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Dance Faculty speak at National Conference

July 8, 2009—Four Belhaven College dance faculty members presented a panel at the National Dance Education Organization’s (NDEO) annual conference in New York City, held on June 26, 2009. The presentation was given by Belhaven dance instructors Krista Bower, Laura Morton, Erin Rockwell, and Emily Wright. NDEO is the premiere K-12 and higher education organization for dance in the United States. This year’s conference, “Best Practices in Dance Education,” brought together dance educators and professionals from across the country and around the world.

The Belhaven panel presentation, “Giving Flesh to Faith: Integrating Dance and Christianity,” afforded Belhaven’s dance department the opportunity to present the unique integration of faith and dance found in the Christian Worldview Curriculum. The topics addressed in the presentation included: the formulation of the course syllabus in accordance with the overall mission of Belhaven College, the use of scripture in teaching dance technique, and the reflections of a Belhaven graduate on preparation for future careers in dance.

Emily Wright, a dance faculty member at Belhaven, headed the panel presentation. She remarks that the Belhaven faculty were able “to make connections with other Christian dance professionals attending the conference and share the faith that grounds our teaching with nonbelievers who attended the presentation.” She also noted that an NDEO board member was “very interested” in Belhaven’s methodology for incorporating scripture into dance technique classes. In addition, a faculty member from Muhlenberg College initiated a challenging discussion about the balance between freedom and constraint in students' choices of choreographic content. Wright says that overall, “Our work was favorably received and we look forward to future opportunities to present at NDEO in the future.”

Belhaven College is one of just 30 colleges and universities in the U.S. to offer nationally accredited degree programs in all four of the arts: dance, music, theatre, and visual arts. The Belhaven Dance program stands apart from other schools through its accreditation by the National Association of Schools of Dance (NASD), coupled with its emphasis on teaching the biblical worldview.

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