The Delta Record | WV Dance company brings STEAM themed dance to BAES

BUCKHANNON – The West Virginia Dance Company (WVDC) visited Buckhannon Academy Elementary School Friday morning.

Toneta Akers-Toler, founder and general artistic director of the company, noted this specific performance for the incorporated elementary school STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering and the Arts and Mathematics). “We show them through the language of movement, movement is also a language of sound, and costumes are visual art,” Akers-Toler said. She also choreographs dances.

“After our performance today, we will be holding classroom workshops with the students,” Akers-Toler said. She noted that the body can be used to spell words and different movements are counted, which helps in math. “Engineering your body and mind working together helps you retain information better.”

WVDC dancers came from home and border states. Emily Dodrill and Jax McAtee are from West Virginia, while Lauren McBarron and Maria Hildebrand are from Pennsylvania, and Kristina Lewis is from Ohio. According to wvdanceco.com, “Hildebrand was a guest artist at the West Virginia Governor’s School for the Arts and the West Virginia Governor’s Honors Academy with WVDC performing in both concert and virtual film versions of the company’s latest work,” Souvenir: Diary 2020″. In the summer of 2019, Lewis was blessed with her first professional position as a dancer at the Theater West Virginia. McAtee is beyond ecstatic to be back in their home among the hills, dancing as a member of the WV Dance Company.Also in 2019, Dodrill worked as a soloist and member of a dance ensemble with Theater West Virginia, performing in shows such as Annie, Hatfields and McCoys and Paradise Park: The Musical. In April 2021, she was honored to receive the Outstanding Dance Production and Technology Award from SRU Dance Faculty. This will be Lauren’s first season with the West Virginia Dance Company.

The students behaved well and were very engaged during the show. During dance breaks and costume changes, Akers-Toler gave the kids posture lessons and discussed STEAM-based questions with the students, providing input. The students were especially captivated by the “Metamorphosis” dance which ended with the reveal of a monarch butterfly, which is West Virginia’s official butterfly, designated effective March 1, 1955.

For more information and upcoming events, visit wvdanceco.com.

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