Thank you_ Denise by wulinqing


									         TEXTS FROM THE
   National Association of Schools of Dance
               September 15 - 18, 2005
                St. Pete Beach, Florida

                  Denise Jefferson

                  Samuel Hope

             Nancy Smith Fichter (1982-1985)
             John Wilson (1988-1991)
             Ann Wagner (1994-1997)
             Patricia Knowles (1997-2000)
             Clara Cravey (2000-2003)
This document contains some, but
 not all, presentations delivered at
  the 25th Anniversary Meeting
              of NASD.
                       National Association of Schools of Dance
                                September 15 – 18, 2005
                                  St. Pete Beach, Florida

                             REPORT OF THE PRESIDENT
                                  Denise Jefferson
                                   The Ailey School

Good afternoon, it is a privilege to be the president of NASD, to be here with all of you in
sunny St. Petersburg and to be celebrating NASD‘s silver anniversary. An hour from now,
Larry Attaway will give, in his own inimitable way, a 7-minute reprise of the history of
NASD. The Association‘s founding in 1980 was a major achievement, particularly from
my perspective, that of professional studio schools, because it offered our institutions the
opportunity, for the first time, to apply for national accreditation and to join a group of
leading college and university dance departments in the United States.

NASD‘s predecessor, the temporary Joint Commission on Dance and Theatre Accredita-
tion, developed standards and procedures with support from established college and
university dance programs and professional studio schools. The Joint Commission and
the founding of NASD also benefited from the support and standards of the Council of
Dance Administrators, the accreditation expertise of those individuals who came to be
our National Office staff, and the substantial support of NASM, founded in 1924, and
NASAD, founded in 1944. Through the subsequent work of its institutional members,
NASD established its own principals, standards and approaches to accreditation. Our
Association has always maintained that the process of accreditation is a service-oriented
mechanism to help schools individually and the dance field as a whole. From the
beginning, NASD decided to hold annual meetings in order that members could share
ideas, concerns, approaches, and visions for the future. The annual meetings have never
been and will never be a place for personal aggrandizement, one-upmanship, or games of
power and contention. NASD has always chosen to work collaboratively with other
organizations in accreditation and higher education.

One of NASD‘s greatest strengths is its refusal to perpetuate the status quo. The Associa-
tion, through its membership, consistently examines its standards, policies, and procedures
so that they keep pace with our ever-evolving trends and needs in the field of dance. It
focuses consistently on making improvements in all areas in its purview. Last year, I
described to you three major NASD advancements that included the transfer of our Annual
Report and HEADS system to an online application, a full revision of the NASD website,
and a broadening of accreditation procedures to offer greater flexibility for institutions to
create the kind of self-study best suited to their needs.
This year‘s goals for improvement focus less on processes and systems and lie closer to the
heart of accreditation. As a group, we are continuing to review and revise the NASD stan-
dards for accreditation. At this meeting, we have scheduled hearings on the undergraduate
and graduate standards. We urge all of you to share comments that will be used to improve
our next drafts. The draft on graduate standards that we reviewed this morning reflected
your comments from last year‘s Annual Meeting. In addition, this past academic year, the
Association also sought comments from members and friends both on this same draft revi-
sion of the graduate standards as well as a comprehensive review of all current standards in
the NASD Handbook. We encourage you to expand the comprehensiveness of this draft
review by asking your faculty, students, and dance professionals to also review the current
proposals on both graduate and undergraduate standards and to forward any comments they
may wish to make to the National Office. We appreciate very much your participation so
far and look forward to your continued contributions as we move next to two additional
areas of the standards – those for professional studio schools and operations. Another future
goal of the Association is to streamline the Handbook and make it easier to use on the

We cannot emphasize too often that NASD standards are not intended to force member
institutions into a ―cookie cutter‖ mold. NASD has always viewed and used the standards
to create a framework for the individual decisions and work produced by schools,
conservatories, and departments of dance. As an art form, dance is a creative and mutable
force and none of us can ever pretend that there is only one way to do things, even if that
way is very comfortable and near and dear to our hearts. The standards represent what the
dance field as a collective, agrees to in common. A distinction made in our new draft is that
the standards and other such mechanisms describe and address issues of quality, but that
work done by individuals and groups create and exhibit quality.

When an institution becomes a member of NASD, it implicitly and deliberately gives full
support to NASD‘s standards. Such support by our 62 institutional members gives the stan-
dards significant power. It says in effect ―We believe in the standards so much that we are
willing to be reviewed by them.‖ NASD‘s position as our nation‘s recognized accrediting
agency for dance means that the standards have credibility and are used effectively in many
educational, governmental, and philanthropic contexts. You can see how important our As-
sociation‘s standards are and how critical it is that we continue to work together to ensure
that they express a consensus without limiting the freedom of each member to develop
his/her institution‘s own educational goals and curricular objectives and approaches.

