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WV Dance Company brings original works to Opera House stage


The Pocahontas County Opera House will welcome the West Virginia Dance Company to its stage Saturday, March 19, at 7:30 p.m.
The Beckley-based company has deep Pocahontas County roots.
Formed in 1977 as the Appalachian Dance and Music Ensemble, it was commissioned by the West Virginia Arts and Humanities Council to interpret the poetry of State Poet Laureate and Pocahontas County native Dr. Louise McNeil Pease. Music and dance were especially composed focusing on the strong rhythms, and bold, lean images of her poetry.
The Pocahontas County literary connection is renewed at the March 19 program, with the performance of “Sketches of Fall.” Choreographed by Toneta Akers-Toler, the piece is a reflection on the writing of Pocahontas County native author Pearl S. Buck about the first time she experienced fall in West Virginia. Rich colors and high-energy movement attract the eye, immersing the observer in the vibrant and ever-changing patterns and rhythms of the season.
The program also includes a new piece by the company, “The Mountains Speak,” a collaborative project among West Virginia artists telling a decidedly American story. With choreography by Akers-Toler and Donald Laney, this new work is a reflection upon themes of injustice and perseverance including the strength of women and the role of faith in providing hope. Set to music by fiddle champion Jake Krack and a cappella group Bare Bones, the piece includes vocals by West Virginia storyteller Adam Booth.
Since 2006, the WVDC has completed four, extremely successful two-year multicultural, educational touring programs entitled, “Where in the World Is…?,” “Around the World and Back Again,” “Exploring Global Treasures,” and “Passport for a World Adventure,” which were seen by upwards of 50,000 students and teachers annually. In the fall of 2014, the company began its newest educational tour, “Earth’s Quilt: Common Threads.”
The focus of the company remains in educating the students of the region through arts-based learning with performances, lectures, workshops and residencies. As well as educational performances, the company continues to present American Masterpiece works to public, corporate, and collegiate/university audiences as well throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. WVDC’s concert repertoire includes works by Doug Varone, Geri Houlihan, Eddie Taketa, Donald Laney, Toneta Akers-Toler, Maureen Mansfield Kaddar, Carli Mareneck, and many more.
As part of its Pocahontas County performance, the West Virginia Dance Company is also offering an Improvisational Dance Workshop 3 to 4:30 p.m. at the Marlinton Wellness Center on March 19. Those interested in participating may call the Opera House at 304-799-6645 to register.
Tickets for the March 19 performance are $10 for adults. Youth 17 and younger are admitted free of charge. Tickets are available at the door and in advance at or at the 4th Avenue Gallery in Marlinton.
Performances at the Opera House are informal, family-friendly and open to all. The entrance and main seating are accessible to persons with disabilities. Persons with disabilities are encouraged to attend; special accommodations can be arranged upon request by calling 304-799-6645.
The Opera House Performance Series is presented with financial assistance through a grant from the West Virginia Division of Culture and History and the National Endowment for the Arts, with approval from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts. Support is also provided by Pocahontas County Drama, Fairs and Festivals and the Pocahontas County Convention and Visitors Bureau. West Virginia Dance Company is also presented with support from The Snowshoe Foundation.

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