Arts education

Zachary JenkinsSpecial to The Point Pleasant Register

September 28, 2012

ASHTON — Many West Virginia students have limited arts opportunities due to rural locations and economic challenges — a problem the West Virginia Dance Company tries to remedy.

The West Virginia Dance Company’s “An Invitation to a World of Adventure” had its premiere on Friday at Hannan Junior/Senior High School.

In their performance of “An Invitation to a World of Adventure,” they traveled across the globe to each continent and focused not only on arts but on science, history, math and technology. Students experienced a history lesson on Asia and North America, a cultural lesson on South America and the Oceanic and a science lesson on Europe and Antarctica. While at Hannan, the dance company performed two showings.

After the West Virginia Dance Company performed “An Invitation to a World of Adventure,” they had what was described by those attending as an “intense” workshop with a pre-selected group of 40 students. In the workshop, students learned numerous dancing routines and techniques.

The performance/educational program which premiered at Hannan will be presented to more than 50,000 West Virginia students. Each student in Mason County Schools will also have an opportunity to view the program in February when the West Virginia Dance Company returns.

According to organizers, students in Mason County Schools have the opportunity to view and participate in a variety of visual and performing arts experiences with the support of Superintendent Suzanne Dickens and what they describe as her desire to provide those students with greater arts exposure.

Volunteer Donna Sturgeon Duke acts to coordinate the arts events and activities for all schools. Hannan High School was chosen to host the premiere performance because Duke serves as president of the West Virginia Dance Company Board, another volunteer position. Duke said she knew Hannan would be the perfect school for the West Virginia Dance Company to visit.

“Seeing the faces of the students and recognizing how very engaged and interested they are as they enjoy the show, reminds me of how important these experiences have become,” Duke said.