For the remainder of my time with you this morning, I wish to share some of my ideas on a
larger topic – the need for us, as members of NASD, to articulate a unified vision of dance
in the present and for the future. While it sounds somewhat pretentious and overwhelming
for a group of dance leaders to try to capture an art form that is ephemeral and mutable by
its very nature and define it with a tool of communication as concrete as words, it is an im-
portant task to tackle for the unity of our Association‘s artistic vision. As dance educators,
artists, and administrative directors, I believe that in our work as teachers and mentors of
the next generation of dancers, we have a golden opportunity to influence future directions
for dance. As an organization, NASD can be more effective with an integrated vision that
will both guide and inform our work collectively and individually and serve as a clearer

National Association of Schools of Dance      2         TEXTS FROM THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY MEETING
St. Pete Beach, Florida                                                  September 15 – 18, 2005
tool for dance advocacy. I do not presume to propose a blueprint that could possibly distill
a concept that must include many diverse beliefs and perspectives from the membership.
Instead, I wish to propose this project and share with you some trends in the field that I see
personally and describe a role that I believe NASD could play as an advocate for dance and
a beacon in the field of specialized accreditation.

All of us here today as representatives of institutional members of NASD, founders of
NASD, future institutional members and welcome guests, know firsthand the hard work
that has been done to elevate dance to its current level of excellence in terms of artistic
creation and performance, professional training and education, and audience education and
development. We all know the challenges and the pressures we face in these areas, indi-
vidually and institutionally. We have some idea, as well, of the more universal pressures
that impact the dance field in general. We, of course, view these issues differently accord-
ing to our own experiences, environments, and resources.

Nevertheless, I believe we can all agree that dance now is a highly sophisticated and divine
art form. Dance has evolved into an extremely diverse, complex entity that serves many
purposes for society in general. When I use the term diverse, I am speaking not only about
student and faculty issues of race, ethnicity and gender, but also of the inclusion in our cur-
ricula of non-traditional contemporary techniques and non-Western dance, along with a
range of interdisciplinary courses and technology, which is probably one of the most
exciting and innovative tools that will alter the face of dance forever. Alonzo King, an
African-American choreographer in the San Francisco area who is artistic director of Lines
Ballet, offers an intriguing definition of diversity that asks us in the field to reexamine our
perceptions and values. He says: ―As fascinating as diversity is in nature and humanity…it
is a trick, and illusion. It is all the same substance ingeniously manipulated to appear differ-
ent. The artist is interested in the essence of things, not their appearance. As artists, our
obsession, like scientists looking for the X factor, is to crumble the veils of illusion – to
make the invisible apparent, to dive beyond appearance. To that end, we have to reveal the
gargantuan communality that outweighs difference, the spirit that animates those borrowed
temporary forms.‖1

We are looking at a new generation of dancers who are extraordinarily versatile and
capable technically of amazing feats. They are performing and creating works that often
combine various elements from recognizable dance techniques and/or present new move-
ment languages. The lines between techniques have become even less distinct. Savion
Glover dances on pointe in his tap shoes; Frankfurt Ballet dancers recite texts, sing songs
and improvise while moving within Bill Forsythe‘s deconstructed ballet vocabulary. In
New York City, concert dancers from established modern and ballet companies perform
alternately in commercial Broadway productions and in their more rarified home seasons at
the Metropolitan Opera House or City Center. Ballet companies have been performing
contemporary works choreographed by modern dance icons like Alvin Ailey, Martha
Graham, David Parsons, and Paul Taylor, for years now.

    Dance Magazine, June 2005, ―Beyond Tokenism When Diversity is Part of the Art‖ by Valerie Gladstone, p. 36

