Dance Masters of America



In 1884, the American National Association Masters of Dancing was founded in Boston, MA and in 1894, the International Masters of Dancing held its first convention in St. Louis, MO.  For several years, attempts were made to bring the two organizations together. In 1926 they held a joint convention at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City and on August 27th, 1926 the two organizations became one and the Dancing Masters of America was formed.  In 1948, the name was changed to Dance Masters of America, Inc. chartered in Hartford, CT.   

Through the dedicated efforts of Mr. Mose Christensen, then President of the American National Association Masters of Dancing, the first Teacher’s Normal School was held in 1918 in New York Ctiy.  Ballet was the only subject taught - with Signor Mascagno as Ballet Master.  Six years later other forms of dance were added.  In 1970 the name was changed to Teachers Training School which was held at Kent State University in Kent, OH. In 1997 the Teachers Training School was moved to the State University of New York at Baffalo, in Buffalo, NY.

Except for the postponements mandated by World War II, the Teachers Training School and/or National Convnetions have been in continuous operation since 1884. 

The first Regional Convention was held in 1953 in Los Angeles to accommodate members unable to attend the National Conventions. In 1991 Regional Conventions were discontinued and all activities since 1991 are now held at the National Convention.

In 1934, Chapters were formed throughout the United States with a Chapter-At-Large to accomodate members who live in areas too far from an established Chapter.  Members outside the United States are in vited to join the Chapter of their choice including the Chapter-At-Large.  Chapters and Affilation Agreements have been issued to two Canadian Chapters.  Dance Masters of America, Inc. is an international organization with members throughout the world.  The organization  has experienced tremendous growth, both in members and in coverage of the dance profession.

The first DMA Annual Award was presented in 1963 to Ernie Flatt and has since been presented annually.  The first Presidents Award was presented in 1994 to Sherry Gold and has since been presented annually. The first Miss Dance of America Scholarship Competition was held in 1963. Since then the Dance Masters of America has expanded their Solo Title Scholarship Competitions to include girls and boys between the ages of seven and twenty-four. 

Since dance education is the forfront of DMA, in 1964, the Convention held in Washington, DC included a “Junior Division of Master Classes”  and the first “Performing Arts Scholarship Competition” and a “Teenage Ballroom Competition”.  

The DMA Scholarship Fund was established on November 25, 1976 with $15,000.00 from a passbook account of DMA.  Upon recieving an additional bequest from the estate of member Edna R. Passapac, as Scholarship Committee was formed in October 1977. 

A long-standing Welfare Fund , now the Friendship Fund was established to assist memers on a temporary basis in an emergency situation such as fire or serious medical need, for which financil assistance is necessary.  The assistance is a most confidential arrangement.

The DMA historian collects and maintains memoravillia of the national organization and portects the integrity of the contents.  Photgraphs and written recors date back to the origin of DMA.

The Past Presidents’ Council was formed in 1978 - compised of the National Past Presidents so that DMA may continue to benefit from their knowledge and experience after they leave office. They also serve as the DMA Ethics Committee and are available for decisions in that area.

DMA is constantly striving to maintain excellence in dance education which is the keystoen of this organization.  Manuals and DVD Suppliments, in each area of dance are available to members and non-members alike. They manual are a great asset for members and non-member to use a teaching guide and learning tool or to assist non-member to prepare for DMA Membership Examinations. The Manuals are constantly scrutinized, updated and upgraded so that we may remain on top of the constantly volving world of dance ecducation.

The DMA Student Honors Intensive Program (S.H.I.P.) for advanced students of dance between the ages of 13 and 18 was added to the list of educational venues.  This program was designed to help expand their knoweledge of dance both technically and artistically and prepare them for the professional job demands of today. 

When Dance Masters of America entered into its 125th Anniverary Year of Celebration the National Board of Directors with the approval of the membership renewed our dedication to teaching the Art of Dance with a renewed mission statement that reads:

The Dance Master of America is a professional, certified membership organization of artists

and educators committed to the elevation of the art of dance and to provide innovative artistic

expereinces for the advancement of dance worldwide. 




