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West Virginia Dance Company to perform April 10

ISSUED: 29 March 2024
MEDIA CONTACT: Cecelia Mason

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — Shepherd University will host a special performance by the West Virginia Dance Company on Wednesday, April 10, at 7 p.m. in the Frank Arts Center Theater. This program, sponsored by the Office of Student Activities and Leadership in partnership with the Center for Appalachian Studies and Communities, is free to Shepherd students and by donation for others. The program will highlight West Virginia themes and history with pieces for audiences of all ages.

“It has been more than four years since we have presented professional dance at Shepherd, and we are thrilled to be able to share this special company with our community,” says Rachael Meads, director of student activities and leadership.

Photo of West Virginia Dance Company dancers performing on stage.The centerpiece of this performance is “Suite West Virginia in Six Stories” about West Virginia’s history, communities, and struggle, which includes a story about women coal miners by award-winning storyteller and Shepherd adjunct Appalachian Studies instructor Adam Booth. The program also includes “Acoustic Translation,” a new work of choreography by Dane Toney with original music by Dr. Richard Grimes; “Bereft,” choreographed and performed by Christine Hallinger; and the audience favorite “Mercy!” by internationally renowned dancer Gerri Houlihan set in the 1950s.

Founded in 1977, West Virginia Dance Company is the state’s only professional dance company and features highly-trained dancers under the artistic direction of founder Toneta Akens Toler. She been recognized with numerous awards and has served as a dancer, actress, choreographer, and master teacher for Theatre West Virginia since 1974 and as a teaching professor for the West Virginia Governor’s Honors Academy since 2014.

Recognized for artistic achievement and excellence in arts education, West Virginia Dance Company has toured throughout West Virginia and 14 other states, reaching tens of thousands of people each year. During its visit to the Eastern Panhandle, the company will perform for Shepherdstown Elementary School and Jefferson High School.

Tickets to the April 10 performance may be reserved by emailing Rachael Meads

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