W.Va. Dance Company On Tap

The West Virginia Dance Company, a professional troupe with close ties to the Northern Panhandle, is planning a fun-filled fundraiser this week.

The dance troupe’s Black, White and Red-Hot Gala will take place at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center Saturday, Aug. 28. A cocktail hour starts at 6 p.m., with gaming at 7 p.m. The event will include a silent auction (featuring sports memorabilia, vacation packages and artwork), live music, “heavy” hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar.

Two Marshall County educators – teacher Mary Hanley and speech pathologist Kathy Freeland – serve as members of the board of the West Virginia Dance Company. They noted that the dancers have made regular, frequent appearances in Northern Panhandle schools and other area venues.

“The West Virginia Dance Company has been the only West Virginia touring company for the past 30-some years,” Hanley remarked. In recognition of its contributions to the Mountain State’s cultural and educational awareness, the group is the recipient of the 2010 West Virginia Governor’s Arts in Education Award.

In addition, the West Virginia Dance Company has been in residence for the Governor’s School for the Arts on the campus of West Liberty University the past few summers. The troupe has performed for Strand Theatre Preservation Society events on four occasions and has appeared in performances sponsored by ArtsLink, the arts council for Wetzel and Tyler counties.

Donald Laney, one of the dance company’s principal dancers, served as choreographer for the Strand Theatre’s production of the musical, “Footloose,” last year.

The West Virginia Dance Company has performed in Ohio, Marshall and Wetzel counties. The troupe, which has been visiting Marshall County schools since 2005, will be returning this coming winter, Freeland said.

“West Virginia has instructional goals and objectives for dance” for public school students, Hanley pointed out. “They (the West Virginia Dance Company members) are helping the state meet these goals.”

This fall, the dance company will begin its 34th touring season with a new education arts program for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. The program, “Exploring Global Treasures,” will feature seven original, modern dance works.

For tickets and more information about the Black, White and Red-Hot Gala, send an e-mail message to info@wvdanceco.com or call 304-929-2274.

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Quantum Theatre, the Pittsburgh theatrical company founded by former Triadelphia resident Karla Boos, is inaugurating its 20th anniversary with another world premiere, “The Howling Miller.”

Boos, who is Quantum’s artistic director, and Peter Duschenes adapted the play from a novel written by bestselling Finnish novelist Arto Paasilinna. The work, they said, “evokes a land energized with unconquerable summer light, interrupted by bouts of darkness and shadow.”

The final performance of “The Howling Miller,” which is being staged outdoors, takes place at Frick Environmental Center, located at 2005 Beechwood Blvd. in Pittsburgh, at 8 p.m. today, Aug. 22. Quantum officials said their designers have transformed “the landscape around the center into mysterious Lapland.”

Linda Comins can be reached via e-mail at: Comins@news-register.net