National Association of Schools of Dance                  3           TEXTS FROM THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY MEETING
St. Pete Beach, Florida                                                                    September 15 – 18, 2005
This new generation of choreographers is much more apt to work collaboratively with their
dancers, in a more communal and less hierarchal environment, and to create work that is
more multi-faceted. If the ―dumb dancer‖ ever really existed, which I doubt, he/she is now
fully discredited and rarely useful. These same choreographers have highly developed
technological skills and are very eager to explore and stretch the limits of possibility in that
area and to use multi-media enhancements and installations to frame their works. There are
a number who are politically aware and often use text and multi-media tools along with
movement to advance their messages and beliefs. They seem to be fearless and direct in
their approaches to choreography and performance, as youth often dare to be, which allows
dance to be a revolutionary agent for social change.
A powerful example of this is strikingly shown in a residency conducted by Dwight
Rhoden, a cutting edge African-American choreographer, originally from Ohio, who is co-
director of Complexions, a New York City-based company that was on the June 2005
cover of Dance Magazine.
Dance USA‘s National College Choreography Initiative funded his residency in the
Dance/Theatre Department of the University of Mississippi. The University was home to
a hallmark event during the height of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s when
James Meredith, a lone African-American student, integrated ―Ole‘ Miss.‖ This act of
great courage led to the death of two people, not Meredith, and injured many more during
the rioting that ensued when Meredith came to register on campus. Rhoden‘s dance
residency was planned as a tool to reconcile and heal the local community members who
were separated by racial and generational differences. He met many times with separate
local black and white groups and less often with integrated, usually younger groups,
speaking with them about race, and pushing them to express and confront themselves and
one another about their prejudices, perceptions and proposals for social justice. He would
then return to the studio and rework his pieces, based on the most recent insights he had
gained. It was an emotionally draining and artistically fertile period for Rhoden. He took
the unusual step of opening his rehearsals to members of the local community, asking
daily for their feedback. He based the piece on the stories he heard and the dialogue he
held with the six university dancers he used in the work and many members of the
racially and generationally diverse community. White dancers were in black face and
black dancers were in white face at one point, which as we can imagine was a highly
confrontational visual tool that had at first shocked his audiences at rehearsals. The piece
premiered in February 2004 and later received cheers in Washington, D.C. at a large
convening of the American College Dance Festival Association. The power of the piece
lay not only in the directness of its message but also in the process that brought disparate
community members together to examine their shared past and work towards healing to
create a more inclusive, positive future. These local discussions have continued and 29
black and white local churches since then have created a new community network to
address issues like wage parity and affordable housing. Dance inspires, enlightens,
entertains, and transforms people.
Dance has become increasingly global with the proliferation of international dance compe-
titions in Varna, Lausanne, Helsinki, Jackson, New York City, and one of the newest, in
Seoul, Korea, to name a few of the largest and most prestigious. National lines almost

National Association of Schools of Dance       4         TEXTS FROM THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY MEETING
St. Pete Beach, Florida                                                    September 15 – 18, 2005
disappear as dancers compete with one another on the highest artistic levels, using the
universal language of dance in several disciplines – ballet, contemporary, and in Korea,
ethnic dances from China, Japan, and Korea, achieving perhaps what Alonzo King terms
―…the gargantuan community that outweighs difference.‖2 In addition, when we read the
bios of dance company members, we see that many dance companies, particularly the large
ballet companies, have become increasingly international, which brings stylistic differences
to the stage along with more color and a broader spectrum of ethnic looks. This has the
beneficial side effect as well of broadening dance‘s audience as one is always pleased and
racially or ethnically affirmed to see someone who looks similar to oneself performing on
stage. Technological tools, like Internet II, which was presented earlier today during our
meeting, also enable us to teach, rehearse, perform, and communicate, if we wish, in real
time and across continents.
While I know we will continue to raise the bar in technique, choreography, artistry and
scholarship by excellent dance training, groundbreaking research and academic rigor, we
must also be relentless advocates for dance locally and nationally. We must continue to
reach beyond the confines of our buildings and campuses into our local communities,
developing new audiences; teaching underserved young people and adults in a range of
venues; partner with other organizations; and advocate for dance with local, state and
federal agencies. We are so fortunate to have at the helm of NASD, Sam Hope, our execu-
tive director. He continues to be an effective, indefatigable, diplomatic fighter for dance.
His knowledge of the dance field is broad; his awareness of the political and sociological
environment in Washington‘s government circles is deep and nuanced and his razor sharp
powers of analysis dissect brilliantly all sides of issues that concern our field. Thank you,
We member institutions have an obligation to support one another and have implicitly
agreed to do so and to work collaboratively when we joined the Association. For more than
25 years, NASD has worked within its means to provide a vehicle for this kind of coopera-
tion. As former presidents have said, and I said last year, NASD needs to welcome as
members every qualified professional studio school and dance department in the U.S. We
are the youngest, having been founded in 1980, and the smallest of our sister accrediting
associations with 62 members. Increased membership is not sought so NASD can become
more effective – it is already a respected national organization. But a larger membership
would make NASD a more powerful advocate for our field. For the strength of the profes-
sion, NASD must continue to work with NDEO and others concerned with general dance
education. The Association must also continue to work with Dance USA and its constitu-
ency in their efforts to support the artistic creation and presentation of dance at the profes-
sional level. NASD must work with CORD and other dance research groups to expand the
analytical capabilities of the field. NASD itself is not the key, but doing the kind of build-
ing that NASD enables is the key. NASD has worked hard for 25 glorious years.
Thank you for allowing me to serve as your president. Thank you for being here to cele-
brate NASD‘s 25th anniversary and most of all, thank you for your inimitable and valuable
contributions to our wonderful world of dance.


