Please Wait a Moment

2023 NHSDA Award

NHSDA 2023 Award Recipients have been Announced!

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.


Aviva Harris - Modern / Contemporary

New World School of the Arts (FL)


Amelie La rosa  Modern / Contemporary

Miami Arts Charter School (FL)

Colin Gross  Modern / Contemporary

Grand Prarie Fine Arts Academy (TX)

Jojo kinsella Modern / Contemporary

Denver School of the Arts (CO)


Alyssa Kim  HIp-Hop

Ridge High School (NJ)

Amari James  Modern / Contemporary

New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (LA)

Arielle Bash  Jazz

Denver School of the Arts (CO)

Aubrie Stoehr Modern / Contemporary

Temecula Valley High School (CA)

Chelsea Mugambe  Modern / Contemporary

High Tech High School (NJ)

Daniel Powell  Tap

Jeté Dance Centre (MN)

Diana Dandrea  Modern / Contemporary

Morris County School of Technology (NJ)

Katie Lam  Modern / Contemporary

San Marino Dance Academy (CA)

Phoebe Ho  Modern / Contemporary

San Marino Dance Academy (CA)

Choreography of Winner and Finalists

Winner - Aviva Harris - New World School of the Arts (FL)

Choreography Essay - “A View From Below” was created based on the feeling when one is underwater and looking up through the caustics in the water to see a sunny sky. As a child, I would often let myself sink to the pool floor. I would just take a deep breath, and slowly release air as I sank. Something about the way that the sun flittered through the water, the feelings of unbothered calmness, and the ability to soak in every second inspired me. In the serenity of silence, I found beauty and perfection. There was no purpose in me doing this, but I felt pure innocence and bliss in letting the weightlessness of the water overtake my whole body. I created this piece to remind myself and others to breathe and take a moment to watch from below.

Finding different textures and dynamics of moving was the most challenging for me. When I think of water, I originally only had these “wavey” and fluid movement qualities in my head. As I continued to explore my choreography, I found myself able to research the resistance of moving through water and the weightless floating that happens because of the lack of gravity in water. This led me to think about the contrast between my environments, the difference in the feeling of being above and below the water, and how those real-life occurrences affect my choreographic choices.

Leadership Highlights - Volunteers with Friendship Circle, Event motivator Pure Energy Entertainment Company, Choreographer for ceremonial events, Vice President of Key Club, Founder and Prsident of Jewish Student Union at New World School of the Arts, Future Educators of America Treasurer, and active NHSDA Member 


Finalist - Amelie La Rosa - Miami Arts Charter School (FL)

Choreography Essay - The intent of my original choreography is to enjoy the beauty of life. So often people do their daily tasks but don’t stop to appreciate what is right in front of them: nature. I wanted to make a dance that is appreciative to nature. The title of my solo choreography is “Tree Song.” It was challenging at first to create because choreography doesn’t come as easily to me. To solve this roadblock I discovered new movements by improvising to the music that inspired me to create this piece. Another factor that helped me was to go outside and gather inspiration from nature, looking at my surroundings and trying to absorb their energy. Once I applied these two tools, everything fell into place. This dance is really about loving the life you have and being grateful for it.

Leadership Highlights - President of the National Honors Society, Active NHSDA member, President of National Honor Society for Dance Arts at Miami Arts Charter School, Served as secretary last year for the National Honor Society for Dance Arts which included organizing performance events, fundraising, and additional community enrichment opportunites

Finalist - Colin Gross - Grand Prairie Fine Arts Academy (TX)

Choreography Essay - This piece is entitled “Gravity.” When I choreograph I often find myself trying something new and then instantly telling myself it's too odd or it looks ridiculous and I end up choreographing more for the audience than for myself. And while in some cases, that’s okay, I decided to take advantage of the freedom given for this piece and really explore my true craft. The title is “Gravity” because just like me holding myself back, so much now in our day to day lives we get shut down and discouraged by surrounding factors. So much is undiscovered, just because people say it can’t be discovered. I wanted to push those boundaries with this piece and really represent the effect of outside pressure and influence, and how breaking free from that can really change the look of a finished work. In all, this piece helped me express frustrations with being put in a box by others and myself, and it was refreshing to finally let go and give into the true artistry I am capable of.

Leadership Highlights - Dance teacher at Dream Dance Conservatory, Officer in the NHSDA chapter at Grand Prarie Fine Arts Academy, Captain and Student Choreographer for the all-campus musical

Finalist - Jojo Kinsella - Denver School of the Arts (CO)

Choreography Essay - “I was adopted” developed from my sophomore dance final for school. We had been tasked to create a dance-for-camera piece that captures why we dance. It was allowed to be as deep or goofy as we wanted. I realized I had no idea why I danced. It had always been something I had just done. So I wrote my own poem. It was the first time I had ever combined my love of writing and movement for a project. While my peers found cool new shots to insert, I kept my own video simple. I wanted to make my audience feel the desperation/honesty in my confession. I wanted people to take whatever they needed from those 3 minutes of honesty. I was just coming to terms with my adoption and what love meant to me, I felt a need to share. It was my healing. The hardest part had been putting movement to words whilst playing with the shadow of the light. I learned that utilizing the whole space would be my strength in this situation. My movement had to be big, sweeping, create a shape and give those moments of true silence to breathe. I would get so frustrated when the timing wouldn’t fit, thinking maybe I should quit. Nonetheless, I persevered making sure my vision was seen through. The project became a beautiful result of my tears and time. No matter how old I’ve gotten, it’s the one video that captures the essence of my unique artistry.

Leadership Highlights - Teacher: Denver Public Schools, Discovery Link After School Program, Denver Public Schools Young African American Latinx Leaders, DPS Challenge 5280 Leadership Committee Denver School of The Arts, Camp Rising Sun Nominee, Active NHSDA member, TA for the 6th grade at Denver School of the Arts