Producing Artistic Director/Tour Manager/Dancer/Choreographer
Donald Laney graduated from the University, of California, Irvine, with an MFA in Dance. He is currently the Producing Artistic Director of the WV Dance Company, the first and only professional touring dance company in the history of the state of WV. Before entering the graduate program at UCI, Donald performed with the WV Dance Company, Houlihan & Dancers (Miami, FL), Randy James Dance Works (NYC), X-Factor (NC), and Trillium Performing Arts Collective (WV). 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 the university at ACDFA in 2003 and 2004. Donald’s work with Lisa Naugle and John Crawford has produced 3 dance videos that have been presented at the Lincoln Center and in dance video conferences in Yugoslavia, Japan, New Jersey, Michigan, Arizona, and at ADF in Durham, NC. Donald has served as the WV Governor’s School for the Arts instructor in Dance, from 2005 to present.
Besides performing, Mr. Laney also pursues a career as a freelance artist in teaching, choreographing, and costume design and construction. His choreography has been a staple of the West Virginia Dance Company’s repertoire for the last ten years. He has created original modern dance pieces for the WV Dance Company, James Madison University, Marshall University, WV Wesleyan College, Charleston Ballet, and various high schools around WV. Donald has been a guest instructor in modern dance at ACDFA -Southwest & Mid Atlantic Regions, James Madison University, UCI, Lees-McRae College, Charleston Ballet, and Jack Britt High School (NC), and as an Adjunct Professor at Marshall University, Davis & Elkins, and WV Wesleyan College.
In 2008 Donald was granted permission to perform Daniel Nagrin’s 1948 masterpiece “Spanish Dance”. This was Mr. Nagrin’s last project before his passing. Donald Performed “Spanish Dance” for two years all over West Virginia as well as at a memorial service for Mr. Nagrin in Philadelphia.
Musical Theatre choreography credits include assistant choreographer to Tony Nominated Donald McKayle on My Fair Lady (UC Irvine), Chicago, Beehive!, Smokey Joe’s Cafe, Quilters, Cabaret (Greenbrier Valley Theatre)Hair and Little Shop of Horrors (Marshall University), High School Musical (Theatre West Virginia), Urinetown (Davis & Elkins), Gypsy, Nunsense, Anything Goes, Urinetown (WV Wesleyan), HONK! and The Music Man (Cape Fear Regional Theater).
Brittney Fitzgerald, Born in Toronto, Canada, began her training at Joanne Chapman School of Dance, under the direction of Joanne Chapman and Barbara Chonin, National Ballet of Canada. She graduated in 2014, with honors, from Point Park University with a Bachelor of Arts with a concentration in ballet and jazz, under the direction of Susan Stowe. While studying at Point Park, Brittney had the opportunity to perform works by Ron Tassone, Jessica Lang, Terry Marling, Dwight Rhoden, Keisha Lalama, Jill Randolph-Lazzini and many student-choreographed pieces. In 2013, Brittney attended Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s summer intensive. In the summer of 2014, Brittney performed at Jacob’s Pillow with the premiere of Simerson and Company, performing works by Brian Simerson. Brittney currently teaches at The Beckley Dance Theatre School, in Beckley, WV, Rhythms of Grace Dance Studio, in Beckley, the pre professional program for TWV and at Valley Dance Studio, in Lewisburg, WV. She has performed for three seasons with Theatre West Virginia, as dance captain, performing in “Footloose”, “Addams Family”, “Hatfield’s and McCoy’s” and choreographing “the Jungle Book” and “Pippi Longstocking”. This will be Brittney’s fifth season with the West Virginia Dance Company.
Curtis Johnson, a West Virginia native, is a graduate of Ohio University with a BFA in choreography. During his time at Ohio University he had the opportunity to work with various faculty members including Tresa Randall, Travis Gatling and Nathan Andary. He also had the opportunity to perform with the Azaguno African Dance Company, under the direction of Zelma Badu-Young, in Toronto, Canada and at Ohio University. Curtis was able to work with guest artists such as Urban Bush Women, Nii Tete Yartey, Chengxin Wei, and Anna and the Annadroids. Over the last six seasons, Curtis has performed as a dancer in various Theater West Virginia productions including Hatfields and McCoys, Annie Get Your Gun, All Shook Up, and many more. Curtis has also enjoyed the opportunity to work at the American Dance Festival in Durham, NC as production intern. This is his fourth season with the company.
Forrest Hershey, a Florida native, began his dance training at age fourteen at various dance studios in the Sarasota area. He holds an A.A. from Valencia College and a B.F.A. from Florida State University, both in dance. He has had the privilege of performing works by Paul Taylor, Alvin Ailey, Jon Lehrer, David Parsons, Doug Varone, Gerri Houlihan and Tim Glenn. Since graduation, Forrest has been working closely with the American Dance Festival in Durham, NC, as an intern, staff assistant, and, for the past three summers, summer staff member. He made his professional debut with the West Virginia Dance Company in August 2015 where he is currently a company member, website editor, and media editor. Forrest has performed as a freelance artist with Beckley Dance Theatre, Huntington Dance Theatre, and at Valencia College. As a faculty member at Valley Dance Studio in Lewisburg, West Virginia, Forrest teaches ballet, modern, and jazz classes and continues to teach master classes along the east coast. His choreography has been presented at the West Virginia Dance Festival, and at various dance competitions where he has been awarded choreography awards as well as multiple overall scores.
Jena Rose Barton
Jena Rose Barton, from Amston, CT, holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance Choreography and Performance from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. During her time at UNCG she had the privilege of studying technique under Janet Lilly, Robin Gee, Justin Tornow, Clarice Young, Virginia Dupont, and Michael Job. Her repertory experience includes works by Germaul Barnes, Justin Tornow, Michael Job, Kara Janelle Wade, and Duane Cyrus. Her post-collegiate resume includes dancing in Theatre West Virginia’s 2018 productions of Paradise Park and Hatfields and McCoys. She is thrilled to be a new member of the West Virginia Dance Company.