National Association of Schools of Dance      5         TEXTS FROM THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY MEETING
St. Pete Beach, Florida                                                   September 15 – 18, 2005
                                           Samuel Hope
                                     NASD National Office

Today, I want to talk with you for just a few moments about four issues. First is a follow up
of last year‘s report on reauthorization of the federal Higher Education Act. This is a long
story and I won‘t begin to tell it all. In fact, the story has not come to an end. However, I
can report with some confidence that there is a great deal of progress on four major issues
and we seem to be out of the danger zone that we thought we were in last year. On distance
learning, congress is going to deal with distance learning as a delivery system and not as a
new body of content. This means much less federal regulation on process and none on
content. On transfer of credit, it appears now that the reauthorization language will not
attempt to exert federal control over transfer policies to the extent that an institution would
not be totally free to make transfer decisions based on questions of content and on the
quality of education and depth of learning a transferring student can demonstrate. On
outcomes, it appears that this idea, which is in the current Higher Education Act and which
will remain when the Act is reauthorized, has been minimized and put into a better context.
The word is hardly used, a victory for reason and balance. There will be flexibility under
the Law for institutions to report their results on the basis of their mission and how they
fulfill it. This is a great step forward from where we were at this time last year. And on the
issue closest to all accrediting agencies and institutions and programs that are accredited,
there has been tremendous reversal in congressional thinking on the question of public
information and disclosure of accreditation actions. The House proposals on the table this
time last year would have required every accrediting action by every federally recognized
accrediting organization to be published with a comment from the agency about the reason
for that action. This would have completely destroyed the private dialogue between
accrediting commissions and institutions and programs. It would have affected every
accreditation relationship. It would have created conditions that would have pitted
accreditors against institutions and programs, thereby destroying the productivity and
collegiality of the process. I am pleased to say that due to a lot of work by a lot of people,
that idea is gone for this round of the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.

Karen Moynahan and I had the honor of serving on a negotiating committee with repre-
sentatives of large institutional associations such as the American Council on Education
and the Association of American Universities to develop negotiating points in opposition to
the first draft of the House legislation. We were among a few others representing the
accreditation community. This negotiating group was successful, and Karen and I are
pleased and honored to be able to report this result. Success is not always assured. Right
before Labor Day, the Senate reauthorization bill came out and, though we thought many
of these issues had been laid to rest, the first draft that we saw had an objectionable disclo-
sure feature. But within thirty-six hours, by the time we got to the chairman‘s mark up
which is the version of a bill that the chairman of a committee or subcommittee takes to the
committee to mark up before it goes to the full body, the problem had been removed.

The current Higher Education Act reauthorization proposals are not perfect; there is a lot
more to the Act than the accreditation provisions. There will be plenty of controversy over

National Association of Schools of Dance        6       TEXTS FROM THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY MEETING
St. Pete Beach, Florida                                                   September 15 – 18, 2005
regulations following the bill, but on the accreditation side, which is the side that we are
most responsible for and that affects higher education so deeply, real progress has been

The second issue I would like to talk about briefly is the multi-year standards review in
which NASD is engaged. We need the participation of everyone in dance interested in
helping. As Denise stated so beautifully, the NASD standards are a consensus document.
The standards have their power from consensus. Consensus means that most individuals
will not find the standards expressing to the letter their own view of things, but rather a
collective view of what is critically important and what various credentials and approaches
mean to the field as a whole. In light of this responsibility, we need your comment. We
need to have your thoughtful review. NASD is holding hearings at this meeting. If you read
the drafts going home and have another thought or issue that is not addressed here please be
sure to send it to us. This comment period lasts through December 15. Major dance organi-
zations in addition to NASD are being informed as drafts are posted on the NASD Web
site. NASD covets the attention of faculty, students who, after all, have a perspective that
we do not have, and many others in the field.

