About the College News & Events Academics Advising Performance and Exhibit Season Collaboration Support the Arts

News & Events

<< Back

"The Shadow Waltz" on Tour


Radford University Department of Dance with the RU Appalachian Studies Program is on tour. They are performing and presenting talks about their collaborative effort “The Shadow Waltz.”

They will present this dance performance on Friday, Nov. 22 at The College of New Jersey’s Kendall Hall Main Stage. The dance/theatre piece is inspired by oral histories of coal mining in Appalachia and of coal miners with black lung disease. It premiered at RU last April.

Choreographer/director, Deborah McLaughlin and Chair of Appalachian Studies, Dr. Theresa Burriss will present a lunchtime discussion at TCNJ, “Constructing the Past and Shaping The Present in Appalachia Through Dance.” This is about their interdisciplinary collaborations over the past four years that have focused on historical and contemporary issues in Appalachia.

The RU professors and six Department of Dance majors will also give a presentation on the collaborative work at Gettysburg College on Wednesday, Nov. 20.

“The Shadow Waltz” is the third work in an Appalachian trilogy that weaves miners’ stories with dance, music, and text to reflect the history and mysterious pull of Appalachian coal mining. Funded by an RU faculty research grant from the College of Education and Human Development, McLaughlin collaborated Burriss to use Appalachian miners’ oral histories as well as her own research as seed material.

“We are excited to tour the work. It has been a long process involving research, interviewing miners, creating the choreography, rehearsing and performing,” states McLaughlin.

“It is wonderful that the dancers get the opportunity to perform the work again, after being involved in the creation of the piece, for an audience in a different part of the country.”

McLaughlin is the director of the Dance Education program at RU. She directed her dance/theatre company, The Movement Society, and taught for ten years in New York City. Internationally, McLaughlin has presented choreography and taught in Finland and Wales. With funding from a 2009 summer faculty research grant, she choreographed a multimedia work addressing mountaintop removal called “Eating Appalachia: Selling Out to the Hungry Ghost.”

In 2011 McLaughlin and Burriss, received a Radford University research grant to create “Sounds of Stories Dancing,” a work inspired by Appalachian women’s oral histories that Burriss had collected.

These two pieces toured to the Paramount Theatre in Bristol after performances at RU and have been presented in part at conferences at RU, North Georgia State University and University of the Arts in Philadelphia. McLaughlin presented on the work at the Theatre of the Opressed Conference at Miami University in Ohio in June 2013.

Burriss serves as the Chair of Appalachian Studies and Director of the Appalachian Regional and Rural Studies Center at RU. She has published several pieces of literary criticism on the Appalachian writers, including chapters in “An American Vein: Critical Readings in Appalachian Literature” (Ohio UP 2005) and “Appalachia in the Classroom: Teaching the Region” (Ohio UP 2013), for which she served as co-editor with Dr. Patricia Gantt. Her articles have appeared in Appalachian Heritage, Appalachian Journal, Appalachian Voice, and The New River Voice. She’s currently working on three projects, “Women of Change, Women of Courage: Appalachian Activists;” “The Country Store on White Oak Grove: A Children’s Story;” and “Coal Dust Curse: Collecting Oral Histories from Appalachian Miners with Black Lung.“

To learn more about the RU Department of Dance, visit www.radford.edu/dance. To learn more about the RU Appalachian Studies Program, visit their website.

Nov 13, 2013

Follow us on

Facebook Twitter