Perpich News

Mary Harding, Dance Instructor, Presents at National Dance Education Organization Conference

Harding is pictured (center) with Dr. Betsy Maloney-Leaf (right), Lecturer in the Arts in Education program at the University of Minnesota and Rae Charles Harge (left), Minnesota Department of Education’s Arts & Equity Specialist.

November 2, 2022

Mary Harding, Perpich Dance Instructor and Dance Education Specialist, was a presenter at the national conference of National Dance Education Organization (NDEO) in late October, 2022. Harding presented the breakout session titled “Examining the Understory of Dance Classrooms: A Culturally Relevant Approach to Student Learning” alongside Dr. Betsy Maloney-Leaf, Lecturer in the Arts in Education program at the University of Minnesota. The conference, LET’S MAKE DANCE TOGETHER: REIGNITING THE CREATIVE SPARK, was Saturday, October 29 – Monday, October 31, 2022 in Atlanta, GA.

“This year’s conference was a thrilling experience,” said Harding. “The simple action of being together was empowering. I was brought to tears in many sessions as I witnessed the strength and talent of dance teachers across the nation. My thinking was pushed in many research sessions. Connections were everywhere, from the joy of seeing colleagues of 20 years to getting to know people who I have only worked with on screen. Mentorship was everywhere: Perpich alumni and students of Perpich alumni in sessions, original members of NDEO at events, Minnesota educators presenting at poster sessions, and Perpich Board member, LaTia Childers, meeting the mentorship chair to volunteer. So many experiences to bring back to my students and the Minnesota Dance Education community.” Mary also met up with Aliseea Harwood (Dance 2017). Harwood is Dance Specialist and Extended Programs Coordinator at Mirman School, a private K-8 coed school in Los Angeles, CA.

Harding is pictured with Aliseea Harwood (Dance 2017). Harwood is Dance Specialist and Extended Programs Coordinator at Mirman School, a private K-8 coed school in Los Angeles, CA.

The National Dance Education Organization (NDEO) is a non-profit, membership organization dedicated to advancing dance education centered in the arts for people of all backgrounds. NDEO provides dance artists, educators, and administrators of all backgrounds a network of resources and support, a base for advocacy and research, and access to professional development opportunities that focus on the importance of dance in the human experience. Harding currently serves on the Board of Directors for NDEO. In this role, she has worked on the Justice, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion audit, the By-laws Committee, and the Strategic Planning Committee. These opportunities build skills and knowledge that Harding uses to support the Minnesota dance educators.

Mary Harding has been head of the dance program at Perpich Arts High School since 1990. She created the curriculum for the current program and teaches the dance majors as well as elective courses. She has also worked on the Minnesota FACS (Framework for Arts Curriculum) project, the Minnesota Arts Standards and has presented at the Minnesota Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development conference, Minnesota DAPE conference, national and state AAPHERD conventions and at the Minnesota Dance Educator’s Coalition workshops. In her dance career she has performed professionally with ballet, jazz and modern companies in repertory ranging from Pas de Quatre to works by Bebe Miller. While a member of the Zenon Dance Company, Harding taught master classes and dance residencies in schools across the nation. In addition to her work at the arts high school, she continues to freelance as a choreographer, performer and teacher in the Twin Cities. She received the SURDNA Arts Teachers Fellowship for 2002 and studied at Bates Dance Festival as a result of this fellowship. The National Dance Association and Sportime named her the National Dance Teacher of the Year for 2002 and she was a featured teacher in the Annenberg Foundation’s video series “The Art of Teaching the Arts” which premiered in 2005. She received a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the College of St. Catherine. Her research, “Peer Coaching in the Arts Classroom,” received the Sister Ann Harvey Action Research Award in 2008 and was published in the June 2009 edition of Journal of Dance Education. Her article, “Assessment in the High School Technique Class: Creating Thinking Dancers,” was published in the September 2012 issue of the Journal of Dance Education.