Third, it is clear that we have a very serious job to do in the arts and humanities to get more
people to understand more specifically the nature of what we do. The lack of understanding
of the nature of what we do is partly responsible for the growth of accountability systems
that are trying to force a common conceptual framework of accountability across all disci-
plines, not recognizing their different habits of mind, different ways of working, different
approaches to higher education, and different approaches to professional work. If we don‘t
change minds on this issue, the major result will be an increase in wasted time on unsuit-
able accountability procedures. Accreditation not only in dance, but in the other arts and in
other fields, is so critically important now because it represents a consensus voice not just
of one or two people talking, but a whole field saying, ―We have studied this all of our
lives, many of us since we were five years old. This is what we think the ‗it‘ of our field is
and this is how we evaluate it.‖ It is very hard for people who are not in our field to argue
with the validity of such a consensus. So, we are working on our standards not only to try
to make things better, not only to establish a common foundation for dance in higher edu-
cation, but also to protect ourselves. We are working together to protect the working room
that each of you and your colleagues need to do the work of dance in your institutions.
NASD is a counter to notions of centralization, for example, that the federal government
can sit in Washington and manage transfer of credit in higher education. It can‘t be done.
The scope is too big and there are too many people involved. The same is true for student
learning and many other aspects of education content and practice.

Yesterday in the Board meeting, I used this analogy and I share it here because it may be
useful to you. One of the things that strikes me in listening to most calls for accountabil-
ity—which, as you must have noticed, is an attack buzzword—is a virtual absence of
conceptual depth. What we really should be talking about is responsibility of which
accountability is a part. But accountability is the term of the hour. When you go into a
showroom to buy an automobile, let‘s say you‘re going to buy a Toyota, Toyota Motors is
one hundred percent responsible for the car that you drive out of the showroom. They made
a decision to include every element, even if they didn‘t manufacture it themselves. I repeat:

National Association of Schools of Dance      7         TEXTS FROM THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY MEETING
St. Pete Beach, Florida                                                   September 15 – 18, 2005
they are one hundred percent responsible for the product. Those using accountability as an
attack buzzword are trying in many ways to deal with education as though it were a car, as
though the credential-granting institution is one hundred percent responsible for the
product. But we all know that the students are at least fifty percent responsible for the
product. We are trying to bring an accountability system and ideas from one sector over
into another, and it is not working because the accountability concept doesn‘t fit the nature
of what we are doing. The members and friends of NASD work together on this whole
issue of quality and accountability, if we must use that word, and what it means for dance.
And what it means in the other arts. And what it means in the humanities. Accountability is
quite different depending on the field in question and we cannot allow unsuitable
paradigms, no matter who promotes or requires them, to destroy what we do. We need to
minimize being in positions where we have to accept things that are destructive to who we
are in order to get something that we need. The more time we spend in that position, the
more there is a tendency to become that other thing which we are not. The diversity that
Denise Jefferson talked about depends on having differences, and thus means differences in
responsibility and accountability. If you have no differences, you have no diversity.
Diversity cannot exist if everything is all the same. It takes just a few moments of thinking
through some of these issues to see how silly some of the regnant ideas are.

The fourth thing I want to talk about is the future of NASD, extending the thoughts so
eloquently expressed by our President. This organization will grow. Twenty-five years
from now it will be bigger and it will grow not just in terms of numbers, but also in terms
of ability. Increased ability is one of the things that those who have had the privilege of
being elected to leadership or of having staff roles look toward with great anticipation. The
growth in ability is made possible in part because every member makes a contribution, and
the more members, the greater the combined effect. But beyond our numbers and what
those mean both symbolically and operationally, the future of NASD really depends on
values. It depends on maintaining the right values. If NASD members embrace the current
accountability spirit of trying to control each other, the organization will be destroyed.
Members will hurt rather than serve each other. NASD is not trying to control anyone.
NASD is trying to help everyone. That has been the spirit of this organization from the very
first hour and that spirit has to be maintained. This foundational value must not change no
matter what else happens. We have to assist each other. We have tremendous reciprocity,
but we must continue to improve it and increase our understanding of its importance. We
have to keep standards in perspective so that they remain a framework, as Denise said so
powerfully, in which each member institution can be its individual best. And we need to
celebrate and continue to celebrate what we do in dance in what we do in NASD and how
we do it.

I spoke a moment ago about consistency. NASD has to operate as an accrediting organiza-
tion consistent with the nature of dance. Otherwise, what is the point? NASD has not gotten
sidetracked or run to educational fads or ideas that would have hurt its work because of
their inconsistency with the nature of dance. So NASD and its members and friends have to
work very carefully. We have to protect our basic values. NASD is not just a structure. It is
the spirit that we bring to it individually and collectively. And I must say that this organi-
zation is full of wonderful spirit—wonderful people bringing a wonderful spirit to a
wonderful work together.

