Meet the Choreographers
Terry and Melanie Whittington
Terry and Melanie began dancing ballroom 5 yrs ago. They started lessons in anticipation of their 10 year wedding anniversary, and were hooked. From there, it was private lessons with local instructors and weekly dances and lessons in Charleston, Barboursville, Beckley and anywhere they could find a dance floor. They have taught group and private lessons and performed exhibitions in multiple states and trained internationally with world class instructors. In 2012 they began training to become certified ballroom dance instructors through the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance (U.S.I.S.T.D.), the only dance organization recognized throughout the whole world. They are studying under National Champions and World representatives; Wayne and Marie Crowder in NC. They plan to complete their first series of examinations in the Fall. This will make Terry and Melanie the only U.S.I.S.T.D. certified ballroom dance instructors in the state of WV.
Terry is a licensed Funeral Director and works full time in the Charleston area. He is also a published photographer and wet plate artist. He holds the office of Treasurer for the Charleston chapter of USA Dance, a national non-profit ballroom dance organization. He is the past Secretary and current President of the University Club of Charleston, a local ballroom dance club.
Melanie began her dance career at the age of 5 at Beckley Dance Theater School, and continued into her senior year of high school. After high school, she put her dance shoes away assuming she would never use them again. Luckily, her passion for dance was sparked by ballroom lessons 10 years later, and she remembered how much she loved to dance! As a shy child, and adult, it’s the only time she doesn’t care who’s looking! She holds a B.S. in Accounting from WGU and a MBA from the University of Charleston. Currently, she is the Vice President for the Charleston chapter of USA Dance, a national non-profit ballroom dance organization. She is the past Vice President and current Treasurer for the University of Charleston, a local ballroom dance club.
Both are excited to choreograph for the United Way DWTS, for a second year.
Good Luck to everyone…you’re going to need it!
Choreographer Jerry Rose
Jerry Rose's training background spans an exposure to dance through many diverse and varied approaches with schools and individuals in W.Va., NYC, New Jersey, Michigan and North Carolina. Performing with companies that utilized both a classical and modern basis for choreography include the Ballet Cirque, Charleston Ballet, Appalachian Dance and Music Ensemble and Dance Dance Caravan, USA.
As choreographer and ballet master for "Stars of Tomorrow" he has staged and directed the national tour that visits major U.S. Cities for nearly ten years. A faculty member of Professional Dance Teachers Association, he has originated a series of videos dedicated to ballet pedagogy and conducts workshops throughout the year in the U.S. and Canada.
Named to the National Association for Regional Ballet's Outstanding Choreographers List in 1986, Rose created the dances for the long running productions of "Young Abe Lincoln, "Honey In The Rock" and "Hatfields and McCoys, shows whose total attendance is well over the one million mark.
Visiting the Moscow Region in 1996 by invitation of the Russian government, Rose's Company, The Beckley Dance Theatre, performed a program of American Dance the Region's public schools.
|Choreographer Barbara Yurick
Barbara Yurick is the Director of Dance-It! Oak Hill Dance Center. She teaches dance in private studios, arts camps, Artist-In-Residence programs, public and private schools, and college and university settings. She has served as Master Teacher of Ballet for The West Virginia Governor’s School for the Arts and the Dance Faculty at West Virginia University in Morgantown, WV. Barbara has served as a Dance Consultant for the Elementary Dance Pilot initiated by the WV Department of Education.
Barbara was an original member and danced professionally with The Appalachian Dance & Music Ensemble, which is now The West Virginia Dance Company. She performed with Theatre West Virginia’s summer repertory company as a dancer and actress in the Historical Dramas Hatfield’s and McCoy’s and Honey in the Rock.
Yurick has served the arts in many
capacities She served on The Arts Team for The Regional
Education Service Agency in area I, focusing on providing
arts I education programs in WV public schools. She
developed and presents “Children For Children”, an
integrated arts program for early elementary students which
incorporates children’s literature, creative movement and
dance, music, theatre and visual arts.
She has provided dance programs throughout West
Virginia, Virginia, and New England. Barbara has attended
several Kennedy Center Arts Integration workshops which
focus on promoting more arts programs in education.
She holds a B.S. Degree from WVU, studied dance at North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, NC and other professional schools throughout the United States, France and Canada.She is delighted to be part of The United Way’s Dancing With the Stars and can’t wait to see all of the couples dancing the night away on September 20TH!
"A man with two left feet and no rhythm" is an apt description of Darrell Fuller when he was introduced to ballroom dancing nearly seven years ago. At his wife Laurie's request, the couple began attending Jerry Gilley's dance classes and found that, with dedication and practice, nearly anyone can learn to dance.
After their first year of dancing, the Fuller's learned of the national, non-profit organization, USA Dance, Inc. and joined the local Beckley chapter. While they have benefited from instructional videos, internet searches, workshops, and semi-private group lessons, the majority of Darrell and Laurie's training in social dance has come through USA Dance chapters in Beckley and Charleston West Virginia, and in Rural Retreat Virginia.
