Dance of course specializes in movement, but Hope dance students, faculty and alumni did even more of it than usual earlier this month, traveling both east and west to participate in two concurrent major conferences.

Such events provide a valuable opportunity to engage directly with researchers, educators and performers from around the world, and for students in particular to experience their discipline as an extended global community. It’s a reflection of the Hope program’s high quality and depth that students can pursue a variety of specializations within dance, and then participate in their chosen field at a high level—including during simultaneous national or international professional conferences.

Creating, performing, responding and connecting were just a few of the opportunities that the members of the Hope family experienced while attending the National Dance Education Organization (NDEO) conference in Phoenix, Arizona, on Wednesday-Sunday, Oct. 7-11.  This year’s event was particularly meaningful, because it featured the presentation of the NDEO’s Lifetime Achievement Award to Maxine DeBruyn, who is the Dorothy Wiley DeLong Professor Emerita of Dance.

In the meantime, on the east side of the country, Hope Dance participated in the 25th annual meeting of the International Association of Dance Medicine and Science (IADMS), which took place on Friday-Sunday, Oct. 9-11, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

NDEO Conference

Hope representatives at NDEOThe theme of the NDEO conference was “Focus on Dance Education: Engaging in the Artistic Process.”  As explained by the organization, the meeting of national and international dance educators was aimed “to tackle the multifaceted subject of artistic processes.  The artistic processes we engage in as dance artists provide the foundation and structure through which we come to define, understand, evaluate, analyze, and create dance.  These processes are innate in other disciplines and throughout everyday life.”

The Lifetime Achievement Award is the NDEO’s most prestigious, award, and is given for exemplary leadership, scholarship and/or artistry, and philanthropy or service to dance education.  Faculty member Nicki Flinn, who is also a 1997 Hope graduate, introduced DeBruyn for the award, with remarks that shared her accomplishments and captured her spirit, passion and vision for dance.

“It was truly an honor to have an opportunity to tell Max’s story,” said Flinn, who is an assistant professor of dance.  “She has been a trailblazer and a leader in foundation of the development of dance education. Congratulations again and thanks for blazing this trail that the world can now dance down.”

Hope Dance was well represented throughout the event.  In addition to DeBruyn and Flinn, those attending included faculty member Angie Yetzke, assistant professor of dance; Hope dance student Catharine Lewis, a junior from Fairlawn, Ohio; and multiple dance alumni currently working in the field of dance education:  Cathy Tharin (’78), Terri Vaughan (’91), Kathleen Dominiak (’95), Sandy Federico (’96), Jessica VanOort (’98), Jessica Mumford (’05) Chelsea Harkelroad (’11), Arye Shannon-Carmichael (’11) and Jennifer Muisenga (’12).

Her participation supported by a DeLong scholarship, Lewis noted that she valued the opportunity to meet and network with dance-education professionals from around the country, and gaining insights that will continue to inform her not only during the rest of her time at Hope but beyond.

“My time at NDEO was extremely beneficial, inspiring, and transformative, not only because I was able to network with standout professionals in the field of dance education, but also because I was able to represent Hope College when one of my mentors and role models, Maxine DeBruyn, was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the conference’s closing dinner,” said Lewis, who is pursuing a comprehensive education K-8 major with minors in dance elementary education and special education (emphasis on the emotionally impaired).

“This was my second year attending the conference and I can honestly say that being a part of this experience has taught me so much about believing in myself and what I contribute to the field already,” she said.  “In the four short days I spent in Phoenix with my professors, mentors, peers, and friends, I was truly enriched as a dancer and educator, not to mention I've since returned to Holland with an extensive number of teaching ideas to add to my arsenal.”

IADMS Conference

Hope representatives at IADMS conferenceThe meeting of international practitioners was directed, as IADMS explains, “to those involved with the health care, education, administration and supervision of dancers, including physicians, physical therapists, allied health professionals, alternative health care practitioners, psychologists, arts administrators, artistic directors, choreographers, educators, scientists, movement specialists and dancers.”

Hope Dance was well represented. Supported by DeLong scholarships, Hope dance students Madison LaChance, a senior from Battle Creek, Kjersten McKinniss, a junior from Mansfield, Ohio, and Christina Sarosiek, a senior from Green Bay, Wisconsin, attended, and had the chance to hear from and connect with professionals from around the world—including alums Kathleen Davenport (’04), who as the head physician for the Miami Ballet was one of the presenters; Ashley Ghose (’02); and Kim Karpanty (’85).

The experience was transformative.

“Athletic training and dance are my passions. By attending IADMS, I feel a greater reassurance that I am pursuing the right path for me,” said McKinniss, an athletic training major and dance minor. “I glimpsed the future of dance medicine and how it may impact my career. I am truly humbled by the opportunity I have had experiencing IADMS.”

“Before going to IADMS I was really unsure about how I was going to combine my exercise science major and dance minor,” said LaChance, an exercise science major and dance minor.  “However, after attending IADMS I was able to realize how uniquely tied together the two of them are. I feel like I have an advantage now because I will know the body in a different way than other physical therapists. Attending this conference was inspirational, eye-opening, and I got the chance to meet some incredible people.”

Faculty members M. Linda Graham, who is the Dorothy Wiley DeLong Professor of Dance, and Angela Kiekover, a lecturer in kinesiology, attended with the students. While they focused on the presentations and workshops, they noted that catching up with former students was a definite perk.

Together, the members of the Hope family at the event also took the opportunity to honor DeBruyn for her award and legacy. “None of us would be present at this conference were it not for Maxine,” Graham said.  “We toasted, with gratitude, the work of this amazing woman.”

NDEO photo

Professor Emerita Maxine DeBruyn, who received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the national conference of the National Dance Education Association, is pictured with the members of the Hope family who attended the event earlier this month.  From left to right are: front row, Catharine Lewis (’17), Jessica VanOort (’98), Jennifer Muisenga (’12), Kathleen Dominiak (’95), Maxine DeBruyn, Nicki Flinn (’97), Cathy Tharin (’78); back row, Angie Yetzke, Arye Shannon-Carmichael (’11), Chelsea Harkelroad (’11), Sandy Federico (’96), Terri Vaughan (’91).

IADMS photo

Pictured are some of the members of the Hope family who attended the 25th annual meeting of the International Association of Dance Medicine and Science earlier this month.  From left-to-right are: front row, Madison LaChance (’16), Christina Sarosiek (’16), Kjersten McKinniss (’17); back row, Ashley Ghose (’02), M. Linda Graham, Angela Kiekover.