2008 Artist in Residency Grant: Wayne Theatre Forms an Alliance with Waynesboro Public Schools

The artist in residency program offered by the Virginia Commission for the Arts has presented a unique opportunity for the Wayne Theatre Alliance and the Waynesboro Public Schools to form a partnership to present a dance experience to Kate Collins Middle School students and teachers.

Together, we wrote a grant to bring a dance and movement artist to Waynesboro. Dr. Sheila Ward, associate professor at Norfolk State University and executive director of Eleone Dance Theatre in Philadelphia, spent 10 days with the middle school students. She presented an interactive dance/movement experience instructing the stucents to engage in a historical journey of black dance from its African roots to today’s night clubs and video scene. They also explored the influence of Indian and European subcultures in the African-American dance community.

From the 270 students reached, a performance group, “The Celebration Dancers,” was formed to dance at the “Celebration of the Arts 2008.” The visual and performing arts festival showcased the Waynesboro Public Schools’ art students on March 4, 2008 at Waynesboro High School.

The coalition of the Wayne Theatre Alliance and the Waynesboro Public Schools brings into evidence the support for the arts that is a foundation of this community. Waynesboro Public Schools has received a record eighteen awards from the Virginia Art Education Association for the quality of the K-12 visual and performing arts youth Art Month program. WPS again won first place in the Blue Ridge Region and second in the state for 2007.