National Association of Schools of Dance      8         TEXTS FROM THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY MEETING
St. Pete Beach, Florida                                                  September 15 – 18, 2005
So let us proceed and let us move ahead remembering all of these things and looking at our
challenges in perspective. For example, this year we have been able to be effective in
reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. We are not always assured of success, but we
must always be ready and able to work for such success. We must always have the
common capability to face disaster and act effectively. Is there any time in any of our life-
times when that truth was more evident? We cannot wait until problems come to organize.
We have to be organized in advance. So let us remember this necessity as we go forward,
and let us remember that we are here to serve each other. If we do these things, we will be
fine and we will do well and NASD and higher education in dance will go on to an even
more glorious future than they have in the past. Thank you for the honor of serving as your
Executive Director. Best wishes to NASD for the next 25 years, and best wishes to you as
you lead your schools and programs.

National Association of Schools of Dance     9         TEXTS FROM THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY MEETING
St. Pete Beach, Florida                                                 September 15 – 18, 2005
                                     ST. PETE BEACH, FLORIDA
                                          SEPTEMBER 2005


Nancy Smith Fichter                                             NASD President, 1982-1985

An anniversary is typically a time to look back, to celebrate, perhaps to acknowledge what
has transpired in the where and the when of that place we call the past. We sometimes
pause to give thanks for what has happened, to feel some wonder at how recent the begin-
ning of it all seems and yet how long ago it also seems.

In some ways it does feel that it was only a few years ago that those first NASD meetings
happened. At that time in our profession, we were on the verge of so many things that are
now ―givens‖ in our lives and in the professional hemispheres in which we move. Many of
us were just in the beginning stages of becoming electronically savvy. And now for the
most part we are thoroughly wired and wireless. We were sensing the approaching
presence of the Corporate Model as a paradigm for governance. Today‘s councils of deans
often resemble nothing so much as the Board Rooms of Big Business.

During these past 25 years our world as many of us knew it has been technologically
revolutionized, internationally web-connected, geo-politically reconfigured, and tragically
turned inside out by devastating disasters.

Our lives have felt the impact of these changes and in turn have begun to reflect them in
our various professional arenas. Curricular design has absorbed the ever increasing tech-
nological advances like quicksand; the corporate model has influenced the management
skills an administrator now needs, The world-shaking events and rapid demographic shifts
are producing new kinds of art-making, new curricular content and also requiring new
ways of working with student and faculty constituencies.

And what does this all have to do with NASD? I believe that NASD has so many times
been the canary in the coalmine that has signaled to us that certain changes were imminent
in American education. NASD has been a guide on our various and diverse paths as new
futures have beckoned. It has offered forecasts and even occasionally a few storm warn-
ings. It has given us overview without imposing mandates. It has not told us what to think
but has suggested ways of thinking, ways of looking at issues. It has done all this through
the ever-evolving standards and practices that lie at the heart of NASD operations ...
standards and operations developed and refined by us, by the membership itself. During
these past 25 years, there has been a proliferation of programs, of new curricular offerings
and degree plans. Today we find programs with technology labs and faculty/staff positions
dedicated for that area. We find a greatly enlarged field of dance studies in history, cultural
research, and criticism. We find the healing arts and dance functioning more fully in

National Association of Schools of Dance       10       TEXTS FROM THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY MEETING
St. Pete Beach, Florida                                                   September 15 – 18, 2005
tandem. The long valued relationship between dance in academe and the professional
companies and their schools, a relationship that has always been organizationally identified
in the very structure of NASD, has deepened to an extraordinary extent, so that each moves
easily in and out of the other. The branches of dance are increasingly manifold and diverse.
But as the branches expand, increase, and diversify, so must the roots grow deeper.

There was a very popular book several decades ago, Robert Pirsig‘s Zen and the Art of
Motorcycle Maintenance, that used a metaphor of a tree that would always need for its
roots to grow more deeply as its branches expanded, lest the strong winds topple the whole

And it is this awareness of the roots that I believe is a critical issue today. It is really not
possible (or at least not very wise) to stand here in the present and celebrate the past with-
out looking at the future. And the future so much depends upon the nurture and deepening
of the roots of our discipline. And the strong taproot is dance itself. The making and doing
of the art. That art may take us into many different directions. We may become choreogra-
phers, performers, healers, teachers, historians, writers, technologists, producers, etc...the
possibilities seem almost endless. But the central and authentic experience of dance is our
safeguard of professional integrity. It helps reinforce our immunity to trendiness, to diluted
second-hand education, our resistance to the trivial.

I believe that NASD has helped us help ourselves to keep the integrity of our programs.
And it has done this by strengthening the spine of our self-governance and by helping us
focus on the roots of our discipline.

The significant accomplishments of NASD are the result of the good thinking, dedication,
hard work and keen vision of so many people throughout the field. But I strongly believe
that such contributions could not have achieved full fruition without the presiding genius of
our Executive Director, Sam Hope, and his superb Associate Director, Karen Moynahan.
And Sam and Karen are assisted by a fine and gifted staff in the National Office. At these
meetings we think and do our work and exchange ideas in deluxe comfort and beautiful
surroundings because of the excellent planning of Chira Kirkland. We give thanks for these
fine professionals.

