Edited from a Press Release
WV Dance Company Celebrates STEAM  Funding, Asks for Donations
June 20th is West Virginia Day and this year, WV Dance Company is celebrating. Thanks to the launch of its new STEAM Fund for Arts Education and the support of partners such as the WV Division of Culture and History, Carter Family Foundation, Beckley Area Foundation and EQT Foundation, the company has completed its 40th touring season with performances for community audiences and K-12 students in every corner of the state.
 

As the only professional touring dance company in the state, WV Dance Company contributes to the state’s artistic and cultural offerings by creating dance works that are inspired by WV’s rich cultural heritage.  

Spotlight WV Magazine and WVU Dance Professor Maureen Mansfield-Kaddar describes WV Dance Company’s work as “art that speaks to the spirit.” This is especially evident in the work of Founder and Managing Artistic Director, Toneta Akers-Toler, and Producing Artistic Director, Donald Laney. Together, their past works have portrayed the broad spectrum of life in the coalfield communities, including the melting pot of immigrant cultures, the role of women and faith, and aspects of mining itself.

  Other themes addressed in their work include the vibrancy of fall in WV’s mountains and, in an upcoming new work, a celebration of “maker culture,” inspired by WV’s own artists. Few other organizations have been as committed to preserving WV history and culture through the performing arts and in making this important work accessible to every West Virginian. WV Dance Company performs for audiences everywhere, even in the state’s smallest, most remote communities, and over its history has performed in all 55 WV counties. WV Dance Company annually reaches over 20,000 West Virginians each year.

  In addition to preserving WV history, WV Dance Company contributes significantly to the state’s education system by producing high-quality, professional arts integration programs for K-12 students.    

Its current tour, It’s Your World, Full STEAM Ahead takes students on a journey around the world with dances that represent each of the seven continents and teach related lessons in math, science, history, literature and culture. The company’s workshops teach science in a unique and memorable way through creative movement and show teachers how to incorporate movement into their classrooms on a more regular basis.

    “I am always looking for unique, creative ways to teach my students and to find ways to make the information they learn fun, interactive, hands-on, and engaging,” says Taylor Brown of Glen Fork Elementary School. “I have found that students learn best when they can get up and get moving and  use their bodies along with their minds to learn. I could not have been more thrilled with the workshop that WVDC held with my students last year. They were so excited to learn, and talked about it for the rest of the day!”  

  WV Dance Company’s STEAM Fund for Arts Education was created in 2016 to support the company’s work in WV Schools. Funds raised through community donors and business sponsors allow for reduced- rate or free programs for schools in need throughout the state.

  Schools in McDowell County benefited last year and schools in Boone, Fayette and others will have access to the program in the 2017-18. As many schools face budget challenges and the need to reduce spending, this support is more needed than ever to ensure that creative, engaging arts programs can be made available to our students.    

This WV Day, consider supporting WV Dance Company’s STEAM Fund for Arts Education. WV students need your help! Our goal is to raise $5,000 for schools in need. For more information, go to WVDanceCo.com and to see daily videos celebrating WV Dance Company’s commitment to our great state, see our West Virginia Dance Company Facebook page.