The West Virginia Dance Company Is Performing and Teaching Students at Raleigh County Schools

BECKLEY, WV (WOAY)- In the Woodrow Wilson high school auditorium students across the Raleigh County Schools will gather to watch the West Virginia Dance Company perform their show “Continental Carousel: streaming across the globe.”

The show they are performing is “Through the Continents,” and with their dancing, they are finding ways to connect the movements to core learning subjects such as science and mathematics.

From 10-11 a.m. everyday, starting on Monday, Oct. 30, until Thursday, Nov. 2, they will perform this show for Raleigh County schools.

The West Virginia Dance Company’s mission is to offer high-quality arts education across the state. On top of performing, they will be doing 18 workshops with the students. Toneta Akers-Toler, a founding member and the artistic director for the West Virginia Dance Company, explains how the students can learn from dancing.

“In the workshops we do things like teach the layers in the amazon rainforest. We teach spelling with the body parts. We do lots of music/math examples, and we just love it, and the students love it, and we give them a chance at the end. Because you know what we do is somewhat abstract, although movement language is what every human being does,” said Akers-Toler. “First, we see movement and that communication of movement before we hear. And it’s really neat to have the students reflect at the end of the workshop what they think about things, because we want them to understand that each one of them have experiences, that are the 50% when you watch any art form. It’s their experiences that are reflected. So, there’s not really right or wrong about a piece. A choreographer or a storyteller in movement or sound has their story and the audience has the 50% to see how reflects back to them. And that’s why we do K-12. Our work is accessible to everyone at any age.”

Besides helping students learn through the arts, there’s something else that they hope students will walk away with from the show.

“And we hope that as far as our performance and what we’re trying to teach, that besides getting movements and sound and visual lessons through the costumes, we hope that they’ll understand that people are more similar in the whole entire world than they are different because we’re human. And if we took all the differences that different cultures offer in a positive way and came together, I think human beings could solve any of our issues,” Akers-Toler said.

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