance educators! - Shannon Dooling-Cain, Special Projects

We are already hard at work preparing for the 2019 National Conference, The Creative Process: Choreography, Choice-Making, and Communication, to be held Thursday, October 24 - Saturday, October 26, 2019 with pre-conference Intensives on Wednesday, October 23, at the Hyatt Regency Miami, FL. Make plans to join us - we hope to see you there!
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