Shelley Cushman, UNT professor of dance, earned the 2010 University Dance Educator of the Year award from the National Dance Association.
The award was presented in April at the organization's national convention in Indianapolis, Indianna. Cushman received the honor for her teaching methods that inspire and encourage college students to appreciate dance as a performing art and healthy lifestyle.
"Receiving this award honors not only me, but all the incredible teachers, including my colleagues, family and friends, who have invested in my development and the professionals, organizations and institutions that have encouraged and supported my work," Cushman says.
Cushman credits her experience growing up in the public school systems with grounding her in her philosophy and love of teaching.
"Arts and movement were an integral part of the curriculum, and teachers nurtured a sense of lifelong learning and created an environment where the creative process and risk taking was valued," she says.
"This award gives me the opportunity to publicly say thank you to the National Dance Association for this recognition and all of those who have been so generous in sharing their knowledge with me," Cushman says. "I thank and acknowledge the thousands of students who have shared their learning experience with me. Each class of students gives me a laboratory from which to learn and develop my pedagogical methods."
Also at this year's convention, Cushman presented five works from Cinematic Caricatures — a set of dances developed in collaboration with filmmaker Ben Levin, a UNT professor of radio, television and film, and music composer Phil Winsor. The works were presented at the Film Festival for the National Dance Association Program.
As the 2010 award winner, she will present a program at next year's national convention.
Cushman holds a bachelor's degree in English and dance from California State University at Fresno and a master's degree from the University of California at Los Angeles, where she studied choreography, movement therapy and kinesiology.
She performed with the Sara Rudner Dance Ensemble in New York and the Theatre Vangard Improvisational Company in Hollywood, Calif. She has choreographed more than 150 works and served on the faculty of California State University-Fresno, College of Sequoias, and UCLA.
Alyssa Yancey with UNT News Service can be reached at email@example.com.