Dear Members,

DMA’s travels to the West Coast for the National Convention in Anaheim, California proved to be a great success. Every time I walked down the halls I witnessed smiles on every face. It was not just because we were in the land of “Mickey”, it was because people were genuinely happy to be there. With the convention theme of “Gotta Dance”, it was very evident that our love for the art form is what brought us all together. Granted it was a smaller convention than normal, but there was a feeling of camaraderie among teachers, students and parents that resulted in an extremely positive event. Affirmative attitude was also the theme in our business meetings. It was wonderful to see every delegate engaged in the Board discussions and so many members attending the Grand Body meetings. On a very special note, there were many young teachers present who were part of the DMA past, either as past participants in competitions or taking workshop classes. Many of them expressed how great it was to be back and that it felt like coming home. What an amazing endorsement for DMA.

Madam President, Phyllis Guy, opened the convention with a first class reception, entitled “DMA Academy Presents”. The Oscar event was a fitting backdrop for our special members, Amy Deloughy, named Member of the Year and Jill Chase receiving the Zee Brown Ahern Award. Twentyfiveyear members were also recognized and awarded. Next we were off to the Welcome Party, with a lively “Footloose” theme. The opening numbers, for the party, certainly reflected high energy and spirit. The remainder of the week was packed with exceptional talent in our Performing Arts, Solo Title, Open Scholarship and Grand National Championship Competitions. Our hats are off to all the winners who received thousands of dollars in cash and scholarship awards.

The 128th annual banquet was truly an “Affair to Remember”. The ballroom resembled a fairyland, trimmed in black and silver with twinkling lights peeking from snow white branches on every table. A beautiful liturgical number, choreographed by Past President, Jill Chase, opened the festivities. Our illustrious awardees were all in attendance to be honored. Miriam Nelson received the Annual Award, Denise Wall received the Presidents’ Award and Debbie Allen was the recipient of the DMA Lifetime Achievement Award. Madam President, Phyllis Guy, surprised us all with a Mardi Gras Mambo which was so much fun!

In the year to come, I hope that every member of every chapter will reach out to a young teacher and encourage them to join Dance Masters of America. With our Student Honors Program and Teachers Training School along with chapter events, examination forums, not to mention our Degreed and Professional membership tiers, there is not another organization in the world like us.

I wish you all a successful year in your studios and I am looking forward to seeing y’all in New Orleans for the 129th DMA National Convention this coming summer.

God Bless

Shely Pack-Manning

DMA National President

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