D&E hosts local, national talent for concerts

ELKINS – The talents of local and national performers versed in various forms of dance come together for two high-energy concerts as part of the Davis & Elkins College Dance Festival today and Saturday in Myles Center for the Arts.

The Student and Faculty Concert is scheduled for 8 p.m. today in the Pit, located on the lower level of Myles Center for the Arts. Admission is free. The Festival Concert will take place at 8 p.m. Saturday in Myles Center for the Arts Harper-McNeeley Auditorium. Admission is $10 and tickets can be purchased online at www.dewv.edu/arts-entertainment or at the door.

Today’s concert is a showcase of the latest work from Davis & Elkins dance students and faculty members, along with dancers who regularly perform throughout the area. Dance styles will include modern, blues and traditional


Students will perform as groups, duos and soloists. Featured in the concert are Conner Berkey, a senior from Brandy Station, Va.; Dayna Cooper, a sophomore from Parkersburg; Mia Gresak, a junior from Mount Clare; Jenna Hanifan, a senior from Elkins; Kaia Kater-Hurst, a sophomore from Ontario, Canada; Kelsey Keene, a sophomore from Moatsville; Jorden Lykes, a senior from Prince George, Va.; Matthew Olwell, a sophomore living in Elkins; Millie Omps, a senior from Paw Paw; Sarah Satterwhite, a senior from Farmington, W.Va.; Shakiriah Smalls, a freshman from Washington, D.C.; Ashley Stitely, a senior from Philippi; and Emma Wolfe, a sophomore from Elkins.

“I am very proud of our dance students’ progress over the last few years with my colleagues Laurie Goux, Matthew Kupstas and Becky Hill,” says Davis & Elkins College Dance Program Coordinator and Assistant Professor of Dance Emily Oleson. “My beginning modern dance class is strong, comfortable and confident enough to present a piece that showcases the themes they have studied, which is remarkable – I’m extremely honored to have taught these athletes and performers who are so focused and giving. I’m excited to share our students’ work.”

Also included in the concert is the original premier work “and the Women ” choreographed by D&E Adjunct Professor of Dance Laurie Goux. The piece peers into the aspects of womanhood and is performed by Farrah Bonnell Farley, owner of Dance by Farrah in Elkins and Parsons; Ishah Franks, who has performed at the American Mountain Theater and Orange Blossom Trail Music Hall; Becky Hill, dance director for the Davis & Elkins College Appalachian Ensemble; Kristen McGill, owner of Axis Dance in Elkins; Oleson; Crystina Reseter, guest artist with Alchemy Dance Project in Morgantown; and Goux.

The Festival Concert on Saturday features accomplished dancers from throughout the nation performing a variety of forms including tap, jazz, hip-hop and clogging.

“The caliber of artists that we have coming in for the main Festival Concert is truly world class,” Oleson says.

Among those dance artists are Junious “House” Brickhouse, Ruby Streate and Baakari Wilder.

Brickhouse is founder and executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based Urban Artistry, an internationally recognized Culture and Education Project dedicated to the performance and preservation of art forms inspired by the urban experience. He is also an internationally established dancer, choreographer, community leader and cultural preservationist. In 2009, Brickhouse was honored by Maryland State Arts Council with the Master Teacher Award.

Streate is director of dance and artistic director at the Katherine Dunham Centers for the Arts and Humanities. A dancer, choreographer and historian, Streate has been a member of the Dunahm legacy since 1969. She has performed at Carniegie Hall and Wolf Trap and was a principal performer in Scott Joplin’s opera “Treemonisha.”

Wilder is internationally known for starring in the Broadway musical “Bring In Da Noise, Bring In Da Funk.” He also has appeared in Spike Lee’s “Bamboozled,” Discovery Channel’s “Time Warp” and as a guest performer on FOX’s “So You Think You Can Dance.”

Additional guest artists who will perform in the concert are Diyanna Burton, a teacher and performer with Urban Artistry and member of Assassins Crew DC; Adrian Galvin, a dancer for New York City-based John Zullo/Raw Movement and Queens-based InTW Dance Theater; Rizqi Rachmat, a founding member of Urban Artistry and member of the International Assassins Crew; Lisa Swenton-Eppard, founder and director of Capitol Tap; and Ryan Webb, a member of Urban Artistry and the Assassins Crew.

The three-day Davis & Elkins College Dance Festival also includes workshops led by national dance professionals. For additional information and registration, call the D&E Box Office at 304-637-1255 or the Division of Fine & Performing Arts at 304-637-1212 or visit www.dewv.edu/arts-entertainment.