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Bethany Hansen To Receive Prestigious Award!

Bethany J. Hansen has been awarded the Utah Dance Education Organization Dance Educator of the Year 2019 for Higher Education. This prestigious award will be given at the UDEO Conference on November 2, 2019. Bethany has been the Head of the Salt Lake School for the Performing Arts Dance Department since 2007. She has created the curriculum trajectory and developed courses that prepare our students to be successful in their pursuits upon graduation. Under her direction, the dance department has grown from four-course offerings to seventeen different courses taught by current faculty. She also brings in masterclasses from prominent teachers and guest choreographers. Graduates from the department have gone on to dance professionally with The Walt Disney Company, Central West Ballet, Oklahoma City Ballet, Movement Talent Agency, and Stiletto Entertainment; while others have continued their collegiate study on scholarship at Ailey/Fordham University, Marymount Manhattan College, North Carolina School for the Arts, The Hartt School, Cornish College of the Arts, The Boston Conservatory, CAL Arts, University of the Arts, and many other distinguished programs.

Bethany is a graduate of Brigham Young University (BA) and Jacksonville University (MFA), is a sought-after teacher, choreographer, and performer. Along with directing the program at SLSPA, Bethany is currently serving as the Assistant Chair of the Dance Department at Westminster College (2014-present) and previously she taught at Ricks College and Brigham Young University – Idaho (2000-2004). Bethany has received many awards including the 2016 Howard Gilman Fellowship supporting her MFA, the Sorenson Legacy Award for Excellence in Arts Education 2016 Outstanding Secondary Dance Educator and the SPA Legend award from the Salt Lake School for the Performing Arts.


For almost 20 years, Bethany has been inspiring dancers with her passion for dance education. One student said, “Bethany pushes her students to reach further and exceed what they thought was possible.” Her desire to reach out to every student individually makes her an incredible role model to many. “Bethany puts tremendous amounts of energy, care, and excellence into her pedagogical practice.” She is a passionate teacher who always goes beyond.


Bethany has created over 60 original works for the department at SLSPA, many receiving awards at the Shakespeare Festival, UDEO State Festival, and the Utah Theatre Association. She cherishes her opportunity to train the amazing students at Salt Lake School for the Performing Arts. She enjoys sharing her in-depth research practice, sound pedagogical beliefs and fostering the next generation of movement artists. 

Presentation write up for NDEO Conference:

Bethany J. Hansen, Dance Department Head, and Dance Conservatory Director traveled to Miami, Florida over Fall Break to attend the National Dance Education Organization’s fall conference, The Creative Process: Choreography, Choice-Making, and Communication. She along with Jodie Randolph, Artistic Director of Jodie Randolph Dance, located in Ann Arbor Michigan presented their research titled, “Getting Real: Authenticity and the Creative Process”. This experimental session gave participants the opportunity to discover authenticity by learning ways of generating thematic ideas. These ideas were then experienced through task-based movement improvisation exercises. A sharing session at the end of the workshop provided a visual component of belonging and inclusion. These methods could be practiced with students in a classroom, through public dialogue, and for both emerging and established choreographers. Bethany looks forward to continuing to sharing her research with her students here at Salt Lake School for the Performing Arts.