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).
Hilary J. Jereza is a graduate of the University at Buffalo with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance. She currently teaches at Trillium School for Performing Arts in Lewisburg, WV and Academy of Arts at January’s in Charleston, WV while also teaching master classes at other dance studios across the state. She has worked with Theatre West Virginia as a featured dancer, dance captain, and choreographic assistant. She has choreographed for Theatre West Virginia, 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, Lehrer 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 fifth season with WV Dance Company.
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 and 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 Academy of Arts at January’s, in Charleston, WV, and at Beckley Dance Theatre School, in Beckley, WV. She just completed her second season with Theatre West Virginia, as dance captain, performing in “Addams Family” and “Hatfields and McCoys.” This will be Brittney’s third season with the West Virginia Dance Company.
Curtis Johnson is a native of Charleston, West Virginia. He graduated from Ohio University with a BFA in Modern Dance and Choreography. During his college career he had the opportunity to dance in various student and faculty works including those by Tresa Randall, Travis Gatling, and Nathan Andary. He has also performed with the Azaguno African Dance Ensemble under the direction of Zelma Badu-Young and has danced in various musicals with Theatre West Virginia for six seasons. This is his second season with the WV Dance 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 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, most recently, summer staff member. This is Forrest’s second season with the West Virginia Dance Company.