Adventure in Los Angeles

The Ed.M. community participated in the National Dance Education Organization‘s Many Cultures, Strength Through Diversity conference in Los Angeles this past week, October 24 – 28, 2012.  For some, this meant unexpected flight cancellations and an extended stay in LA due to Hurricane Sandy!




Prof. Barbara Bashaw, NDEO New Standards Task Force
In addition to the excitement of meeting Nigel Lythgoe from SYTYCD I was deeply moved while participating in a rare Mitchio Ito repertory class taught by artists visiting from Tokyo. During the remainder of the conference I worked in the “sweat room” with eight colleagues from around the nation selected to write the new national learning standards for dance.

Prof. Frederick Curry, NDEO Board of Directors
Between attending board meetings, I co-presented a workshop entitled Exploring Cultural Dance Traditions Using LOD and LMA with my colleague Tina Curran from the University of Texas at Austin. The extended stay in LA due to the hurricane was a wonderful opportunity for me to get to know our four extraordinary Ed.M. students who were stranded after the conference. We all spent quality time with Prof. Karen Bradley and two of her students from the University of Maryland who were also weathering the storm.

Cassandra Roberts, Ed.M. Candidate
This was my second year at NDEO and just like last year, it was difficult to choose between the various workshops, panels, and paper presentations. I attended and enjoyed workshops on a variety of topics including 21st Century Skills, teaching tap and jazz through a historical perspective, addressing cultural diversity in the classroom, assessment, and many others. It was great to meet new dance educators from all different sectors and parts of the country as well as reconnect with familiar faces from last year. All of the information is still settling and I have many new ideas and lots of information to share with my high school students. I feel inspired and am excited to get back to my students, and I am already looking forward to next year’s conference in Miami!

Melissa Sande, Ed.M. Candidate
Attending the conference was an invaluable part of coming into my own as a dance educator in the field. Being able to walk among a community that has carved dance into the fabric of the education system in New York, New Jersey, California, and all over the country was a humbling experience. For me it was great to interact with fellow dance professionals and educators who were happy to offer advice on issues I have faced teaching in urban schools.

Felice Santorelli, Ed.M. Candidate
This year’s NDEO conference was jam-packed with events and was a wonderful experience for my first conference!  I had the opportunity to attend panel discussions outlining current changes in dance education such as core content values and arts assessment.  Dance education is an exciting, dynamic field right now, and there are so many committed artists and educators working towards improving dance programs in schools and colleges nationwide. One seminar given by Dr. Donna Dragon on somatic practices was especially enlightening.  I gained new insight into many different methods that may be utilized with students of all ages and skill level.  Dr. Dragon was even generous enough to send me additional material specific to the secondary school population I currently teach! Overall I encountered an extraordinarily warm and generous population of established dance educators, scholars and authors that were more than happy to share their knowledge and resources. It was a wonderful opportunity to meet, network and feel a part of this amazing community.

Elizabeth Rose Zwierzynski, Ed.M. Candidate
This was the first time that I attended the NDEO conference and I was completely inspired.  As a pre-service dance educator is was a fantastic opportunity to connect and exchange ideas with established artists, teachers, researchers and authors such as Larry Lavender, whose work has laid the foundation for my own research questions and literature review.  In the workshops  Emancipation of Improvisation and No Two Are Alike: rehearsal and/ as performance, Lavender lead episodes of choreography and improvisation with scripted scores that removed the conventions of “good dance” and the hegemony of the choreographer as the sole creator of the dance.


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