Mr. Fuller has served as president of the Beckley USA Dance Chapter 6064 since 2009. The chapter currently meets at the "Center of Hope" in Mount Hope, WV. Through this chapter the Fuller's teach weekly beginner's and intermediate dance lessons. They have also given private instruction and choreography for special events such as weddings and class reunions. [For more information about USA Dance Chapter 6064 visit http://usadance-beckleywv.com.]
As an added note, Mr. Fuller is a minister, and pastor of the Dothan Community Church. He admits that dancing has drawn occasional criticism from some well-intentioned people of faith; but he also affirms there is nothing biblically wrong with respectful social dance. Ballroom dancing is a wonderful source of quality entertainment which stresses that men be gentlemen and women be ladies. It also offers many physical, mental, emotional, and social benefits.
The Fullers want to encourage everyone to enrich their lives through dance, and are doing their part to promote ballroom dance in Southern West Virginia. As for the six couples competing in the United Way's Dancing With The Stars, Darrell and Laurie say, "Yes, there is a friendly competition; but in our opinion, the upcoming performance will be a showcase of six winning couples. Anyone with the courage to develop a new skill, and perform before an audience is a winner already, and their prize will be the lifetime benefits of dance."
Choreographer Laura Adkins
Born and raised in West Virginia, Laura graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in Beckley, WV, in 2003. She danced throughout her childhood and became a student assistant at the studio during her high school years. Upon graduating high school she attended Marshall University where she continued her dance training through college coursework and private studio lessons.
Laura graduated from Marshall in December of 2006 with a B.A. in Elementary Education (K-Sixth). Laura moved to Rock Hill, SC, in June of 2007 to fulfill a teaching job at Chester Park Elementary School of Arts, a public arts school. While teaching there she developed a curriculum that integrated dance and creative movement with science and math content. Laura was chosen as the school’s Teacher of the Year during her second year of teaching and was named Chester County’s Honor Roll Teacher of the Year in 2009.
While teaching at Chester Park, Laura wrote and received a grant to provide free dance instruction for low income children before and after school and taught over 130 students in this program weekly. Laura also continued her education during her time in South Carolina. She earned her M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction: Integrated Teaching through the Arts and also completed coursework from Winthrop University in dance technique, dance history, and dance education.
Laura has been thrilled to continue her work in arts integration in Raleigh and Fayette Counties over the past three years. She worked as part of the West Virginia Department of Education’s Elementary Dance Pilot Project, and her arts integration residency at Stanaford Elementary School was hailed by the West Virginia Commission on the Arts as an exemplary model for the Arts in Education grant program. Laura began the dance program at the School of Harmony in Beaver, WV, in 2013, and she is eager to continue serving as a dance instructor for Harmony in Motion as that dance program continues to grow.
Jill West was born, raised and now resides with her husband, Jarrad and 4 children in Beckley, WV. Jill attended dance school locally for 15 years at Beckley Dance Theatre, under the training of Jerry Rose. There she began her career as a choreographer and also traveled as an instructor with Universal Dance Association to several colleges in the southeast.
Since then she has pursued certifications in group fitness, personal training, and Zumba. She has been the dance choreographer in local productions such as Fiddler on the Roof, and Beauty and the Beast. She is very excited to have the opportunity to work with her local stars and choreograph a dance that will help them raise money for the United Way.
Meet the Judges
|Kristen L. Pennington began her dance training at the early age of 3. Also along with her dance training Kristen was also a competitive gymnast for 12 years with Maverick Gymnastics under the direction and training of Billy Bob Taylor. Throughout high school Kristen danced with Januarys Academy of Dance and Capital High Dance Company where she was president of the contemporary company. Kristen went to college at BYU Idaho on a dance scholarship where she traveled on a touring dance company to New Zealand, Fiji, Brazil and the Ukraine. After Idaho Kristen went on to dance with the Synergy Dance Company in Orem, Utah. After college Kristen came back to West Virginia and held the director position for the Academy of Arts at Januarys. Kristen teaches at many studios all over the state and has trained under names such as Wade Robson, Mia Michaels, Cris Judd, Shane Sparks, Dave Scott, Laurie Ann Gibson, Mandy Moore, Dee Caspary, and many more. Kristen is now a master instructor at Beckley Dance Theater, Januarys Academy of Dance, and River City Youth Ballet.|
|Sarah Abrams is a Beckley Native and part
of the 4th generation Lewis Automotive family. She has a
background in dance through the Jerry Rose Dance Studio and
currently uses that as a tool to create and format fitness
and aerobic classes for Bodyworks of Beckley and Bobcat
Fitness of Hinton.
Along with dancing and fitness, Sarah enjoys traveling with her friends and spending time with her family especially her niece Ella. She currently serves on the board for the United Way and several other local charities!