Please Wait a Moment

2024 NHSDA Award

Congratulations to our 2024 NHSDA Award Recipients!

Junior and Senior high school students who have been inducted into the National Honor Society for Dance Arts are eligible to apply for this award, one of the highest dance honors program in the US. Candidates for the award must excel in all three categories:

  • Artistic Merit: The candidate demonstrates technical and artistic excellence in dance as evidenced by performing original choreography and submitting an essay describing the intent, inspiration and challenges of their choreography.
  • Leadership: The candidate demonstrates outstanding leadership in and outside the field of dance at the school, community, state, and/or national level as evidenced by a strong resume, recommendation letter and impact of dance essay
  • Academic Achievement: The candidate demonstrates academic excellence with a high cumulative grade point average and superior writing skills found in both submitted essays.

To see read about their choreography and see their solos, scroll down.


Marissa lazovick - Modern / Contemporary

Somerset County Vocational and Technical High School (NJ)


Layla White -Modern/contemporary

Dekalb School of the Arts (GA)

liam Redford - Modern/contemporary

Burlington County Institute of Technology (NJ)

Chloe Cerreto -Modern/contemporary

High Tech High School (NJ)


Arianna Green - jazz & modern/contemporary

The Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts (PA)

Jackson Beck - tap

Patricia Ann Dance Studio (FL)

Eliana Arriaga - Modern/contemporary

Louis D. Brandeis High School (TX)

Hannah li -Modern/contemporary

Cranbrook Kingswood Upper School (MI)

Layla fowler -Modern/contemporary

Governor's School for the Arts (VA)

Sophie Unsell - Ballet & Modern/contemporary

Colorado Ballet Society (CO)

Jaya dave -Modern/contemporary

Washington Rock Dance (NJ)

Lana fellows - Lyra

Saint Cloud High School (FL)

Isabella gorecki -Modern/contemporary

Fort Worth Academy of Find Arts (TX)

riley burnett -Modern/contemporary

Boulder Creek High School (AZ)

Kushi hebbar - Bharatanatyam - Indian Classical Dance Form

Kalagangothri Foundation (NJ)

Mckenna dunn - Open

Dee Buchanan Studio of Dance (MD)

Choreography of Winner and Finalists
To view the all choreography of the honorable mentions, finalists, and winners, please click here.

Winner - Marissa Lazovick - Somerset County Vocational and Technical High School (NJ)

Choreography Essay - I was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome (TS) at twelve. I struggled before that, not knowing what was wrong with me. Receiving the diagnosis was both frightening and freeing. I finally understood what was going on and could focus on working through it. It’s been challenging but it has taught me so much: to be myself, to be brave, to use my voice, and most importantly: the things that describe you don’t define you. This piece is called (TIC)kled. It shows my journey, being overwhelmed by something I didn’t understand and couldn’t control, how it used to embarrass me. Through the dance I come to understand what is going on and rather than fight it, I learn to embrace it and live being proud of everything that makes me me. I will never be ashamed of my diagnosis and it will never define me. I choreographed this piece to express how my tics have felt to me at different points in my life. It was a challenge first to create the soundtrack I needed. Then I had to communicate the pain, the confusion and struggle, and finally the acceptance. As I move on to Boston Conservatory at Berklee, I will bring this piece with me. It is a shorter version than what I hope it will eventually become. Because I feel so close to this piece, it will be evolving forever because TS will be a part of me forever. This is my story.

Finalist - Layla White - Dekalb School of the Arts (GA)

Choreography Essay - I am hopeful because my life is enlightened from past life lessons and empowered by what my future holds. The song entitled “Ne Me Quitte Pas", in French means “Don’t Leave Me”. It was originally written by Jacques Brel with an adaptation entitled “If You Go Away” written by Frank Sinatra and is sung by R&B Grammy Award Winner Ledisi. This song inspired me to choreograph a Contemporary Dance that reflects on my past high school years, the memories, trials, and triumphs. It’s scary to leave my comfort zone and this life as a teenage student. Yet, I realize my future in college and beyond will reveal how those past experiences, relationships, and lessons will permanently remain imbedded within me and never “Go Away” as the song describes towards the end of my artistic dance. My dance is in its purest form and tells the story of my journey and how hopeful I am for my future success. It is also a story that reflects the lives of what many teenagers experiencing change, loss, breakdown, and breakthroughs throughout their own lives. It is my hope that it touches the lives of many and inspires people to continue to move onward and upward in life despite challenges or obstacles that we all endure.

Finalist - Liam Redford - Burlington County Institute of Technology (NJ)

Choreography Essay - I wanted to pose the question, “when our childhood imagination fades, where does our wonder disappear to?” Humans grow up so fast that we lose the wonder that makes children special. Why do we stop asking why, playing pretend, and believing? Studies have shown roughly 50% of adults have forgotten how to skip, why? After this performance, I loved learning people’s interpretations or imagination in the moments of silence, like their mother, someone they lost, and my original thought, an imaginary friend. I feel my childhood faded faster than most, because of the development of my sexuality, as an LGBTQ+ person. On a deeper level, this piece was my own reflection of developing my own identity as a queer youth, facing challenges of isolation, rejection, and confusion within our own community. Through this process, I learned to let go of the controlling factors in my habits, and let the choreography flow much more organically. I didn’t want to strive for perfection, rather the storytelling and living in these 3 minutes of wonder that we all try to unlearn. I am proud of trying to change the habits I have as a dancer, like dancing “too big”, by focusing on the intimate, small moments. Overall, I am very grateful for the growth I have learned from this process, and I hope that in 20 years, I can see the world from the lens I created this work in and hold on to this innocent wonder to share it with others.

Finalist - Chloe Cerreto - High Tech High School (NJ)

Choreography Essay - “The choreography of 'Mes Souvenirs' is aimed to encapsulate the essence of memories. Translating to 'my memories' in French, this phrase repeated throughout the piece over the passionate intensity of the music guided my exploration of the intricacies held within human recollections. Central to human connection is touch—the conduit through which we experience others' minds, hearts, and emotions. Inspired by this, I crafted movements that emphasized the significance of hands. They became the focal point, performing intricate shapes and rhythms that mirrored life's overwhelming moments juxtaposed to moments of tender stillness where the hands merely graze the heart, reflecting serenity. Being a solo, the song’s sheer intensity posed a challenge as I felt responsible to match such power. There were also times where such expectations of myself left me stagnant in how to continue developing the piece's choreography. However, I found succes in showcasing technique and athleticism to embody the song’s strength. In addition, overcoming choreographic blocks required channeling the intention of the piece to guide the movements. Serving as an explorative piece into previoust memories, I invite the audience to seek resonance within the depicted emotional highs and lows.