Typhani Harris | March 2014

Professional Organizations: life long learning at the core!

One obvious way to remain up to date in our field and foster the idea of life long learning is to be actively involved in professional organizations.  Our membership and participation in professional organizations advances our field, allows our voices to be heard,  keeps us on the cutting edge of the politics of education and promotes life long learning.  There are so many professional organizations that can feed our professional souls, so I wanted to provide a list of professional organizations that specifically advocate for professional dance educators.  When choosing membership in professional organizations, it is important to stay true to your own personal philosophies and choose professional organizations that embody your ideologies.  Yes, this takes time, time that none of us have, however in a field that is so marginalized and isolated, it is nice to network with other dance educators and converse with people who just get it!

Below I have provided a list of professional organizations along with their missions, visions, and/or goals as well as their websites.  It’s about time you do something for YOU, and these professional organizations might just give you that outlet!

NDEO National Dance Education Organization www.ndeo.org

The National Dance Education Organization envisions a nation that affords every citizen equal access and opportunity to quality dance arts education regardless of gender, age, race or culture, socio-economic status, ability or interest.

The National Dance Education Organization (NDEO) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement and promotion of high quality education in the art of dance. NDEO provides the dance artist, educator and administrator a network of resources and support, a base for advocacy, and access to programs that focus on the importance of dance in the human experience.  NDEO forges alliances with over 150 federal and state agencies and arts and education associations to support quality dance education at local, state, and national levels in the United States and with our friends in international communities.

NDEO Serves

  • Dance teachers and educators
  • Independent schools of dance
  • Professional preparation programs
  • Early childhood programs
  • K-12 education (public/private)
  • Institutions of higher education
  • Associations for dance, arts and education
  • Community resources and recreation centers
  • Businesses and corporations
  • State arts agencies and departments of education

Once you become a member of NDEO you are automatically a member of it’s state affiliate.  NDEO has affiliates in 13 states and is the founder of the National Honors Society for Dance Arts, which provides honor status to both secondary and collegiate programs.  NDEO offers local and national conferences annually.  In May they will be hosting a Special Topic conference in Albuquerque New Mexico, and in November they will hold their annual national conference in Chicago Illinois.

DRC Dance Resource Center  www.danceresourcecenter.org

The Dance Resource Center of Greater Los Angeles is a service organization that provides the dance community access to information, resources and services; and promotes the visibility and viability of Greater Los Angeles dance on local, state and national levels.

Dance USA www.danceusa.org

We believe that dance is essential to a healthy society, demonstrating the infinite possibilities for human expression and potential, and facilitating communication within and across cultures. Dance/USA sustains and advances professional dance by addressing the needs, concerns, and interests of artists, administrators, and organizations. By providing national leadership and services, Dance/USA enhances the infrastructure for dance creation and distribution, education, and dissemination of information.

Dance/USA will lead the professional dance industry by providing value to a strong, diverse membership base and encouraging the membership to be responsive to current economic, demographic and participation realities.
Dance/USA will be accessible to all professional dance groups through membership and will embrace strategic partnerships on a local, national and international level to increase visibility, relevance and impact.
Dance/USA will create value for members through strong core services of convening, advocacy and research that have a national focus and are frequently evaluated.
Dance/USA will offer tangible benefits to the membership based on timely needs.
Dance/USA will be known as the national voice for professional dance in America within and across the industry, the media, the federal government, and among international dance service organizations.

 AAHPERD American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance  www.aahperd.org

AAHPERD’s mission is to advance professional practice and promote research related to health and physical education, physical activity, dance, and sport.

Healthy People – Physically Educated and Physically Active!

The goal of AAHPERD Dance is to promote quality dance programs in the areas of health, physical education, recreation and dance by:

  • providing leadership for teachers of dance in the disciplines of health, physical education, recreation and dance so they may better understand, implement, and assess voluntary national Standards in Dance Education, the Opportunity-to-Learn Standards, and assessments in dance;
  • developing and disseminating information in dance pedagogy (teaching content, process, and methodology) and the creative process, movement training, performance practices and technology;
  • developing and disseminating resources in curriculum and program development, professional development, and teacher preparation
  • increasing financial and human resources to enhance strong programs, operating support and services to members
  • initiating and advocating practices that promote healthy lifestyles through dance curriculum, programs and workshops

 The Congress on Research in Dance has complied a list of all dance organizations which can be found at www.cordance.org.  Featured below are the ones I felt are most pertinent for dance educators specifically:

ADTA American Dance Therapy Association www.adta.org

ADTA promotes the use of dance and movement as powerful tools for mental and emotional health. ADTA maintains high standards for education, training, and professional practice for dance/movement therapists.


  • Define, promote and support the highest standards of education, credentialing, ethical practice and professional identity of dance/movement therapists;
  • Increase professional opportunities for the membership by advocating for the inclusion of dance/movement therapy in healthcare, legislative, educational and research systems;
  • Support internal communication among members, between the ADTA and the membership, and external communication nationally and internationally.
  • Create opportunities for skill development, networking, community and fund-raising by producing an annual conference.
  • Support the growth of the ADTA and the profession by recruiting new members and responding to current membership needs.

Dance/USA www.usadance.dancedea.com

Dance/USA sustains and advances professional dance by addressing the needs, concerns, and interests of artists, administrators and professional organizations. By providing services and national leadership, Dance/USA enhances the infrastructure for dance creation, education and dissemination.

ISTD Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing  www.istd.org

ISTD is the world’s leading dance examinations board. Founded in 1904, it is now a registered educational charity providing training and qualifications for dance teachers and covering the full spectrum of genres from Ballet to Ballroom.

