Retired dance professor receives lifetime achievement award

Karen Hubbard, a retired associate professor of dance, received a Lifetime Achievement Award from North Carolina Dance Education Organization at the 2023 conference held at UNC Charlotte.

Hubbard, who has danced on Broadway, television and film, retired in 2022 after teaching in the Department of Dance for 36 years. While at UNC Charlotte, she evolved an innovative approach to teaching Vintage Jazz Dance; the students in her class learned jazz movement from the first half of the 20th century as well as cultural, historical/aesthetic aspects of the form.

“Karen has been involved with our national organization, NDEO, through many conferences and has contributed to the ongoing efforts to ensure that jazz dance is included in dance curricula through historically rooted practices that give credit to the African American founders of the art form and build upon jazz roots as a vernacular form of expression and community,” said Marissa Nesbit, assistant professor of dance education and a founding board member of NCDEO.

Dance Department chair Gretchen Alterowitz noted, “Karen Hubbard’s contributions to dance artists’ and educators’ understandings of jazz dance are so significant. Her work has placed jazz dance in its proper cultural contexts and shown educators how to pass this knowledge along to students.”

The North Carolina Dance Education Organization is the state affiliate of the National Dance Education Organization. The NCDEO Lifetime Achievement Award honors dance educators in North Carolina who have made significant and lasting contributions to dance education in the state throughout their careers.