Skip to main content

 SRU Dance Major Wins National Award 



April 28, 2005

Contact: Gordon Ovenshine 724-738-4854;  


SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – For her research paper on how the media and dance education affect dancers’ development of body image, Slippery Rock University dance major Melinda Planey has received the 2005 Student Literary Award from the National Dance Association.

“I am truly honored,” Planey, of Austintown, Ohio, said. “I hope my research will assist in bringing attention to some important issues in dance education.” 

The association’s review committee, comprised of dance faculty from around the U.S., selected Planey’s “A Dancer’s Body: Instrument or Enemy” at the association’s recent convention in Chicago. The Student Literary Award recognizes quality scholarship and writing on dance education by college students.

An edited version of her paper is scheduled to appear in Gold Rush Magazine, a new dance magazine, said Colleen Hearn Dean, program coordinator for the National Dance Association. The agency also plans to post her paper on its Web site. 

Planey found that media and societal influences, along with certain aspects of the dance classroom environment, negatively impact the body image of both male and female dancers. “I also found that with appropriate knowledge, awareness and compassion, dance teachers have the power to create an atmosphere that fosters positive body image in their dancers,” she said.

She conducted her research through using books, journal articles and the Internet. 

Advisers from universities nationwide submitted student manuscripts for award consideration. SRU’s Thom Cobb, associate professor of dance, submitted Planey’s paper.

Planey transferred to SRU from Youngstown State University three years ago. She has performed with SRU Dance Theater, experimented with dance technology and created the  original choreography “Ethereal Innocence,” performed by another dance student at SRU’s Senior Synthesis Concert. Planey plans on pursing a career in arts management.

           The National Dance Association is an association of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. It promotes and supports creative and healthy lifestyles through programs in dance education.

#PN, PR, PgN









Click here to view the Economic Impact Report

Click here to view the Economic Impact Report