The Mission of DMA

The Dance Masters of America is a professional, certified membership organization of artists and educators committed to the elevation of the art of dance and to provide innovative artistic experiences for the advancement of dance worldwide.


The Objectives of DMA

  • enable dance educators and their students to meet for a cooperative and collective study of their profession; 
  • advance the art of dance and improve the practices of its teachings; 
  • strive for the mutual interest and fraternal cooperation of its members; 
  • aid young dancers and dance teachers by awarding educational dance scholarships to accredited colleges; 
  • private schools of dance, educational and/or DMA educational workshops or conventions.


The Standards of DMA

Dance Masters of America has set certain standards which will develop desirable conduct to promote the dignity, integrity and public image of the dance profession. Dance Masters of America and its members recognize that a higher standard of personal behavior is expected of an educator.  The personal behavior of its members shall not be disorderly, lewd, or indecent. This includes public, physical or verbal action; language commonly considered offensive; or distribution of obscene or libelous written or electronic material.  Dance Masters of America shall not tolerate movement that is sexually offensive; costuming that allows exposure of private body parts or is not age appropriate. The purpose of this standard is not to restrict members, or participant’s rights, but to protect the rights of individuals to pursue a dance education.


The Code of Ethics of DMA

This Code of Ethics shall apply to all members and the term “teacher” and or “educator” as used in this code includes all members of DMA. This code seeks to set standards for members and to provide guidelines for the development of desirable conduct which will promote the dignity, integrity and public image of the dance profession, DMA and its members.

  • The teacher shall create and maintain a professional image. The creation and maintenance of a professional image imposes on the teacher a number of professional and ethical responsibilities, some of which are embodied within this Code of Ethics.
  • An educator’s first professional responsibility is to the enhancement of the quality of dance education provided to the students in his/her charge.  
  •  In furtherance thereof, the educator shall strive to improve his/her techniques for teaching all types of dance, especially as modified or revised in accordance with the progress of dance education by the DMA. Teachers shall make a constant and consistent effort to improve professionally through continual study, knowing that “Dance is a Living Art”.
  •  The teacher shares a collective responsibility to work for the good of DMA, to uphold its educational goals and standards, and to abide by and uphold its Charter, Bylaws, Code of Ethics, Standing Rules and other policies.  A teacher or group of teachers shall not make unauthorized representations to outside people or other organizations on behalf of DMA or its Affiliated Chapters.
  •  It is the educator’s responsibility to maintain relationships with students, assistants and employees on a professional basis.  DMA recognizes the trust placed in as well as the unique power of the student-teacher relationship.  The teacher-student relationship also shall include the teacher’s assistants and employees.  The teacher-student relationship involves a power of imbalance. Therefore, the teacher shall not engage in harassment, abusive words or actions.
  • All forms of sexual behavior or harassment with students are unethical, even when students invite or consent to such behavior involvement.  Sexual behavior is defined as, but not limited to, all forms of overt and covert seductive speech, gestures, and behavior, such as physical contact of a sexual nature. Harassment is defined, but not limited to, comments, gestures or physical contacts of a sexual nature.
  • DMA recognizes that a higher standard of personal behavior is expected of an educator because students, assistants and employees perceive the teacher as an example of integrity.  The personal behavior of a teacher shall be legal, ethical and moral; and appropriate assistance shall be sought by the teacher for personal problems and conflicts, which may affect the teacher’s public image. The teacher’s behavior shall always reflect that the teacher is aware that he/she is considered an example to students, assistants and employees.
  • The educator and his or her agents shall extend due respect to his/her colleagues, and be willing to work with them professionally, regardless of age, sex, nationality, ethnic origin, status, religion or political affiliation, qualification or personal differences.  The teacher shall not knowingly solicit another teacher’s students. 
  • Any advertising, including but not limited to announcements, public statements and promotional activities, shall not misrepresent professional qualifications, or contain any false, fraudulent, misleading, deceptive or unfair statements.
  • Fees and financial arrangements should always be disclosed in writing without hesitation or equivocation before the commencement of dance instruction.  
  • All fees charged shall be of a standard which upholds the dignity of the dance profession.  All fiscal affairs shall be conducted with due regards to recognized business and accounting procedures.