The West Virginia Division of Culture and History will conclude its new Collegiate Series this spring with a performance by students and faculty of the WVU College of Creative Arts dance minor program on Monday, April 14, at 7 p.m. The program will be held in the Norman L. Fagan West Virginia State Theater at the Cultural Center, State Capitol Complex in Charleston. The series has consisted of performances and lectures by students and faculty from West Virginia University and Marshall University. First Lady Gayle Manchin is the host of the program. The Collegiate Series is free and open to the public.
The performance, entitled Simply Stated, will consist of eight selections in an eclectic mix of classical ballet, jazz, modern and dance theatre as well as wide-ranging musical numbers by Bo Diddley, Boots Randolph, Hamiet Bluiett of the World Saxophone Quartet and 16th-century Italian composer Giovane Domenico da Nola. Students, faculty including Heather Ahern, director of the dance program, and guest artist Jenny Rocha are showcased in the evening’s program.
“Simple Gifts” with music by Aaron Copland and choreography by faculty member Carole Wiedebusch was originally composed for modern dance giant Martha Graham and is set to a traditional Shaker melody. “Variation for Princess Florina” (Bluebird) from Sleeping Beauty is a classical ballet piece with music by Tchaikovsky. A featured piece, “Beauty Operator,” was choreographed by Rocha, artistic director and choreographer of Rocha Dance Theater in New York City while she was in residence at WVU last October. It is a humorous dance theatre work about a beautician/scientist gone mad, her salon patron and a Greek chorus of beauticians who could double as Stepford wives all trying to create the perfect woman and lure the patron into madness.
Other works include “No One” which was choreographed by a dance minor student, Aislin Crovak, “Blink,” “We All Believe” and “There’s a Groove in My Jam” choreographed by Ahern and “9 Crimes” which was choreographed by students Lauren Hanahan and Rachel Romero.
Ahern is originally from Providence, R.I., where she co-directed, toured, performed and taught with the critically acclaimed Groundwerx Dance Theater for 15 years. As a teacher and as a guest artist, she has both taught and choreographed work for a variety of groups at colleges, universities, and other educational institutions in Arizona, Alaska, and California. Ahern is a certified pilates instructor with a specialized study in dance conditioning. She earned her master’s degree in dance and graduated with honors from California State University in Long Beach.
For more information about the student dance performance, contact Jacqueline Proctor, deputy commissioner for the Division, at (304) 558-0220.
The West Virginia Division of Culture and History, an agency of the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts, brings together the state’s past, present and future through programs and services in the areas of archives and history, the arts, historic preservation and museums. Its administrative offices are located at the Cultural Center in the State Capitol Complex in Charleston, which also houses the state archives and state museum. The Cultural Center is West Virginia’s official showcase for the arts. The agency also operates a network of museums and historic sites across the state. For more information about the Division’s programs, visit www.wvculture.org. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.
- 30 -
Media Note: A photo of the dancers is available.
Photo by: Melissa Moraes
Dance: Beauty Operator by Jenny Rocha (NYC)
Dancers from left to right: Rachel Harring, Rachel Romero, Heidi Milne, Emily Shaffer, Lauren Hanahan, Sarah Stevens, Holly Downs.