I want to make a few comments about Sam Hope and I make them not just because it is
appropriate and my great pleasure to do so, but because I think that in Sam Hope there are a
lot of life lessons for us, professionally and perhaps even personally.

He has been, for many years, swimming in the seas of bureaucracy without becoming a
bureaucrat himself; and he has directed arts accreditation organizations of considerable
complexity without losing the recognition that they are composed of individual human
beings. And he seems to have always remembered that there is a significant difference
between management and administration, between the extraordinary management skills
that are necessary in today‘s world and the administrative vision that is the basic require-
ment of leadership...and he has known that one needs them both.

He has done this with excellence and enormous success. And I believe he has succeeded
because he has always kept art and his love for it at the center of his being.

National Association of Schools of Dance      11         TEXTS FROM THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY MEETING
St. Pete Beach, Florida                                                    September 15 – 18, 2005
That‘s the big life lesson we need to keep our art at the center of our being.

I think NASD helps us do that.

In a few weeks I‘ll be exactly three times as old as NASD. And when one reaches this point
in life it seems that one does a lot of remembering. And one of the kinds of remembering I
do is remembering how and why I loved some of the things I‘ve loved all of my life. And
my memory bank is full of exact and specific and still potent memory bytes from moments
in the studio, in performance, in class, in the audience. Some of the details have begun to
blur but the import and the resonance of those instants still yield pleasure and power. I
didn‘t realize it fully in earlier years but what I know now is that every time I had those
moments, something happened to open the inner eye inside that sees and knows things it
doesn‘t even realize it is receiving. I think that is what art least one of the many
things it does. I note that the world is moving faster and faster as I am moving more and
more slowly, but I don‘t think it will ever move so fast that something in me won‘t attend
and relish those moments when a dance or a painting or a piece of music arrests my heart
and mind and opens once more that inner eye.

And that is what I want us always to preserve and offer to others. And I believe that we do
that, or can do that, in our discipline.

In earlier years I swore that there were some things, some clichés that I would never, never
say...such things as comments about ―the younger generation‖...statements such as ―They
just don‘t make them the way they used to.‖

And the one I really vowed never to say was ―Youth is wasted on the young.‖

Well, I‘m here to tell you that it is.

And it‘s a glorious thing for the young to waste. But it is our responsibility to preserve and
pass on to them the opportunities for such wastefulness, for discovery and experiment and
failure and accomplishment that the creative act can offer them. I used to say that teaching
is the profession of delayed returns. If you‘re in it for instant gratification or strokes, choose
another gig. Well, I now think that life itself is the profession of delayed returns and the
returns can be wonderful at each decade.

Despite the increasing and encroaching invasions of bureaucracy in all our institutions,
despite the speed-hyped tempo of today‘s world, there will always be the art act, the art
experience...because, I believe, we are biologically programmed for it.

It is our business to deepen the roots of our discipline as much as we increase our branches
so that it continues to be the gift that keeps on giving.

I believe that everybody in this room wants to do the good work. And I believe that NASD
helps us to do it and to do it well. I thank NASD and I wish us all a Happy 25th Birthday.

National Association of Schools of Dance       12         TEXTS FROM THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY MEETING
St. Pete Beach, Florida                                                     September 15 – 18, 2005
John Wilson                                                   NASD President, 1988-1991

Dear Friends ~
Thanks for the invitation to join you on this special occasion celebrating NASD‘s 25th
anniversary! It would be a great pleasure to be among you again and to see you in action;
but I had to choose between witnessing your action and participating in some of my grand-
children‘s action, and the younger generation has won out – as it generally does!
Nonetheless, you will be in my mind during the weekend of your festive conference. I am
recalling many exciting, productive years in association with you. Can it be so long since
our first gathering in Reston when some 20 of us, with the superb guidance of Sam and the
officers of NASM and NASAD, wrote our charter and fashioned our first Handbook?
Those were heady times. Most of us were a bit bewildered; but we knew that the time was
right for developing national accreditation standards and for communicating with all our
colleagues in the interest of improving the quality of dance performance, production, and
education. Thanks to the honest hard work, the sincerity, and especially the good will of its
members over these years, NASD continues to realize the mission we envisioned.
That, of course, would not have been possible without the superb support of the National
Office of Arts Accreditation staff. And I know that you will be giving them many rounds of
applause at your banquet and countless hugs in the corridors. Please share my applause and
hugs with them, too.
I hope to be with you again one fine conference in the near future. You know that you are
always welcome in Tucson; and I am always ready to share snapshots of grandchildren
with you! In the meantime, best wishes to you and have fun together.

