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HomeNHSDA Award Winners 2017

NDEO's Artistic Merit, Leadership and Academic Achievement Award


Junior and Senior high school students who have been inducted into the National Honor Society for Dance Arts are eligible to apply for this award, one of the highest dance honors program in the US. Candidates for the award must excel in all three categories:
  • Artistic Merit: The candidate demonstrates technical and artistic excellence in dance as evidenced by performing original choreography and submitting an essay describing the intent, inspiration and challenges of their choreography.
  • Leadership: The candidate demonstrates outstanding leadership in and outside the field of dance at the school, community, state, and/or national level as evidenced by a strong resume, recommendation letter and impact of dance essay
  • Academic Achievement: The candidate demonstrates academic excellence with a high cumulative grade point average and superior writing skills found in both submitted essays.
To learn more about the award, click here. To see the 2016 Award Winners, click here.

2017 Winner, Finalists, and Honorable Mentions

Winner - Akylah Cox - Dr. Phillips High School (FL)
Finalist - Maya Addie - Skyline High School (AZ)
Finalist - Miranda Kim - Palos Verde High School (CA)
Honorable Mention - Madison Balsinger - Centerville High School Dance Program (OH)
Honorable Mention - Jordan Gaskin - Woodside High School (VA)
Honorable Mention - Emily Rauchut - Dance Unlimited (CO)

Choreography of Winner and Finalists

Winner - Akylah Cox - Dr. Phillips High School (FL)

My solo - entitled “Patiently Waiting” is intended to take the viewer through my continued work in becoming a true artist. In the beginning, Nina Simone speaks of her compelling self-inflicted duty to reflect the time in which she lives through her art. While choreographing this, I challenged myself to give thought to the current socioeconomic state of our country and create movement that generated true to this. With the combination of the instrumental music by Yann Tiersen it fully allows the observer to experience both Nina Simone’s full enlightenment and my own plight that does not quite meet attainment. Opposed to my typical choreographed works to strictly instrumental music, I found it difficult to move to words without being literal. My biggest take away from this work shopping experience, is that one can venture into layering both successional and oppositional movement without loosing the overall intention. In closing, I believe the piece is thorough representation of my message and in the future, I look to expand the work into a small group dance for showing at a local “Choreographers Showcase"!


Finalist - Maya Addie - Skyline High School (AZ)

The following solo that I have choreographed is called, “Journey.” Journey, an act from traveling from one place to another. Throughout this piece I wanted to showcase my “journey” as a dancer. Since I began dancing at the age of three I have significantly grown technically, physically, and emotionally. Each and every day I strive to be a better dancer and person than I was the day before. With each day there are new challenges, but with a positive attitude and dedication I am able to continue to work towards my goals. This year I am graduating high school and attending college in the fall, which is the next chapter in my life. This dance shows my progression in life as a dancer and person and highlights all of the great that has happened and is bound to happen in the near future. Choreographing has always been a passion of mine since eighth grade when I began to choreograph on others and I have loved it since. Being able to choreograph on myself was a little weird at first because I am so used to producing movement on others, but the process was amazing and anytime that I am given the opportunity to choreograph I seize it. The ability to freely express myself through movement is a blessing in itself and I am grateful for the opportunity I have to be able to dance every day.

Finalist - Miranda Kim - Palos Verde High School (CA)

In my piece titled “Hurricane”, I illustrate finding love, peace, and joy in the midst of darkness and chaos- in the world, or inside of us. My dance represents happiness from the passions that uplift and motivate rather than hurt or discourage. Much of how we perceive the world has to do with our outlook on life. We can all be positive contributors to the attitudes of those around us by spreading love, optimism, and gratitude. The intent of my piece is to inspire others to ‘pay it forward’ by spreading words of encouragement and kindness. One of the biggest challenges I encountered while choreographing this piece was finding ways to exemplify a hurricane. As a solo piece it is difficult to use the full space of a studio or stage. I experimented with various leaps and movements to represent chaos. However, I found that being a hurricane was not what I hoped to convey. Instead, I simply represent myself. How I respond to pressure and chaos is illustrated in this piece. Through the dynamics of my movement, I depict evolving emotions and a development in character. Life itself seems to rush by so rapidly that it’s nearly impossible to slow down and enjoy every moment. My choreography represents the perception of a fast-paced modern age and encompasses the message that peace and love are more powerful than the "hurricanes" in life.