Idaho State University professor helps establish Idaho Dance Education Organization; inaugural dance conference to be held Sept. 26 on ISU’s campus

POCATELLO – This summer Idaho State University dance professor Molly Jorgensen helped establish the Idaho Dance Education Organization (IDEO), the first National Dance Education Organization state affiliate in Idaho, with dance educators from across Idaho.

The IDEO was established when members of the executive committee for the Idaho State Department of Education met to revise the state art standards for K-12 grades. Members of that board included Jorgensen and Rachel Swenson, teaching artist for Idaho Commission on the Arts and the Utah Arts Council, and dance specialist at Idaho Fine Arts Academy, and other future IDEO board members. The two dance educators realized that Idaho needed a large organization to help bring more dance education into schools.

The group first met in February and created the necessary requirements to become an official nonprofit organization. The IDEO board of directors features Jorgensen as the treasurer, Swenson as president and Secretary Gary Larsen, dance department chair and professor at Brigham Young University-Idaho.

The first IDEO conference will be held Sept. 26 on the ISU Pocatello campus.

The first IDEO conference will be held Sept. 26 on the ISU Pocatello campus.

As an organization, the IDEO will develop and strengthen networks with state and national agencies, which includes arts and education associations, businesses and corporations and philanthropic foundations. It will also advocate for dance education, strengthen communication among teaching arts workforces, and encourage and support local, state, and national policies, which help will advance dance as arts education.

“The IDEO is a way to bring dance artists and educators in Idaho together to network, collaborate and educate, as well as bringing more dance into our schools,” Jorgensen said.

“With IDEO, Idaho dance educators can have dual membership with the National Dance Education Organization,” Swenson said. “This gives Idaho dance educators opportunity to network, attend online professional developments courses, attend national dance conferences, apply to present or be printed nationally, receive the NDEO dance journal, be a part of national forums for dance advocacy, dance assessment, job opportunities, and many more helpful tools and resources. Idaho dance education will be enriched through having a state affiliate to NDEO.”

Dance professor Lauralee Zimmerly and ISU’s National Honor Society for Dance Arts (NHSDA) will also be involved with IDEO. Students in NHSDA will help with the conference, and IDEO will help the club and recognize these outstanding students in dance. Zimmerly is ISU’s NHSDA advisor.

The first IDEO conference will be held on Sept. 26 on ISU’s campus. The conference theme is “Brain Dance” and will feature workshops about how dancing helps the brain. There will a keynote presenter by Terry Goetz from Seattle, and breakout session presentations from various educators from all over Idaho. The breakout sessions range from technique, improvisation, composition, kinesiology, Laban fundamentals, Pilates, action research, creative dance and world dance.

The conference will help educators learn how to incorporate dance into their curriculum to improve students learning. There will be a dance performance open to the public. The performance will feature dance artists like Ballet Idaho, ISU dancers, BYU-Idaho dancers, University of Idaho dancers, any more dance groups from various entities. Tickets for the performance are $10 for non-conference attendees.

There will be a professional development workshop for K-12 educators on Friday, Sept. 25 and credit may be earned through ISU.

During the conference, ISU emeritus faculty member Marcia Lloyd will be presented with the IDEO Lifetime Achievement Award, which is given for exemplary leadership, scholarship and/or artistry and philanthropy or service to dance education. Lloyd is an Idaho dance educator, accomplished writer for dance who travels the world sharing and teaching dance education.

To register for the IDEO Inaugural Conference, visit idahodeo.org. Tickets are $25 for high school and college students, and $50 for the general public, and can also be purchased online. Tickets for the dance performance can be purchased online as well.