Ann Wagner                                                    NASD President, 1994-1997

Greetings and best wishes to all of you friends and former colleagues. I regret that family
responsibilities do not permit me to join you in person. But I rejoice with you in this 25
year milestone celebration of NASD. It was my privilege to be able to serve NASD in dif-
ferent capacities for more than 15 years. During that time I recall the wonderfully collegial
spirit which pervaded the organization. And I was always impressed by the ability of our
dance folks to accomplish much with minimal financial resources but with a maximum of
hard work, persistence and talent. We were also fortunate to have the assistance and exper-
tise of a remarkable staff from the National Office. I am sure these same benefits remain to
this day. To them, I would wish for each of you courage, health and energy in forwarding
NASD and the finest of dance in the years to come.

National Association of Schools of Dance     13        TEXTS FROM THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY MEETING
St. Pete Beach, Florida                                                 September 15 – 18, 2005
Patricia Knowles                                              NASD President, 1997-2000

We celebrate tonight at the great Don César
Twenty-five years of raising the barre!
We salute the standards so patiently wrought
From this academic-professional melting pot.
It was back in Rosslyn in the year ‗81
That this long pas de deux was first begun.
The leaders of dance came from ‗round the nation
With a powerful call for accreditation!

No more the poor sister of the arts would we be—
We leapt from the wings as the NASD!
We embarked on self-studies, on statements of mission;
We arranged visitations and formed a Commission.
We labored on responses and progress reports,
And gathered together at famous resorts.
We elected nine presidents to govern our league—
They weathered the pressures, the plots, the intrigues.
We fell and recovered, contracted, released,
But all through the process our friendships increased.

We celebrate tonight our leader, Sam Hope,
Whose vision and counsel have broadened our scope.
For twenty-five years, he‘s worked by our side,
Our bow-tied guardian angel and guide.
Generous, gentle, witty, and sage,
He‘s our voice for dance on the national stage.

We celebrate Karen, our associate head,
Who never lets a report go unread.
 She‘s the right hand of Sam, steadfast, and strong,
And keeps the Commission spinning along.
Intelligent, caring, unflappable, cool—
She‘s the shark who starts each day in the pool.

We celebrate Chira, the queen of the meeting.
Mistress of details, plans, and proceedings,
She gives us some glamour, some zip and some zesta,
And knows how to throw a terrific Fiesta.

And finally we turn to the heroes less known,
Whose work is truly our cornerstone.
We thank the Commission who‘ve been on the scene
For days before this meeting convened.

National Association of Schools of Dance     14        TEXTS FROM THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY MEETING
St. Pete Beach, Florida                                                 September 15 – 18, 2005
They‘ve read, and conferred, and pondered, and probed,
With the wisdom of Solomon and the patience of Job.

We thank Nancy Smith-Fichter,
Our colleague and friend
Who served the Commission, again and again.

We celebrate ourselves, this vibrant throng,
Whose schools now number over 60 strong.
Our programs, our teaching, our skills have advanced.
Our professional and personal lives are enhanced.
We started with typewriters, scissors, and glue.
Now we have iPods and Internet II.
We‘ve inspired each other, brought new things to birth,
And learned how to dance from all peoples on earth.

At age twenty-five, we‘re poised here in time—
The wise still among us; the young in their prime.
With energy and wisdom, we the young and the old
Will dance our way forward to places untold.

Happy Silver, NASD,
And a toast to the NEXT 25 years!

Poem by Kendall Rafter based on notes by Patricia Knowles

Clara Cravey                                                  NASD President, 2000-2003

Thank you and congratulations on 25 wonderful years.
As many of you know, I was in my first year as president of NASD on that morning of
September 11, 2001. Both Sam and I were traveling to the airport to embark on our
respective journeys to what was to be our twenty-first annual meeting when we were
stopped in our tracks in horror and disbelief at what was unfolding on every TV screen.
After several hours, we finally were able to get in touch with each other, and made the
decision to cancel the meetings. Naturally, we were deeply concerned about our friends
who had already arrived in Snowbird, Utah for the Commission meetings, and were
intensely relieved and thankful following their eventual safe return to their respective
I am and will always be honored to be associated with NASD and all of the wonderful
friends I have made in my years as a member, and thankful for being elected to serve as
So without further ado (raising a toast), here‘s to NASD, to 25 glorious years, and to
many more years to come.

National Association of Schools of Dance     15        TEXTS FROM THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY MEETING
St. Pete Beach, Florida                                                 September 15 – 18, 2005

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