Founder/Managing Artistic Director/Choreographer
Toneta is the Founder and Co-Artistic Director of West Virginia’s only professional touring dance company in the history of the state. Toneta’s awards include the 2005 WV Governor’s Arts Award for “Excellence in the Arts,” WV Woman of the year in 1989 by the WV Women’s Commission and the WV Federation of Women’s Clubs, and Monticello Scholarship for Choreography from the National Association of Regional Ballet. Toneta has served as Choreographer and Master Teacher for Theatre West Virginia since 1983. WVDC was chosen for the National Endowment – WV Commission on the Arts pilot project, Arts in the Classroom which involved an eighty-eight school tour. Her premiere dance presentation of the Glass Menagerie with the Greenbrier Valley Theatre through the Challenge America Grant by the National Endowment for the Arts and the WV Commission on the Arts was listed in the Charleston Gazette as “The Best Arts Event in 2002.”
Toneta graduated from Point Park University in 1977 where she studied with and became friends with Leonide Massine who greatly influenced her ambitions to become a choreographer. While at Point Park, she trained in ballet with Edward Caton, Graham with Judith Leifer and Luigi jazz technique with Ron Tassone.
Her studies at Point Park included theatre and acting training from Tom Thomas, Jim Prescott, Cecil Kitkat and Alan Clarey. Toneta continued her studies in New York City at Alvin Ailey’s American Dance Center where she was demonstrator for Hector Mercado’s jazz class, received a certificate from Gelabert’s Dance Kinetic Institute, studied with Pearl Lang and others at the Martha Graham School, ballet with David Howard and Finis Jhung among many other daily classes. Toneta attended the American Dance Festival’s six weeks training program for three summers. She studied intensely with Betty Jones for eighteen weeks. Other studies that have greatly influenced her work were Anna Sokolow, Lucas Hoving, Daniel Nagrin, Stuart Hodes, Gerri Houlihan and Doug Varrone.
She has taught workshops on many WVDC tours throughout West Virginia as well as 13 other states and Brazil. Toneta has been the master teacher for the WV Fine Arts Teachers Academy and has been both a master teacher and performer at the WV Governor’s Honors Academy.
Producing Artistic Director/Tour Manager/Dancer/Choreographer
Donald graduated from the University of California, Irvine, with his MFA in dance in 2004. Before entering the graduate program at UCI, Donald performed with the West Virginia Dance Company, Houlihan & Dancers (Miami, FL), Randy James Dance Worx (NYC), and X-Factor (NC), with many guest appearances throughout the Mid-Atlantic states.
While attending UCI, he had the opportunity to perform for Donald McKayle, Loretta Livingston, Lisa Naugle, and Christine Chrest, as well as presenting his own choreography which was chosen to represent UCI at ACDFA in 2003 and 2004. Donald’s work with Lisa Naugle and John Crawford has produced three dance videos that have been presented at the Lincoln Center and in dance video conferences in Yugoslavia, Japan, New Jersey, Michigan, Arizona, and at the American Dance Festival in Durham, NC.
Donald has taught at Wesleyan College, James Madison University, UCI, Lees-McRae College, ACDFA-Southwest region and at many regional events. Since the summer of 2005, he has been the modern dance instructor at the WV Governor’s School of the Arts.
Aymen Robertson - Dancer
Aymen Robertson is originally from Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He graduated from University of North Carolina Greensboro College with a BFA degree in dance. In college, he studied under choreographers and faculty member such as B.J. Sullivan, Jan Van Dyke, Eluza Santos, John Gamble, Duane Cyrus and many other faculty and graduate students. While attending college, he performed and danced with the John Gamble Dance Theater company and Cyrus Art Productions. Aymen has performed as a dancer in the historic dramas and Broadway musicals with Theatre West Virginia for seven seasons and has served as Dance Captain for three seasons. Aymen has also performed with the Trillium Performing Arts Collective, under the choreography of Carli Maraneck and Beth White. This is his fifth season dancing with the West Virginia Dance Company and is excited to be back.
Brittany Diaz – Dancer
From Midlothian, VA, Brittany just graduated from James Madison University with a BA in both Dance and Communication Studies. She has studied with artists such as Sonia Rafferty, Vincent Thomas, Laurie Eisenhower, Liz Lerman and Greer-Reed Jones. Brittany toured the region with JMU’s Virginia Repertory Dance Company and performed and choreographed for the Contemporary Dance Ensemble. Aside from performing with these two groups, Brittany has worked as a dance teacher and choreographer around Virginia. This is her first season with West Virginia Dance Company.
Todd Englander - Dancer
Todd was born in Wantagh, New York, where he began dancing in the eleventh grade. He graduated from Slippery Rock University in December 2010 with a double major in Elementary Education and Dance. While at Slippery Rock his solo “Knowledge – Lessons = Tests?” (2010) was selected for the gala concert at the National American College Dance Festival performed at the Kennedy Center. Todd has danced with artists Princess Mhoon Cooper, Camille Brown, Mark Taylor, Jennifer Keller, Melissa Teodoro, and Nola Nolen Holland on dances of varying styles.
Hilary Freeland – Dancer
Hilary is a 2011 graduate of the University at Buffalo with a BA in Dance. Hilary has studied with Thomas Ralabate, Joyce Miller-Lichtenberger, Melanie Aceto, Tressa Gorman Crehan, Kerry Ring, Jon Leher and Tracy Navarro. Hilary performed with UB Zodiaque Dance Ensemble, and at the live art performance, Saya Woolfalk: No Place, at the Museum Space of Harlem. She has studied with Point Park University International Summer Dance Program, Dance Alloy of Pittsburgh, and was a member of the 2005 class of the WV Governor’s School of the Arts. While in Buffalo, Hilary served as dance instructor and choreographer for the Children’s Acting Company at the Academy of Theatre Arts, and was a choreographer for The Buffalo Chips, the UB Male Acapella Group. Other artistic credits for Hilary include Dancer and Dance Captain with Theatre West Virginia since 2008. This is Hilary’s second year with WVDC.
Caitlin Potosnak – Dancer
Caitlin Potosnak graduated from Radford University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance and a minor in Exercise Science. During her years at Radford, she had a wonderful opportunity to work with Keith Lee, Christopher K. Morgan, and be an apprentice dancer with d a n a h b e l l a danceworks. The company performed in venues throughout Virginia, North Carolina, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania. Caitlin was awarded 1st place at the National Society of Arts and Letters choreography competition, representing the Virginia/North Carolina chapter. She has attended summer intensives studying with the Limon Dance Company, Amy Marshall Dance Company, and the Radio City Rockettes. She had the privilege to perform with the Carolyn Dorfman Dance Company during their 25th anniversary celebration. Caitlin is also a willPower & grace® fitness instructor and a certified Pilates instructor specifically trained in mat and reformer work. This is Caitlin’s first season with the West Virginia Dance Company.
Thomas A. McNeish, Jr.
Martha B. McKee
Robert C. Dunkerley
Delegate Linda S. Sumner