The ISTD’s chief objective is: “to educate the public in the art of dancing in all its forms”.
To achieve this, we work in four main ways:

  • to promote knowledge of dance;
  • to maintain and improve teaching standards;
  • to qualify, by examination, teachers of dancing in the ISTD’s specialist techniques taught by our 7,500 members in schools of dancing throughout the world;
  • to provide, through our syllabi, techniques upon which to train dancers for the profession

IADMS International Association for Dance Medicine and Science   www.iadms.org

IADMS was formed to foster several related goals in the dance medicine and science field; the purposes and objectives of the organization are summarized in its Mission Statement:  IADMS enhances the health, well-being, training, and performance of dancers by cultivating educational, medical, and scientific excellence.

The organization has held an annual conference since its inception, drawing several hundred participants each year. Beginning in 1997, a separate “Day For Teachers” has been held before or after the annual conference. In 2005 a “Special Interests Group (SIG) Day” was held in association with the Annual Meeting for the first time and included separate programs for dance educators, kinesiology teachers, and orthopaedic surgeons. Subsequent SIG Day have included separate programs for: dance educators; physiotherapists and other allied health professionals; dance movement researchers; perceptuo-motor learning and dance kinesiology teachers; medical doctors; and students.

IADMS enhances the health, well-being, training, and performance of dancers by cultivating educational, medical, and scientific excellence.

IADMS has always striven to promote an international network of communication between dance and medicine. To this end, membership and conference participation is recruited internationally from both fields, and a balance of medical and dance professionals is maintained among the officers and Board of Directors.

International Dance Council (Conseil International de la Danse – CID) www.cid-portal.org/site

CID is the official umbrella organization for all forms of dance in all countries of the world.  It is a non-governmental organization founded in 1973 within the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, where it is based.  It is the worldwide forum bringing together international, national and local organizations, as well as select individuals active in dance

LIMS Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies www.limsonline.org

LIMS was established in 1978 as nonprofit organization dedicated to education and research in the field of movement studies. In addition to being a school for the dissemination of the work of Rudolf Laban and Irmgard Bartenieff, LIMS is also a membership organization.

LIMS is deeply engaged in making people aware of the value of seeing movement more clearly, of perceiving that being alive is being in movement, of moving with greater consciousness and of understanding the connections between movement and its wealth of meanings.

Over our more than 30 years of existence, we have been able to establish a powerful network of professional organizations and professionals around the world. The needs of our community and the demands of the current global challenges for the kind of work we provide compel us to develop new approaches and innovative research, and to create an ever-expanding range of services and products.

Core Values
LIMS’ core values are the traits or qualities that represent our organization’s highest priorities and deeply held driving forces. Our organizational culture is informed by mutual respect, constant improvement, high quality, honesty, integrity, and empowerment of others.

LODC Language of Dance Centre  www.lodc.org

To make creative movement and the dance experience available to all.  We offer dance clubs, professional development, certification courses and resources used in the Language of Dance approach to movement and dance.

The Language of Dance Trust supports the work of the Language of Dance Centre and conversely the Language of Dance Centre operates under the auspices of the Language of Dance Trust.

The aims of the LODC are:

  • To offer activities for children with a specific aim to target underprivileged areas
  • To build links within local communities by running classes, with a strong emphasis on young people with disabilities
  • To teach LOD to children and adults in the state and private sectors
  • To provide additional National Curriculum support to teachers, through the LOD approach, in both primary and secondary schools
  • To produce and publish educational materials
  • To provide professional development for teachers and LOD specialist training courses
  • To run workshops and residencies for dance artists and students

To enhance choreographic techniques through the LOD approach for professionals, students and non-dance specialists

NRDE National Registry of Dance Educators  www.nrde.org

NRDE offers professional support and services to its members who teach dance in private studios and schools so that they may provide their students and community with the highest quality programs and training available in dance education.


  1. Identify professional dance educators
  2. Offer them a rigorous evaluation by their peers to determine whether they meet professional ethics, guidelines, and standards of practice
  3. Recognize those who meet specifies criteria as Registered Dance Educators
  4.  Offer opportunities for continued study, support for professional services, and networking
  5. As a requirement of continues membership in the registry, members will agree to practice ethically for the safety and well being of themselves, their students, and the profession
  6. Periodic review will be required for continued membership in the Registry
  7. Advise the general public how to recognize Registered Dance Educators

RAD Royal Academy of Dance  www.rad.org.uk

RAD promotes knowledge, understanding and practice of dance internationally. We seek to accomplish our mission through promoting dance, educating and training students and teachers and providing examinations to reward achievement.

Now in their 93rd year, we continue to promote and develop excellence in dance. Their syllabi are taught around the world and thousands of students are enrolled on our many dance courses and study programs. Their alumni have gone on to work with the most prestigious dance companies and to become the best teachers. And, as part of their social responsibility remit, they continue to bring dance into a growing range of communities and schools.

It is so important that we all become members of the professional organizations that promote our own personal philosophies and strive to advocate for the advancement of our field.  Find what speaks to you and Join!!

Next Week: Common Core

Is it Really that Common?  An unedited conversation about Common Core

About the Author

Dr. Typhani Harris, author of Putting the Performance in Performance Task and Stop Teaching, brings over 2 decades of educational experience to The Institute. Originally a high school English Language Arts teacher, Dr. Harris transitioned into a dance educator who cultivated an award-winning collegiate style dance education program at a public school in California. Prior to joining the Institute, she was an educational leader and instructional coach specializing in preparing new teachers in secondary urban schools.  As the Chief Academics Officer, Dr. Harris maintains courses, conferences, and the accredited certification program at The Institute.