TAD recognizes exceptional contributions to the field through four awards for professionals, awards for student choreography and scholarship opportunities for students pursuing summer study in dance.

We are currently accepting nominations for our the Margaret Martin, Dance Advocate, and Outstanding Dance Teacher Awards. Nominations must be post marked by August 20, 2018.


The Margaret Martin Award is TAD’s highest honor. Named for one of the founding board members of the organization, the award is given to those who have made an impact on the Tennessee dance community. The Award recognizes consistently outstanding contributions in furthering the public image and accessibility of dance in Tennessee. 

Candidates for this Award may encompass individuals as well as organizations, and need not be limited to performing artists, teachers, or choreographers.  Candidates should have been actively involved with dance for at least five years.

Areas of service to dance include but are not limited to:

  • Artistic Achievement
  • Arts Management
  • Audience Development
  • Complementary Arts Activity (journalism, technical support, photography, etc.)
  • Education
  • Funding
  • Volunteer Service

Follow this LINK to nominate someone for the  Margaret Martin Award.

2017 Awardee: The Tennessee Arts Commission

2016 Awardee: Amy Morton Vaughn of Appalachian Ballet Company & Van Metre School of Dance, Maryville, TN


The Outstanding Dance Educator Award, is a peer award that honors excellence in teaching dance. This peer award honors the fine professionals working in Tennessee and also earns public recognition for the importance of dance education. The honoree is awarded a plaque at the Tennessee Dance Festival and receives free annual membership and conference registration the following year.

The Outstanding Dance Educator Award recognizes and honors excellence in the field of dance education. The recipient must have a minimum of five years experience teaching dance within the state of Tennessee, hold current individual professional membership of the Tennessee Association of Dance and have been a member of TAD for at least three out of the last five years

Follow this LINK to nominate someone for the Outstanding Dance Educator Award.

2017 Awardee: Valeria Sinyavskaya, Artistic Director of Kingsport Ballet, Kingsport, TN

2016 Awardee: Lisa Hall McKee of Studio Arts for Dancers & Go! Contemporary Dance Works, Knoxville, TN


The Dance Advocate Award recognizes individuals or corporations that are noted for generating interest in the art of dance at the local or state level. 

Preference will be given to those who have supported the Tennessee Association of Dance or its member companies.  This award may be bestowed upon anyone who has made a significant contribution to dance.

Follow this LINK to nominate someone for the Dance Advocate Award.

2017 Awardee: Kathryn Wilkening from Nashville Metro Parks, Nashville, TN

2015 Awardee: Kids on Stage Foundation of Maury County


Cathie ault kasch student choreography project

The Cathie Ault Kasch Student Choreography Project is designed to encourage leadership, creativity, and collaboration for TAD student members between the ages of 16-22 during the Tennessee Dance Festival. The adjudicated lunchtime concert provides a performing outlet to support their choreographic work. The feedback session, led by the same faculty adjudicators, is designed to give choreographer's objective, supportive input on their work and direction to hone their abilities. Monetary awards will be given to the top three works as adjudicated on the Saturday concert.

2017 Awardees in no particular order

Chyna Clark from Center for Creative Arts and Ballet Tennessee

Katherine Stamey from Girls Preparatory School

Reagan Sanborn from Girls Preparatory School

2016 Awardees: 

Rachel Miller & Tarrisha Hicks from Middle Tennessee State University

Trevor Edwards & Hannah McCarthy from Western Kentucky University

Reagan Sanborn from Girls Preparatory School

Honorable Mention: Jessie Faircloth from Center for Creative Arts

2015 Awardees:

Isabelle McCurdy from Chattanooga Center for Creative Arts

Emilia Stuart from Franklin School of Performing Arts

Stephanie Byndloss from Atlanta Academy of Ballet and Dance

                       Professional Development Award 

                      Professional Development Award 

The Judith Woodruff Professional Development Award. This award gives a monetary grant for professional development in dance. 

TAD is currently not accepting nominations for the Judith Woodruff Professional Development Award. Nomination cycle closes April 15th.

2017 Awardee: Lauren Wilson Phillis from Beaumont Magnet Academy in Knoxville, TN

Summer Study scholarships

Three $500 Scholarships for summer study are awarded each year to dance students between the ages of 14-22.  The Kitty Sharp Scholarship, Van R. Ault Scholarship, and Mary Willie Scholarship are awarded at TAD's annual Tennessee Dance Festival. Festival Faculty Members from outside Tennessee adjudicate an audition class in ballet, modern, and jazz technique. Each winner must use his/her award to attend an intensive national summer program. Some programs attended by previous winners are UNC North Carolina School of the Arts, American Dance Festival, Alonzo King LINES Ballet School, Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Bates Dance Festival, and the Julliard School. 

2017 Awardees

Van R. Ault Scholarship- Abigail Herron from Ballet Tennessee

TAD Allegro Scholarship- Abigail Denning from Ballet Tennessee

TAD Adagio Scholarship- Anna Mains from the Nashville Ballet

Alternates: Jasmine Blackburn from Nashville School of the Arts, Delaney Shelton from Kingsport Ballet, Emilie Sears from Franklin School of Performing Arts.

USA International Ballet Competition Scholarships: Graham Barnes, Chyna Clark, Abigail Denning, Abigail Herron, Anna Mains

2016 Awardees:

Kitty Sharp Scholarship- Rachel Miller from MTSU/ Murfreesboro, TN

Van R. Ault Scholarship- Chyna Clark from Ballet Tennessee and Center for Creative Arts/ Hixson, TN

Mary Willie Scholarship- Alayna Farmer from Kingsport Ballet/ Kingsport, TN

Alternates for Scholarships: Grace Farrell, Emily Whitehorn, Selah Tiblier

2015 Awardees:

Kitty Sharp Scholarship- Catherine Cooley from Dancer's Studio and Studio Arts for Dancers/Knoxville, TN

Van R. Ault Scholarship- Abby Fish from Kingsport Ballet/ Morristown, TN

Mary Willie Scholarship- Emma Brown from Kingsport Ballet/ Chuckey, TN

Alternates for Scholarships: Bridget Perry, Lily Farrar and Rachel Frey