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.
Cameron, 22, of Greenville, OH, began studying dance at the age of four in Barbara Rethlake’s Dance Studio. This led to a love and adoration for performing arts and the decision to focus on classical ballet training and contemporary dance with Dayton Ballet, The Nutmeg Conservatory for the Arts, and Pittsburgh Ballet Theater, during his high school career. Cameron then accepted a scholarship to attend Butler University to study Dance and Arts Administration. Cameron’s favorite performances include Nutcracker Prince and Hornets by MOMIX, Waltz of the Garlands, and Bach and Forth at Jacobs Pillow’s Inside/Out Stage, choreographed by Brian Simerson, with Nutmeg Conservatory for the Arts. At Butler University, he performed Fritz, Steadfast Tin Soldier in The Nutcracker, and Mazurka in Copellia. Professionally Cameron danced with Simerson and Co. and debuted with the company at Jacob’s Pillow on July 25th, 2014. Cameron thanks God, family, friends and dance instructors for their support and encouragement.
Bio coming soon.
Hilary J. Freeland is a graduate of the University at Buffalo with a Bachelor of Art in Dance. She is also working with Trillium School for Performing Arts in Lewisburg, WV and Academy of Arts At January’s in Charleston, WV while also teaching master classes at dance studios in West Virginia. She has worked with Theatre West Virginia as a featured dancer, dance captain, and choreographic assistant. She has choreographed for Theatre West Virginia in Beckley, WV, The Strand Community Theatre in Moundsville, WV, Clay County High School in Clay, WV and Academy of Theatre Arts, a children’s acting company in Buffalo, NY. Hilary has studied with Doug Varone and Dancers, Leher Dance Company of Buffalo, NY, Daniel Sharone, and Jennifer Archibald. She has attended Bates Dance Festival in Lewiston, ME and Point Park University International Summer Dance Program in Pittsburgh, PA. Hilary has performed with UB Zodique Dance Ensemble, UB Emerging Choreographers Showcase, and Saya Woolfalk: No Place – Life Art Performance – Museum Space of Harlem, NY. This is Hilary’s fourth season with West Virginia Dance Company.
Casey graduated from Minnesota state University-Mankato with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance. During her college career, she had many opportunities to dance in both student and faculty works, as well as choreograph. For many of her years during her BFA candidacy, she represented her dance program at the American College Dance Festival. Her success at ACDF led her to perform “Politics, Religion, Sex,” choreographed by Dan Stark, at the Kennedy Center in 2010 for ACDF’s national showcase. Carl Orff’s Carmina Buranna was her most recent choreographic work, where she collaborated with the Dance, Music, and Theatre programs of MNSU-Mankato. Casey also trained in both theatre and musical theatre which led her to the opportunity to play Marie in an original play called “Virgin Territory” directed by Nikki Swoboda. In addition, she performed in the chorus for musicals such as Chicago and High School Musical, as well as danced and acted in The Vagina Monologues. She had also had the privilege to perform in Bill Collins “Passing on the legacy” at the National Dance Education Organization’s 2009 conference in New York City. Casey also choreographed for “Robot Lincoln,” a student musical theatre work for the Minnesota’s Fringe Festival in 2011. This will be Casey’s first season with WVDC.
Delegate Linda S. Sumner