In 1981, representatives of educational dance programs met in Washington, D.C. to consider the establishment of a specialized accreditation association for education and training programs in dance. At that meeting, the National Association of Schools of Dance was formed, and the constitution, bylaws, code of ethics, rules of practice and procedure, and standards/guidelines for accreditation were approved. Institutions were given the opportunity to become charter members of NASD until June of 1982. Forty-eight institutions became charter members, including ten professional studio schools previously accredited by the Joint Commission on Dance and Theatre Accreditation, and thirty-eight colleges and universities.
The Joint Commission on Dance and Theatre Accreditation (JCDTA) was a joint project of the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), organized to make accreditation available to independent, professional training institutions in dance and theatre to whom accreditation was not otherwise available. NASM and NASAD established the JCDTA on an interim basis until the fields of dance and theatre had comprehensive accrediting agencies; thus, the recognition of NASD by the U.S. Department of Education caused dissolution of the Joint Commission. Between 1982 and 1985, all charter members of NASD, including the schools previously accredited by the Joint Commission on Dance and Theatre Accreditation, underwent review by the Association.